AFL premiership-winning coach Damien Hardwick was reportedly seen ‘arm-in-arm’ with his mistress long before they spent time together in the Richmond Tigers’ COVID-safe team hub.
The Tigers coach was previously understood to have started dating the club’s sales representative Alexandra Crow while in the team’s biosecure team bubble during the 2020 season.
Hardwick’s relationship with the club staffer has widely been blamed for causing the break-up of his marriage to wife Danielle – with the couple believed to have separated last month.
Addressing the split on Sam Newman’s ‘You Cannot be Serious’ podcast, analyst Rod Law said he had spotted Hardwick and his new flame together in May – before the Tigers COVID hub was set up.
Tigers coach Damien Hardwick and his wife Danielle Hardwick are believed to have separated last month
Alexandra Crow (left) is at the centre of a love triangle involving Richmond premiership coach Damien Hardwick
‘They [the media] were citing the fact the COVID lockdown was the origins of the relationship with this person who worked alongside Damien,’ Newman said.
‘We think that’s not quite right.
‘The man sitting here beside me, Rocket (Law), saw, did you not, saw Damien Hardwick and said woman?
‘How old was she, Rod (Law), when you saw her in the street arm in arm with Damien in May?’
Law indirectly confirmed the story in response.
‘I saw something that I thought was unusual and I sent a message to somebody asking “Has there been some news I’ve missed about a split”?’ Law replied.
‘That person dismissed it, it was probably the wrong person to go to because they were quite close to Richmond.
‘I took that under face value and kept it under my hat.’
Hardwick and his lover Alexandra Crow were suspected by friends of having an affair as far back as the Tigers’ historic 2019 premiership win.
Daily Mail Australia was previously told by friends that Ms Crow’s ex-partner Daniel Giese long suspected a third party.
‘They started when I first heard she was going out with Daniel a few years ago, her heart wasn’t into it and kept Daniel hanging on a leash, so to speak,’ a friend said.
Danielle Hardwick is continuing to get on with her life in Brighton, in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. She hit social media on Tuesday night in a subtle dig against her ex-husband Damien
Daniel Giese is a respected Carlton Football Club executive. On Wednesday he went about his business with quiet dignity as the scandal involving his ex partner continued
The former partner of Ms Crow is among the top executives at the Carlton Football Club.
He was living with Ms Crow at their $1.2million Ascot Vale home when the relationship with the three-time premiership coach started.
A friend of Giese’s, who asked to remain anonymous, told Daily Mail Australia Ms Crow was notably absent from a wedding she had been invited to with Mr Giese in Bali during the Tigers’ premiership-winning 2019 season.
‘She came up with an excuse that she had no more leave which I found strange as they both knew about the wedding 15 months prior,’ the friend said.
Mr Giese apparently appeared unsettled on the trip, causing concern among his mates that all was not well at home.
‘All I know is that my intuition was never wrong about her and I knew I should have said something but I didn’t want to get involved,’ the friend said.
Ms Crow missed the wedding in the same year she took to Twitter to gush over the Richmond coach.
‘Hi @damienhardwick, first time caller long time listener. Just wondering when you will be getting a statue,’ she wrote upon Hardwick equalling Tigers legend Jack Dyer’s coaching record.
Mr Giese and Danielle Hardwick, who apparently learnt of her husband’s affair during a trip to the team hub in Queensland last year, cut forlorn figures after news broke of the affair this week.
On Tuesday she shared a post to her private Instagram account which read: ‘F**k every single person that took advantage of your kindness and mistook it for weakness.’
The message came as details of her husband’s new relationship became public.
The Tigers coach has not been spotted in public with his new lover – a Richmond sales representative – since news of the scandal broke this week.
It is understood the pair remain in hiding at a rental property in trendy Elwood, on the shores of Port Phillip Bay.
The winner takes it all: Tigers coach Damien Hardwick has given the club three premierships in four years
Alexandra Crow has been named as the woman Tigers coach Damien Hardwick is now in a relationship with. She owns a home with Carlton Football Club executive Daniel Giese
Daniel Giese is pictured following revelations his former partner Alex Crow is now dating Damien Hardwick
Mr Giese was seen going out for a bike ride on Wednesday morning after fielding numerous inquiries from Melbourne’s footy-mad media.
He declined to comment when approached by Daily Mail Australia.
The successful salesman, who is general manager of consumer business at Carlton, is revered among Blues fans for his open and honest interaction with them about their club memberships.
Mr Giese can be seen actively engaging with fans on footy forums where he toils to meet their lofty expectations of the club.
He was recruited to Carlton in 2018 after spending almost three years in a near identical role at Melbourne Storm.
It remains unclear if he worked alongside his ex-partner at Richmond, who continues to work with the club’s commercial sales team.
Records show Mr Giese jointly purchased their home in May 2019, about two months before Ms Crow hit Twitter praising her future lover.
Hardwick’s relationship with the young Richmond staffer are said to have developed while the pair were caged inside the Queensland hub.
Damien Hardwick (right) with Dustin Martin after last year’s premiership win over Geelong
Hardwick and Trent Cotchin with the premiership trophy during the Richmond Tigers’ Grand Final celebrations at Punt Road Oval in 2019
The hub, introduced so the competition could continue during the pandemic, has been blamed for putting pressure on families.
Daily Mail Australia has been told the Richmond coach began the relationship with Ms Crow – known widely as Alex – during the Tigers’ time in the hub while still married.
Hardwick is said to have split with his wife last month with the endorsement of the Richmond hierarchy.
