There was only ever going to be one way Richmond coach Damien Hardwick managed the individual accolades coming his way this week in the lead-up to him equalling Tiger ‘Immortal’ Tommy Hafey’s coaching games’ record at the Club – with great humility.
Hardwick will join Hafey on 248 games as Richmond’s coach, when the Tigers take on Adelaide at Adelaide Oval in the final home-and-away round of the 2020 season.
It was trademark modest, respectful ‘Dimma’ who spoke publicly about joining Tommy atop the Tigerland coaching tree during his weekly media conference earlier today.
“It’s quite humbling, in reality,” Hardwick said.
“My name will be linked to it individually, but as a collective, it’s probably a great feather in the cap of our organisation . . . The structure under Brendon Gale and Peggy, and Gary March and Craig Cameron before them, has allowed us to get this record . . .
“I’m one person in a great organisation that I feel has given me the opportunity to represent them.
“Every person within our organisation has got a role to play. No-one is more important than the next person, and that’s the strength of a great organisation. I think the Richmond Football Club has become that.
“To be talked about in the same sentence as Tommy Hafey is quite embarrassing in a way because I look at Tommy and he’s won four flags and been an incredible ambassador of not only our football club, but AFL in general.”
Hardwick revealed that Hafey’s wife, Maureen, had passed on her congratulations to him during the week.
“I did get some well-wishes from Maureen, which is very nice,” he said.
“I have got a soft spot for Maureen and what she’s given to our footy club. I often think about last year how she presented the (premiership) cup to us and what an enormous achievement that was, and how humbling it was as well . . .
“I’ll touch base with her over the coming days.”