Richmond urged to consider Damien Hardwick succession plan by Kane Cornes, Port Adelaide linked

Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes believes Richmond should discuss a potential succession plan involving Damien Hardwick, saying the three-time premiership-winning coach would be an ideal fit at his old club.

After winning three premierships in four seasons, Hardwick and the Tigers have found success harder to come by over the last two seasons, and are currently in danger of missing the finals for a second straight year.

Cornes questioned whether Hardwick’s fiery verbal exchange with a player during Richmond’s VFL clash at the weekend was evidence that the club needed to “freshen up” in the coaching department.

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“There’s no doubt he’s been frustrated,” he told Nine’s Footy Classified.

“Thirteen years is a long time at Richmond. It would take a brave club to want to freshen up, but all eyes will be on the Tigers to see how they can.

“I think you’d be incredibly brave to move on from a triple-premiership coach that’s in contract, (but) you would’ve never thought (Alastair) Clarkson’s time (at Hawthorn) would have been up.

“I’m not suggesting that’s at the end of this year, but I think it’s a conversation that is worth having. It’s a discussion worth having and (putting) a succession plan in place is worth doing.”

Matthew Lloyd, Hardwick’s teammate at Essendon, hit back at suggestions that Hardwick seemed to be tiring of his role at Richmond, saying the VFL incident was an example of him being a fierce defender of his players, as he has shown over the years.

“(Hawthorn) had Sam Mitchell waiting in the wings for Alastair Clarkson. I don’t think there’s anybody out there,” he said.

“I think the only way Damien would leave is if he’s had enough, but he still seems very hungry to be coaching at Richmond in the next phase.”

While admitting “a number of clubs” would be keen on acquiring Hardwick’s services, Cornes suggested Port would be a good fit, particularly with senior coach Ken Hinkley’s uncertain future.

“I think there would be a number of clubs lining up to get Damien Hardwick, the most successful current coach,” he said.

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“It’s just if he would be after a fresh challenge. He’d be perfectly suited at Port Adelaide, whether that is now for Ken Hinkley or not, but they’d have him in the back of their mind.”

Hardwick has been at the helm at Richmond since 2010 and is contracted through to the end of the 2024 season after signing a three-year extension last year.

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