After eight years away from Richmond, there's no place like home for assistant coach Chris Newman.
Speaking on this week's episode of the 'Talking Tigers' podcast, the former Club captain said it was important for him to gain experience in a new environment, but is thrilled to be progressing his coaching career back at Tigerland.
"Spending so much time here as a player, I really needed a different environment and to get that at Hawthorn... everything I know now as a coach I've learnt and developed through really good people, I loved my time at the Hawks," Newman said.
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"As things progressed, the itch was there and I started to re-connect with a few people around the Club. Trying to evolve myself as a coach to a different environment, different philosophies.
"When the opportunity came up, I jumped at the chance... It was good for me."
The 41-year-old, who played 268 matches for Richmond across 15 years, said walking back into the four walls of Tigerland was "the same but different".
"There are some things that rekindle some memories and other things that are completely different," he said.
"A good combination of people that I know, have worked with, loved and admired for a long period of time, but also lot of people that I don't know.
"I need to invest some time in that now. As my role as a midfield coach, that's my preference now, I've got to know the players.
"They don't care about how much you know until they know how much you care, and that's my focus right now."
Having worked closely with new senior coach Adem Yze previously at Hawthorn, Newman said he was "really looking forward" to being in the coaches' box together in 2024.
"He was at the Hawks when I first got there, and his game knowledge, his football IQ is outstanding. He keeps the game quite simple but will pick up trends in the game really quickly," Newman said.
"And not only that, but try and identify what's going on in the game and what levers do we need to pull... it developed in him really quickly."
"But his other strength is his family values and the attitude and environment that he can create.
"He's quite laid back... you gravitate towards him... he's got a beautiful family and that's the environment he wants to create here, a real family, inclusive environment."
Newman will be sharing an office with fellow new assistant coach Jack Ziebell.
"(Jack's) a great get for us, he's a great person and his football knowledge is really strong," Newman said.
"He'll spend a lot of the time in stoppage and do some crossover with me in the midfield, so we'll work really closely together."
Newman said the new-look Tigers were "in a good place" as they head towards season 2024.
"It's exciting, and I think the players are really looking forward to that," he said.
"Some fresh faces and some fresh ideas can re-energize any sort of group.
"I think that's the exciting part, we get the opportunity now to see what sort of style we want to play going forward and we want a certain style that's going to be not only conducive for playing finals footy for now but for ongoing.
"There's a good crop of younger players coming through. There's also some experienced players that have been around and experienced a lot of different things.
"Our role is connecting those two age groups and demographics, we really encourage our younger players to ask questions of the older players...(and) we still want our older players here to not just play a role in helping, we want them to get better."
Newman also provided an update on several members of the Tigers' playing group.
"It was exciting (to have Dustin Martin back early). He's been a presence around the group.... It's good to have him up and about," Newman said.
"Thomson Dow's another one... He's been really impressive... And Tyler Sonsie, he's got a lot of ability, he's a beautiful user of the footy.
"I loved working with (Jacob Koschitzke at Hawthorn). He's an honest worker and a real power athlete, a lot of the boys were commenting on just the size of him... He'll provide a really strong contest for us.
"(Josh Gibcus) is looking really good... He's progressing pretty well... I'm pretty excited to see him out on the track and the flexibility that he provides wherever he plays."
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