The Tigers remain committed to Hardwick despite intense speculation he was preparing to stand down or be walked out.
The club has confirmed it’s aware of the relationship between the two.
While Hardwick has not been spotted publicly since before Christmas, he will be forced to face the scandal whether he likes it or not with the recommencement of training for the 2021 season scheduled to kick off this week.
Melbourne’s Simon Goodwin mysteriously splits with his high school sweetheart wife after 15 years of marriage – the third coach breakup to rock the footy world within weeks
Yet another AFL coach has split from his long-term partner after a tumultuous 2020 season that saw teams constrained to living in Covid bubbles.
Melbourne Football Club coach Simon Goodwin has separated from his teenage sweetheart Maggie, ending their 15 years of marriage.
The two have three teenage children and got hitched in 2005, but the former couple have been living apart for the past three months, the Herald Sun reported.
Melbourne Football Club coach Simon Goodwin has separated from his teenage sweetheart Maggie, ending their 15 years of marriage (pictured together)
Goodwin joined the Demons in 2016 from Essendon and had a stellar playing career racking up 275 games for the Adelaide Crows, winning two premierships.
He is the third AFL coach in the 12 months to separate from his wife.
In December, Collingwood head coach Nathan Buckley and his partner Tania called it quits after 18 years of marriage.
Later that same month Richmond coach Damien Hardwick and his wife Danielle also ended their relationship.
When Goodwin was appointed to take over at the Demons he told reporters that he owed his success to his beloved wife Maggie who had stuck by his side through thick and thin.
‘We’ve been together for a long time, since we were 19,’ he said in September 2016.
Simon Goodwin coach of the Demons, poses with his wife and children, Isabella, Maggie, Lilly and Eddie after a Melbourne Demons AFL press conference at Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 14, 2016
Simon Goodwin, formerly of the Adelaide Crows, poses with his then wife Maggie Goodwin at the 2006 AFL Brownlow Medal Dinner at Crown Casino September 25, 2006
‘She’s supported me through all of the challenges in my life. We live in a really selfish industry in a lot of ways, especially as a player and also now as a coach.
‘It’s such a selfish industry and she’s had to sustain a lot, and she’s pulled me into line when she’s needed to — I’ve needed that a few times that’s for sure.’
While the relationship may be over, the couple are reportedly still on good terms and recently attended a wedding together over the new year break in South Australia.
Due to border shutdown and social-distancing restrictions in 2020, players, coaching staff and many of their families were forced to live in hotel bubbles.
It is not clear whether the gruelling Covid-interrupted 2020 season added to the couple’s woes.
But another high-profile marriage breakdown in the AFL suggests the strains of living the bubble may have played a role.
It is not clear whether the gruelling Covid-interrupted 2020 season added to the Simon and Maggie’s woes
It comes after the estranged wife of premiership-winning AFL coach Damien Hardwick shared an explicit post after his relationship with a young staffer was exposed.
Danielle Hardwick shared a post to her private Instagram account which read: ‘F**k every single person that took advantage of your kindness and mistook it for weakness.’
The message, which was uploaded on Tuesday, comes as details of her husband’s new relationship became public.
Hardwick’s new lover has been revealed as his club’s own sales representative, Alexandra Crow.
Ms Crow had been spotted with Hardwick in the lead-up to Christmas, drinking openly with him at a busy Melbourne rooftop pub.
One witness told Daily Mail Australia the pair did not appear to be having a good time.
‘They seemed stressed. Unhappy. But we instantly noticed it was Hardwick with someone who wasn’t his wife,’ the source said.
Hardwick’s relationship with the young Richmond staffer allegedly developed while the pair were caged inside the Queensland hub.
The hub, introduced so the competition could continue during the pandemic, has been blamed for putting pressure on families.
Damien Hardwick (pictured with wife Danielle and the AFL premiership cup) steered the Tigers to three premierships in four seasons
Damien Hardwick and his then wife Danielle Hardwick arrive ahead of the 2017 Brownlow Medal at Crown Entertainment Complex on September 25, 2017
At the beginning of 2020, before the bubble was brought in, Collingwood head coach Nathan Buckley and his wife Tania ended their 18-year romance.
The couple issued a statement via Tania’s Instagram page in December 2020, publicly announcing they separated 11 months ago.
They have since been co-parenting their two sons Ayce, 12, and Jett, 14, but kept the surprise breakup under wraps until today.
‘It has been a tough and challenging year for every family and for ours included,’ the statement read.
‘It is with the utmost of love and respect for each other and a true commitment to our sons, that we made a decision to separate in January.
‘We remain dedicated parents and in the interests of our boys, we ask for our family to be given the privacy that is needed.
At the beginning of 2020, before the bubble was brought in, Collingwood head coach Nathan Buckley and his wife Tania ended their 18-year romance
The AFL couple issued a statement via Tania’s Instagram page in December, publicly announcing they had actually split 11 months ago in January
‘We thank everyone in advance for understanding our request and for the unconditional love and support we have received throughout our marriage.’
After the Magpies lost the AFL Grand Final to Richmond in Queensland, Buckley moved out of the family home when he returned to Melbourne.
Buckley is reportedly now staying at an apartment in South Yarra, which is owned by his friend Paul Roberts – a TLA sports executive.
Geelong great Billy Brownless reportedly stayed at the same apartment amid his separation from ex-wife Nicky, also after 18 years of marriage, in 2015.
Buckley played 20 games for the Brisbane Bears before joining Collingwood in 1994.
He played 260 matches for the Magpies and booted 263 goals, becoming one of the club’s most decorated players.