AFL: Tigers Damien Hardwick – New relationship could ‘divide club says Kane Cornes

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Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes says he fears Richmond coach Damien Hardwick’s new relationship with a team staffer could “divide” the club.

Hardwick split from his wife Danielle last year, with the club confirming earlier this month that he has since begun a relationship with a member of Richmond’s administration staff.

Despite reports suggesting the new relationship has “rocked staff within the club”, star forward Jack Riewoldt last week spoke out in defence of his coach, declaring Hardwick’s situation wouldn’t have “any impact” on the playing group.

“He’s shown over the last four years he’s been arguably the best coach in the land and he’ll continue to support us and we’ll continue to support him over the next period of time,” he said.

However, Cornes believes the situation will continue to be an “awkward” one for the club, which could “derail” the “dynasty” which has seen the Tigers claim three of the past four AFL premierships.

“Some off-season controversies, a little bit sensitive to speak about marriage breakdowns,” he told SEN Breakfast.

“There were three of them, certainly well documented in the press. Nathan Buckley, Simon Goodwin and Damien Hardwick, the most controversial of those.

“I get the feeling it’s going to divide the Richmond Footy Club, there is no doubt about that, because of the fact Damien’s relationship is with a staff member from the football club.

“Also, Brooke Cotchin, the wife of Trent, has been pretty publicly supportive of Damien Hardwick’s ex-wife Danielle.

“I’m not sure how Richmond will function this year. I think it’s going to be awkward and it does threaten to derail their season and end the dynasty which has been at Richmond.

“So I’ll watch that one play out.”

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