AFL coach Damien Hardwick breaks his silence after having an affair with a Richmond Tigers sales rep

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has broken his silence after having an affair with a Tigers sales representative.

The Tigers coach is understood to have started dating the club’s sales representative Alexandra Crow while in the team’s biosecure team bubble during the 2020 season. 

Hardwick’s relationship with the club staffer has widely been blamed for causing the break-up of his marriage to wife Danielle – with the couple believed to have separated last month.

The 48-year-old, who was suspected by friends of having an affair as far back as the Tigers’ historic 2019 premiership win, spoke briefly with reporters on Monday. 

‘I can understand the interest, my role is very much public,’ he told 7News as he arrived to Punt Road Oval for pre-season training. 

Damien Hardwick spoke briefly with reporters on Monday, and asked for the public to respect his privacy but said he understands the 'interest' in his affair

Damien Hardwick spoke briefly with reporters on Monday, and asked for the public to respect his privacy but said he understands the ‘interest’ in his affair

Tigers coach Damien Hardwick and his wife Danielle Hardwick are believed to have separated last month

Tigers coach Damien Hardwick and his wife Danielle Hardwick are believed to have separated last month

‘What I would ask though is my personal life is very much that – personal. So if we could just step back and give everyone time and space that would be appreciated.’

When asked if he has the support of his club, Hardwick replied: ‘Look, I would think so.’

‘At the end of the day we’ve been together a long time and that’s what Richmond (football) club do, they support their people,’ he said.

The Tigers last week said it had ‘no concerns with this (Hardwick’s new relationship) under club policy’.

Captain Trent Cotchin declined to speak to the media, while vice captain Jack Riewoldt revealed their coach had addressed his personal situation. 

‘I don’t think it’s going to have any impact, really. Damien is a good enough character to separate his personal life and his professional life,’ Riewoldt told reporters.

‘He’s shown over the last four years he’s been arguably the best coach in the land and he’ll continue to support us and we’ll continue to support him over the next period of time.’

Tigers vice captain Jack Riewoldt revealed on Monday their coach had addressed his personal situation.

Tigers vice captain Jack Riewoldt revealed on Monday their coach had addressed his personal situation.

Alexandra Crow (left) is at the centre of a love triangle involving Richmond premiership coach Damien Hardwick

Alexandra Crow (left) is at the centre of a love triangle involving Richmond premiership coach Damien Hardwick

Riewoldt said Hardwick had appeared ‘really strong’ as the Tigers looked to challenge for their fourth premiership under his leadership. 

‘So we’re excited to get out and train,’ he said. 

Daily Mail Australia reported just hours earlier that Hardwick was reportedly seen ‘arm-in-arm’ with his mistress long before they spent time together in the Richmond Tigers’ COVID-safe team hub.

The Tigers coach was previously understood to have started dating the club’s sales representative Alexandra Crow while in the team’s biosecure team bubble during the 2020 season.

Hardwick’s relationship with the club staffer has widely been blamed for causing the break-up of his marriage to wife Danielle – with the couple believed to have separated last month. 

Riewoldt said his coach’s marriage split had taken him by surprise.

‘You never predict something like this, but these things happen in people’s lives and we just move on,’ he said.

‘It’s obviously sad ‘Dimma’ and Danielle’s marriage has come to an end, because Dimma’s obviously been a big part of our football club.

‘But the whole Hardwick family’s been a massive support network for us and they’ll continue to be a support network, as we will for them as well.

‘You never like to see something like a marriage breakdown and an end but it happens in life and we move on and we continue to support the individuals.’

Jack Riewoldt said Hardwick had appeared 'really strong' as the Tigers looked to challenge for their fourth premiership under his leadership.

Jack Riewoldt said Hardwick had appeared ‘really strong’ as the Tigers looked to challenge for their fourth premiership under his leadership.

Danielle Hardwick is continuing to get on with her life in Brighton, in Melbourne's eastern suburbs. She hit social media on Tuesday night in a subtle dig against her ex-husband Damien

Danielle Hardwick is continuing to get on with her life in Brighton, in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. She hit social media on Tuesday night in a subtle dig against her ex-husband Damien  

Daniel Giese is a respected Carlton Football Club executive. On Wednesday he went about his business with quiet dignity as the scandal involving his ex partner continued

Daniel Giese is a respected Carlton Football Club executive. On Wednesday he went about his business with quiet dignity as the scandal involving his ex partner continued 

Addressing the split on Sam Newman’s ‘You Cannot be Serious’ podcast, analyst Rod Law said he had spotted Hardwick and his new flame together in May – before the Tigers COVID hub was set up.

‘They [the media] were citing the fact the COVID lockdown was the origins of the relationship with this person who worked alongside Damien,’ Newman said.

‘We think that’s not quite right.

‘The man sitting here beside me, Rocket (Law), saw, did you not, saw Damien Hardwick and said woman? 

‘How old was she, Rod (Law), when you saw her in the street arm in arm with Damien in May?’   

Law indirectly confirmed the story in response. 

‘I saw something that I thought was unusual and I sent a message to somebody asking ‘Has there been some news I’ve missed about a split’?’ Law replied. 

‘That person dismissed it, it was probably the wrong person to go to because they were quite close to Richmond.

‘I took that under face value and kept it under my hat.’  

Hardwick and his lover Alexandra Crow were suspected by friends of having an affair as early at 2019.  

Daily Mail Australia was previously told by friends that Ms Crow’s ex-partner Daniel Giese long suspected a third party. 

‘They started when I first heard she was going out with Daniel a few years ago, her heart wasn’t into it and kept Daniel hanging on a leash, so to speak,’ a friend said. 

Hardwick remains on club sanctioned annual leave and is yet to directly address the scandal. 

The winner takes it all: Tigers coach Damien Hardwick has given the club three premierships in four years

The winner takes it all: Tigers coach Damien Hardwick has given the club three premierships in four years

Alexandra Crow has been named as the woman Tigers coach Damien Hardwick is now in a relationship with. She owns a home with Carlton Football Club executive Daniel Giese

Alexandra Crow has been named as the woman Tigers coach Damien Hardwick is now in a relationship with. She owns a home with Carlton Football Club executive Daniel Giese 

Jack Riewoldt and his partner Carly in 2012 at the Brownlow

Jack Riewoldt and his partner Carly in 2012 at the Brownlow

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