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An uncompromising and hard-nosed defender, Hardwick played 153 games with Essendon, including the 2000 premiership, before crossing to Port Adelaide at the end of 2001. He played a further 54 games with the Power, the last of which was the 2004 premiership.

He won the Bombers’ Best and Fairest in 1998 and was named All-Australian in 2000. He represented Australia in the International Rules series in 2000 and 2001.

Hardwick started his assistant coaching career with Hawthorn in 2005 and played a significant role in the club’s premiership success.  He was the Hawks’ forward coach from 2005-07, and was in charge of their midfield for two seasons.

Hardwick steered Richmond to the finals for three consecutive seasons, in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
BEN RUTTEN Assistant Coach
The 2005 All-Australian defender retired at the end of the 2014 season after 229 games with Adelaide.  

He has a wealth of defensive intelligence after 12-year career, and coaching knowledge after spending his latter seasons working with the Crows' backline coach Darren Milburn.
Assistant Coach


Blake Caracella, 39, joins the Tigers’ coaching panel following a successful seven-season stint as an assistant coach at Geelong, including the Cats’ 2011 premiership campaign.

Previous to that, Caracella spent three years as a member of Collingwood’s coaching panel.

Caracella worked under Richmond’s new General Manager – Football, Neil Balme, for five years at Geelong and was a teammate of the Tigers’ senior coach Damien Hardwick in Essendon’s 2000 premiership side.

Assistant Coach

Richmond welcomes Justin Leppitsch back to Tigerland in an assistant coaching role in 2017.
The triple Brisbane premiership player returns to Richmond, following three seasons as senior coach of the Brisbane Lions.  
Prior to his senior coaching role, Leppitsch, 41, served as an assistant coach at Richmond for four seasons from 2009-13, alongside senior coach, Damien Hardwick.

ANDREW McQUALTER  Assistant Coach

McQualter arrived at Tigerland at the end of 2013 as a development coach, after a 94-game career with St Kilda and Gold Coast.

He played in three Grand Finals for the Saints (including the 2010 GF replay against Collingwood) in an 89-game career with them, before adding a further five games at the Suns.

McQualter played a coaching and playing role with Richmond’s VFL team in 2014 and 2015, and will assume the role of AFL midfield stoppage coach for 2017.


CRAIG McRAE VFL and Development Coach

McRae, a triple premiership player at Brisbane, returns to Tigerland where he worked as a development coach from 2007-09.

After leaving Richmond, he had one year back with the Lions as a development coach, before joining Collingwood as development manager.

He enhanced his reputation for cultivating young football talent throughout a five-year stint with the Magpies, winning the AFL Coaches Association’s inaugural Development Coach of the Year Award in 2014.


Development Coach

Xavier Clarke, 33, has been coaching NEAFL club NT Thunder since the end of 2013, he won the NEAFL Coach of the Year in 2014, led the side to the premiership in 2015, and, in 2016, he was awarded the NT Sports Awards Coach of the Year.

Clarke’s CV is both long and diverse, following his retirement playing league football, he worked with the AFL Players’ Association in Indigenous engagement, and with the AFL as the National Indigenous Programs Coordinator, managing Indigenous talent pathway programs such as Kickstart and Dreamtime at the ‘G.

Clarke is also an AFL Level 3 accredited coach and sits on the AFL Indigenous Advisory Group and AFL Women’s Football Advisory Group.

He has some experience with Richmond already, in 2013 he was an assistant coach for the Korin Gamadji Institute’s Laguntas Program – a football talent pathway for Indigenous boys aged 16 to 19 years old.

RYAN FERGUSON Development Coach
Ferguson became Richmond's VFL defenders coach in 2015, after a five-year AFL career with Melbourne.  

He played 47 games for the Demons, before switching to SANFL club West Adelaide, where he played six seasons (five as captain), and won three Best and Fairests.

He became a full time development coach for the 2016 season.