Former Richmond coach Damien Hardwick wants to coach at AFL level again, admitting he already misses life in the hot seat.
Triple-premiership mentor Hardwick departed the Tigers last month after 14 years at the helm.
He has spent time travelling the US but long appeared destined to return to coaching.
“I’d be lying if I said I couldn’t see myself doing it,” Hardwick told the Dyl and Friends podcast, released on Monday.
“I love it. I miss it. I’ve been out for two weeks and I wanted to miss it, if that made sense. But I needed to decompress for a while, I (needed) to go away, reflect, figure out things that make me good and things that can.
“I need a bit of time but I just love the game. Like everyone, I’ve known it for a long time.
“At some stage I will probably step back in. When that is, I’m not too sure.
“For me, a new challenge – and whatever that looks like, I’m not too sure. But things are exciting like that.”
Hardwick’s declaration will undoubtedly spark interest from multiple clubs.
He has been consistently linked to Gold Coast despite his former Port Adelaide premiership teammate Stuart Dew being contracted until the end of next season.
Port mentor Ken Hinkley is out of contract at season’s end and both the Power and their coach have put off any talks until August.
West Coast have backed Adam Simpson but the premiership coach is under intense scrutiny amid their woes.
There is also uncertainty at North Melbourne, where Brett Ratten is caretaker while Alastair Clarkson remains on indefinite personal leave.
Hardwick admitted he’d struggled without the routine of AFL, after a long playing and coaching career.
“The one thing that footy does is (make you) really routine-orientated and all of a sudden you take that away and it’s amazing how quickly (you miss it),” he said.
“You enjoy the first couple of days but then it’s like, ‘Oh, what am I going to do now?’
“… Footy was such a big part of my life and it sort of defined me in a way because I was in that cycle.”
Hardwick believed he had timed his exit from Richmond well.
“I wanted to go out feeling great about what I’d achieved and the club that I’d been at, rather than resenting the club – which I’d seen a lot of other coaches go out that way as well,” he said.