Essendon legend James Hird has put his name forward for the vacant coaching role at the Bombers.
Recently seeing off Ben Rutten, the club is now in the hunt for a new senior coach, with reports saying Hird is in the mix.
The Bomber great last coached the side in 2015 and is now looking to return to where it all began.
Hird was infamously involved in the anti-doping drug scandal, resulting in him being suspended at the end of 2013 after two seasons at the helm.
The club lost its spot in the 2013 finals after finishing 7th as part of the punishment, while 34 past and present players were suspended for their involvement, resulting in 17 missing the 2016 season once punishments were dealt.
Former skipper Jobe Watson was also stripped of his 2012 Brownlow Medal, resulting in Hawthorn’s Sam Mitchell and Richmond’s Trent Cotchin taking the honours.
Hird then returned for Essendon’s 2015 campaign but resigned later that season.
Nothing against James Hird, but (even without the baggage) if Essendon is serious about getting the most-qualified candidate, it would have to twist logic severely to go with a guy who hasn’t coached at the level for 7yrs & had mixed results when he did. https://t.co/HblrVsJvEF
— Rohan Connolly (@rohan_connolly) September 14, 2022
According to The Herald Sun, the Brownlow Medalist joins Melbourne assistant Adam Yze, former North Melbourne coach Brad Scott, Brendon Lade and ex-Adelaide coach Don Pyke as contenders for the job.
The club has already gone after Alastair Clarkson – who signed with North Melbourne – as well as Ross Lyon, who rejected the possibility of being the head coach at Essendon, while Leon Cameron also decline participation in the process.
Since 2015, Hird has taken up a job at GWS in a leadership capacity while also assisting former teammate Mark McVeigh in the second half of the season once Leon Cameron was sacked.
Recently speaking on Mark Howard’s podcast, Howie Games, Hird didn’t rule out a return to senior coaching but acknowledged there was a lot to consider.
“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.
Ironically, newfound president David Barham initially dodged any links to a Hird return at Tullamarine late in August.
7News journalist Tom Browne believes there was movement for Hird and that AFL legend Kevin Sheedy was pushing the case.
“There is support in growing sections of the Bombers, powerful sections of the club, for James Hird to return to coaching,” Browne said in late August.
Hird emerged as a back up option Tuesday. Details on the news below. He has support from Kevin Sheedy, who is now fairly instrumental on the board.
Barham is calling the shots. And isn’t directly aligned with the CEO, who was a Brasher man.
It’s a complete mess https://t.co/v6E5d5YX1s
— Tom Browne (@TomBrowne7) August 19, 2022
Jordan Lewis – who is apart of the Essendon coaching committee – said on AFL360 that he was “impressed” by the four applicants who interviewed for the role.
“Having never been involved in that type of presentation or setting, for me it was one, intriguing and two, really enlightening,” Lewis said.
“It was encouraging for not only Essendon but for the competition.
“I think all the panel members today were really impressed by presentations.”
AFL journalist Mark Robinson believes Hird would like to give some back for the pain and turmoil caused throughout the drug saga and wants an opportunity to right some wrongs, with reports suggesting the club went to the former great.
“People think that Hird wants to coach for Hird – Hird actually wants to coach from what I’ve been told partly to say sorry to the club and to bring the club back. Everyone’s got a reason … if he wants to make good, I’d rather have him making good than making bad,” Robinson said.
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