Australian Football Celebrating the history of the great Australian game


Key Facts

Full name
Damien Patrick Hardwick

Known as
Damien Hardwick


18 August 1972 (age 51)

Football coach

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 21y 248d
Last game: 32y 38d

Height and weight
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 82 kg

Senior clubs
Essendon; Australia; Port Adelaide

Jumper numbers
Essendon: 39, 11
Port Adelaide: 11

Recruited from
Springvale (1994); Essendon (2002)

Damien Hardwick

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV
Port AdelaideAFL2002-20045410.0280%7.705.892.760

AFL: 10,494th player to appear, 590th most games played, 4,426th most goals kickedEssendon: 983rd player to appear, 70th most games played, 402nd most goals kickedPort Adelaide: 62nd player to appear, 94th most games played, 165th most goals kicked

Something of a late developer by modern standards, Damien Hardwick was almost 22 years of age when he made his senior AFL debut for Essendon in 1994. Prior to that he had spent time with North Melbourne reserves, Springvale in the VFA, and in the twos at Essendon where he won a best and fairest award in 1993. His promotion to the senior side was, in part, a result of a conscious elevation in determination and effort, and he quickly developed into a top quality defender.

Tough, courageous and steely, Hardwick was no stranger to the league tribunal, particularly in his early years, but there could be no question that, on balance, his supremely aggressive approach was of benefit to his team, not least in the inspiration and reassurance it gave to his teammates. As the 1990s progressed, so Hardwick's form and consistency improved; he won the Bombers' best and fairest award in 1998, and two years later made a significant contribution to the club's almost indefatigable march to the premiership, earning AFL All Australian selection in the process.

The dream ride did not continue for long, however, as at the end of the 2001 season, after 153 AFL games and 13 goals for the club, salary cap restrictions forced the Bombers to trade Hardwick to Port Adelaide. He continued to display good, if somewhat less consistent, form with his new club, playing 54 games and kicking one goal in three seasons. His final game for the Power was the winning Grand Final of 2004 against Brisbane.

In 2010 Hardwick was appointed coach of Richmond, and his time at the helm the Tigers have steadily improved. However, pressure began to build on him as Richmond, despite making the finals in 2013, 2014 and 2015, fell at the first hurdle, followed by a disappointing 2016 that saw the team finish thirteenth. Redemption was at hand in 2017 when against the odds, Richmond went all the way to claim the AFL premiership.

Author - John Devaney, with updates by Andrew Gigacz


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* Behinds calculated from the 1965 season on.
+ Score at the end of extra time.