Author Topic: Richmond president Peggy O'Neal looks back on decision to re-sign Hardwick (Age)  (Read 86 times)

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Richmond president Peggy O'Neal looks back on decision to re-sign Damien Hardwick

Scott Spits
The Age
28 September 2017


Peggy O'Neal didn't quite use the word vindicated, but the Richmond president says the club's dramatic revival this season highlighted by a grand final berth and Damien Hardwick being named AFL coach of the year showed the Tigers' decision to re-sign him last year was right.

Little more than 12 months ago was a time of crisis for the Tigers when two groups were targeting the board in general and O'Neal's presidency specifically, after the club recommitted to Hardwick after consecutive elimination final defeats.

After guiding the Tigers to a drought-breaking grand final, Hardwick was this week recognised by his peers as the AFL's coach of the season, named as a first-time winner of the AFL Coaches Association Allan Jeans senior coach of the year award, edging out his weekend opponent, Adelaide coach Don Pyke.

O'Neal said the club was proud of Hardwick for what he had done in 2017.

"We knew he was a fantastic coach. I think that sort of shows that we were probably right in that regard," she said.

Asked whether they had been vindicated by the decision to stick by their long-term coach on the eve of the 2016 season, O'Neal said: "We always knew that he was a good coach and I think this shows that he is a good coach. Some things had to change but he wasn't one of the things that had to change."

After receiving the award on Tuesday night, Hardwick spoke candidly about how he'd been his own worst enemy at times.

"If I was honest with myself I didn't have a great year last year and it reflected on my players," Hardwick told Fox Footy.

"My general demeanour overall I really reflected heavily on that. I took some steps and moved forward and we're sitting here where we are today.

"I had to really sit down and take myself to task, write down my strengths and the areas that I thought could improve.

"I probably wasn't the person that I normally was. We had some losses last year and it further compounded.

"The reality was I was not listening to a lot of people, I was delving into work by myself and not listening to people around me. The reality was I was the biggest problem of all."

O'Neal said Hardwick's self-assessment and willingness to accept feedback was a positive trait.

"Those were one of the characteristics that we so admire in him and we knew was there. He loves the game, he loves to learn, he likes to try new things and he was very open to becoming better himself to make the club better. And that was one of the thing we thought was very important to us."

She also defended the club's governance, which ultimately resulted in re-signing Hardwick.

"Processes and procedures that's where everybody goes 'how boring is that stuff?'

"So it is governance, and that is the boring part often. But I think that making the best decision you can sometimes means you've got to take time, gather the information and then sit back in the cool light of day and decide what to do."

Hardwick said relationships at Tigerland were now more "authentic".

"Myself and Trent [Cotchin] had a really good conversation over the course of the back-end of last year, really opened us up to each other, and it probably grew from there. I think everyone else has eventually jumped on board," Hardwick said.

"Every footy club is close, but I feel that our footy club has become even closer. It's incredible to watch our boys play and they way they connect with each other, and the stories and the love they've got for each other."

He also opened up about how much joy he gets from coaching, referencing his time as as a Hawthorn assistant, and said the AFLCA award was "probably the greatest award I've won".

"I've sort of found my calling as a coach and how much I've enjoyed it," Hardwick said.

"I still remember back in 2008 when 'Clarko' and the Hawks won it [the premiership] I felt no greater job from winning a flag than actually from a coaching point of view, it was just invigorating that the players you'd work tirelessly for to improve, saluted.

"To see a group of people come through that you spend more time with, than you spend with your own family, it's pretty special."

http://www.theage.com.au/afl/afl-news/richmond-president-peggy-oneal-looks-back-on-decision-to-resign-damien-hardwick-20170927-gyq1uf.html

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Is she looking back on the challengers
I cant believe it, 1.20 to go, youre three points up and there is nobody at the back end of the square for a quick kick in for the opposition.

I just cant believe my eyes.

Its poor leadership and its poor coaching from the Richmond Football Club.