Richmond’s long search for a new coach is racing to an end and 7NEWS cameras have captured Tigers chief Brendon Gale in a meeting with top candidate Adem Yze.
7NEWS can also reveal that former Collingwood coach and Brownlow medallist Nathan Buckley has emerged as a “surprise” key player.
It now appears the Victorian powerhouse AFL club has just taken a big step to replacing their three-time premiership mastermind Damien Hardwick after a three-hour long meeting in Richmond on Tuesday.
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Hardwick stunned the AFL world when he announced he was quitting the club in May this year.
Former St Kilda forward Andrew McQualter took the reins as interim coach after Hardwick’s departure, and it has largely been seen as a race in two between McQualter and Yze (an assistant at Melbourne) since.
With Melbourne’s season ending on Friday, Richmond have now positioned themselves to make an announcement soon.
7NEWS AFL reporter Mitch Cleary spotted the key figures on the heavyweight panel leaving the meeting on Tuesday.
“It certainly was a surprise to see Nathan Buckley part of the Tigers’ coaching search today as it reaches decision time at Punt Road,” Cleary said.
“The former Collingwood coach (was) part of a three-hour meeting in the heart of Richmond …. as an expert consultant.”
Cleary believes the Tigers are just days away from landing on Hardwick’s successor
Others who were caught on camera included former Tigers captain Trent Cotchin and Melbourne Storm general manager Frank Ponissi.
Gale told 7NEWS that the panel had a valuable mix of perspectives from former leaders, coaches and – in both Buckley and Cotchin – captains.
Yze narrowly missed out on the Greater Western Sydney job to former Tigers assistant Adam Kingsley last year.
He was also pipped at the post by Brad Scott when Essendon named their new coach at the end of last season.
But Yze said he was feeling confident this time.
“It was a good meeting,” Yze told Cleary.
“I’m not sure how it’s going to go. (I) can’t comment too much. They’ve got some decisions to make (but) it was good fun.
“I feel like I’ve presented really well so hopefully that’s enough and we’ll see how we go,” Yze told 7NEWS.
Gale said they were “making good progress”.
“It’s a very exciting process and one that’ll be re-energising (for the club),” Gale said.
Hardwick has since been appointed the new coach of Gold Coast, and will lead the club next year after inking a six-year deal.
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