The Have a Ball Foundation is excited to announce our new official supporters of the foundation – the 2017 AFL Premiership coach Damien Hardwick and Premiership player Daniel Rioli from the Richmond Football Club.
Daniel grew up on Garden Island in the Tiwi Islands of the Northern Territory and played his junior football with St Mary’s Football club in Darwin before moving to Melbourne at age 14 where he boarded at St Patricks College in Ballarat. In 2015 he played with the North Ballarat Rebels in the TAC Cup before making his AFL debut with the Richmond Football Club in round 1 2016. He is now a 2017 Premiership player who plays a key role in Richmond’s small-forward line-up.
Damien is the senior coach of the Richmond Football Club and a former player with the Essendon and Port Adelaide Football Clubs. He was a key player in his school’s football side at St Joseph’s College in Ferntree Gully before beginning his AFL career at Essendon Football Club in 1994. Damien was known as a tough, solid defender who was a hard-working, versatile player who understands the game extremely well. He was a crucial part of Essendon’s 2000 Premiership side before transferring to Port Adelaide Football Club where he played another big part in their 2004 Premiership win. In 2005 he started his AFL coaching career under Alastair Clarkson at Hawthorn Football Club before starting his first senior coaching job at Richmond in 2009. This year, Damien coached Richmond to their first premiership since 1980 and their 11th overall with a 48 point victory over the Adelaide Crows. He was chosen as the AFLCA Coach of the Year and joined a very small group to win three AFL premierships with three clubs as player and coach and ended a 37 Year Drought for Richmond.