Damien Hardwick won’t be handed a new coaching deal at AFL club Richmond unless he can meet key benchmarks.
Hardwick has entered his seventh year as coach of the Tigers, having rejuvenated the fortunes of the once down-and-out club.
Under the former Essendon midfielder’s tenure, Richmond have reached the finals in each of the past three seasons without winning a knockout match.
The expectations at Punt Road are that Richmond continue to progress this season.
Chief executive Brendon Gale suggested the club wouldn’t confirm Hardwick as their 2017 coach without clear steps forward.
“We think he has done an extraordinary job in the last five or six years from where he has brought the list, and I think we continue to get better and better,” Gale told Melbourne radio station SEN.
“We think he is a fine person.
“We think he has brought this club and the playing list a long way and we think he has enormous upside.”
But that upside hasn’t convinced Gale or the club to extend his tenure – either now or early in the new season.
“We’ll sit back. We have got our own internal criteria in which we’ll make a decision,” he said.
Gale said he didn’t think the lack of a long-term deal would affect Hardwick as he attempted to guide the Tigers up the ladder.
“He is a pretty focused and resilient coach and I would not imagine it would be too much of a distraction,” Gale said.