The Richmond employee in a new relationship with Tigers head coach Damien Hardwick has been unveiled as Alexandra Crow.
The footy world was abuzz with talk of the romance on Monday – just a few weeks after it was revealed the 48-year-old mentor had split with his long-time wife Danielle.
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Crow, reportedly in her 30s and a member of the Tigers’ commercial sales team, appeared to prepare for her new-found fame by deleting all of her social media pages, including Twitter and Instagram.
The Age reported she had been in a relationship with a staffer from another Melbourne-based AFL club before linking with Hardwick. Her ex has been helped through the break-up by his club.
Richmond is adamant Hardwick’s job is secure despite intense speculation in recent days he was preparing to stand down.
The club has confirmed its aware of the relationship between the two and The Age reported Hardwick had it approved by the club’s human resources so he could continue as coach.
The Herald Sun received a statement from the club on Monday after rumours were running wild in the footy community about the long-time coach.
“The club is aware that coach Damien Hardwick is currently in a relationship with a member of the club’s administration staff,” the statement read. “The club has no concerns with this under club policy. Beyond this, it is a private matter and we ask that privacy be respected.”
But the Herald Sun reported it has “rocked staff within the club and could affect the playing group”.
It comes after it was revealed Hardwick separated from his wife Danielle, with who shares three children.
Danielle was incredibly well-liked at Richmond and was referred to as the “second family” of Tigers captain Trent Cotchin and his wife Brooke in an Instagram post at Christmas.
She replied to the picture by writing: “What a special Christmas Morning. Our hearts are full. Love you Cotchins.”
Hardwick, one of the most successful coaches of the modern era, has guided the Tigers to three premierships in the past four years, including last year’s triumph against the Cats.
After leading the Tigers to a grand final win against Geelong, the 48-year-old had flagged the personal toll the season had taken on him.
“I’m going to take a bit of a longer break this year over summer,” Hardwick told 3AW.
“It’s been a pretty full on 3-4 years and we’ve done a hell of a lot of work and had a lot of success along the way but sometimes you need to step back.”
The Tigers are scheduled to return to training on Monday. After initially suggesting he may not return until February, the Herald Sun reports Hardwick could be back next week.