Richmond assistant coach Xavier Clarke says members of his family questioned why he was joining the Tigers during a turbulent period at Punt Road.
Clarke arrived as a development coach at the end of 2016 with coach Damien Hardwick under immense pressure to keep his job following a 13th-placed finish.
Despite the doom and gloom of another disappointing campaign, Clarke sensed a turn in fortunes was just around the corner.
“It was pretty funny, because when I told my family I was going to go and join Richmond on the coaching team, a few of them were asking why? Why would you go there with their recent history?” Clarke told This is Your Sporting Life – For Tobin Brothers Funerals, celebrating lives.
“I think meeting Dimma (Damien Hardwick) and knowing Balmey (Neil Balme), Andrew McQualter was there, I knew Craig McRae from my short time up in Brisbane, so I knew they had good people there.
“I just had this vibe about the way they were heading and how they were structuring up the football club, and that was the reason why I made the decision to go there.
“I liked the fact their board was really strong, the fact that Dimma had a lot of pressure on him and they backed him to stay on. I thought they had a lot of character within the football club.”
Richmond successfully bounced back in 2017 with Hardwick leading the club to its first premiership since 1980.
Clarke played 105 games for St Kilda and one for Brisbane between 2002 and 2010. Formerly the head coach of the NT Thunder in the NEAFL, he now supports the Richmond midfield in his role as development coach.
Listen to Xavier Clarke’s chat on This is Your Sporting Life with Peter Donegan in the player below