Richmond coach Damien Hardwick says he cleared the air with his players after his shock marriage break-up

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has revealed he spoke to his players about his shock marriage breakdown immediately as soon as he returned to training in order for them to “move forward”.

The three-time premiership coach has left his wife Danielle and is now in a relationship with a member of the club‘s commercial sales team.

Often referred to as “Mrs Hardwick, Danielle is close to a number of partners of Tigers players and speculation swirled about how Hardwick‘s personal situation could impact the club’s tilt at a third-straight premiership.

But after lengthy break over summer, Hardwick got on the front foot as soon as he returned to training, which was ahead of schedule.

It‘s important that the first time they (the players) saw me that I spoke about it openly and honestly,“ Hardwick said on Monday morning.

“Until I did that, we couldn‘t really move forward.

“That was something we do at the club; it‘s important we did so we could get on with the business of preparing for round one.

“We always speak about things that are distractions in our lives and distractions that may bring about the demise of great teams.

“That‘s the reality of the competition, sides will continually deal with those distractions.

“My players are understanding of the situation and where we‘re at.”

Damien Hardwick split-up with his wife Danielle late last year (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images

Tigers captain Trent Cotchin‘s wife Brooke is extremely close to Danielle and they spent Christmas together.

Hardwick said he was glad his ex-wife had that type of support and it wouldn’t impact his relationship with his skipper..

“What I‘ve also got understand is that there’s a lot of staff and players that are incredibly close to Danielle and my family,” Hardwick said on SEN.

“My entire family‘s been a massive part and will continue to be a massive part of the Richmond football club – and I’m glad they’re supporting her.

“It‘s not about taking sides, it’s about making sure what’s best for everyone.”

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