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James Hird interviews to become next Essendon coach, Bombers coaching committee, supplements saga

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Essendon great James Hird has been interviewed to become the club’s next coach.

The Herald Sun’s Mark Robinson first reported the former champion player, and coach during the supplements saga, spoke with the Bombers’ coaching selection committee on Wednesday.

It sees Hird added to a list of contenders that includes Melbourne assistant Adem Yze, former North Melbourne coach Brad Scott and ex-Adelaide coach turned Sydney assistant Don Pyke.

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The interview comes seven years after he quit the job following a dismal 2015 season, having returned to the job after serving a ban in 2014.

Hird became coach in late 2010 and was in the role when the supplements saga emerged.

In August 2013, he along with the club, senior assistant Mark Thompson, football manager Danny Corcoran and club doctor Bruce Reid were charged by the AFL with bringing the game into disrepute.

The club was banned from the finals series and Hird was suspended for 12 months, while 34 past and present players were suspended for two years, seeing 17 of them miss the 2016 season after a lengthy legal process.

Hird received a huge reception before Essendon’s Round 13 game this year when he returned to the club’s 150th anniversary celebration. Photo by Michael KleinSource: News Corp Australia

Speaking recently on the podcast The Howie Games, the 49-year-old said he remained interested in coaching though he would need to thoroughly consider it first.

“There’s a lot of elements about it. I was asked by a CEO of a footy club six weeks ago would I like to coach again, not his club but would I like to coach again,” Hird said.

“My honest answer was, there’s some elements about it I really like, I’d have to have some family considerations to do it. I love the fact that you get in deeply and you work with young people to create something really, really special and you create a great team environment.

“But I’ve worked very hard over the last six years to create another sort of business arm.

“I’m 50 – at 40 when it happened I could actually transition and go – at 50 you go down that then that’s almost it. You have to think very carefully about the path that I take and there has to be an opportunity too.”

Hird conceded he “should have been over more of the detail” during the supplements saga.

“We had two people there who were bad people who, I don’t think they cheated but that’s debatable, I still don’t think players took the wrong thing,” he said.

“But the players were put in a very compromised position, which they shouldn’t have been put in. The thing that is the most upsetting is that there’s 34 players who’ve done absolutely nothing wrong and their families and them have suffered hugely for it and the Essendon supporters.

“These people have been the most loyal supporters of all time, they’ve paid their membership, they’ve gone through ASADA, they’ve gone through COVID and now all you want to do is just get a bit of success and go to the footy and win a few games, because there is no group of supporters who have been through more, or maybe Fitzroy supporters, that’s been through more over the last 15 years.”


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