RICHMOND coach Damien Hardwick has branded the AFL club’s latest premiership “extra significant” because of the hurdles the club overcame to get there.
The Tigers left locked-down Victoria in July to continue the season and spent more than 100 days in interstate hubs.
They endured major controversy when young players Sydney Stack and Callum Coleman-Jones were banished from Queensland for breaking strict return-to-play protocols.
And they progressed through the finals the ‘hard way’, bouncing back with three straight wins after losing their qualifying final.
Hardwick, who has coached 11 seasons, said the latest triumph would have a special place in his heart after the breakthrough premiership in 2017 and a second flag last year.
“They’re all different but this one I think is extra significant,” Hardwick said.
“What we had to go through to get here, we had 100-odd days in a hub, how hard the AFL and Queensland government and the people in Victoria did it, it was just an enormous achievement.
“To sit there and see where we were at the start of the year and where we ended up is just significant.”
Hardwick declared himself in awe of Dustin Martin’s performance after the superstar kicked four goals to claim an unprecedented third Norm Smith Medal.
“The significance of his goals were really, really important,” Hardwick said.
“He kicked some really good goals on the biggest stage and when you look at the quality of work he put in throughout the game you probably knew his third Norm Smith wasn’t far away.
“It speaks oodles for the guy with the way he works incredibly hard.”
(C) AAP 2020