Hardwick named AFL coach of the year

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has been recognised by his peers as the AFL’s coach of the season after guiding the Tigers to a drought-breaking grand final.

Hardwick on Tuesday evening was named as a first-time winner of the AFL Coaches Association (AFLCA) Allan Jeans senior coach of the year award.

The 45-year-old edged out his adversary in Saturday’s grand final, Adelaide coach Don Pyke.

Hardwick, who came under significant pressure when the Tigers finished last season in 13th place, led Richmond to their first grand final in 35 years.

The last time the Tigers won the flag was in 1980.

In his eighth year as senior coach at Punt Road, Hardwick guided the Tigers to their first top-four finish since 2001 with 15 wins and seven losses.

“Damien has really shown his mettle this season,” AFLCA chief Mark Brayshaw said.

“He was tested and questions were asked about him after last year, but he remained steadfast.

“He’s come back and, through hard work and perseverance, has been instrumental to the Tigers’ revival.”

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