RICHMOND captain Trent Cotchin says his family will continue to support Damien and Danielle Hardwick after their marriage break-up, with the Tigers star adamant the coach's relationship would not be an off-field distraction this season.
Hardwick last week publicly addressed his relationship with a club administration staffer for the first time, encouraging everyone at the Tigers to not "take sides".
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Cotchin, whose family and wife Brooke is close friends with Danielle, said that his partnership with his triple premiership coach remains strong and unchanged.
"[It's] good. No issues," Cotchin said on Monday.
"What 'Dimma' and I have worked through over a number of years now is really unique and special, and like anything we'll support both he and Danielle, and the kids.
"No one likes seeing a family break down in any sort of way so it's been a challenging time for all but again it's a private matter that I would love to leave alone."
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Cotchin said his wife would continue to support Danielle Hardwick and the family.
"Like anyone, she would support her friends. Again it's not about taking sides, it's just being there for each and every person who is impacted in many different ways," he said.
Hardwick addressed the matter with his players on their first day back at Punt Road to commence the pre-season in January, and as the Tigers strive to claim an historic premiership 'three-peat' for the first time in their history, Cotchin said the private issue would not have any impact on their season.
"That's just been the journey that Richmond's been on for a couple of years now. It seems as though anything and everything that happens either within these four walls or outside of it is a story and that's understandable," he said.
"We're a big footy team and big footy club [so it's] understandable."
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The Tigers, who had their first significant intraclub of their pre-season on Saturday, said they were ready to again be hunted by rivals after back-to-back flags.
"I think that's natural. We've been incredibly lucky and grateful for the journey that we've been on, but that's exactly how we see it at the moment," Cotchin said.
"It's [about] still continuing on and like every team in the competition we want to grow and improve and feel as though whether that comes from our youth or our mature players we're in a really good position to do so in 2021."