Danielle Hardwick has shared a cryptic social media post after her ex Damien’s new relationship with a Richmond employee went public on Tuesday.
Just a few weeks after it was revealed the 48-year-old coach had split with his long-time wife, the footy world was abuzz with talk of his new romance with Alexandra Crow.
Kayo is your ticket to the best sport streaming Live & On-Demand. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >
Crow, reportedly in her 30s and a member of the Tigers’ commercial sales team, appeared to prepare for her newfound fame by deleting all of her social media pages, including Twitter and Instagram.
The Herald Sun received a statement from the club on Monday after rumours ran wild in the footy community about the Richmond 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 also reported that the news has “rocked staff within the club and could affect the playing group”.
Richmond is adamant Hardwick’s job is secure despite intense speculation in recent days he was preparing to stand down.
In the aftermath of the bombshell news, Danielle reportedly posted a meme to her private Instagram account which read: “F**k every single person that took advantage of your kindness and mistook it for weakness.”
Brooke Cotchin, the wife of Richmond captain Trent, also took to social media to show her support for Danielle, sharing an image which was captioned: “Strength, courage, dignity.”
Last month, Brooke referred to Danielle as their “second family” in a heartfelt Instagram post which featured the three Hardwick children.
“What a special Christmas Morning. Our hearts are full. Love you Cotchins,” Danielle replied.
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.
Speaking to 1116 SEN Melbourne, St Kilda great Nick Dal Santo said he believed the off-field drama could also impact the playing group.
“I would not be surprised if this one had a little ripple effect,” Dal Santo said on Tuesday morning. “It’s someone who you admire and that you respect, and something has changed.
“Clearly this will have some sort of conversation, or you’d assume will need to have some sort of conversation. That’s not unusual in footy clubs, particularly when it’s your full-time job. You see these guys all day, every day.
“This is a challenge, there’s no doubt about that.”