'Pies despair of Hird on Anzac Day - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

'Pies despair of Hird on Anzac Day

22/04/2005 04:43:26 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse has an air of resignation when he calls it "The James Hird Medal".

For the last five years, the player judged best afield in the annual April 25 AFL match between the Magpies and Essendon has been awarded the Anzac Medal.

Three of those, including the last two, have gone to the Essendon captain.

"I just wish he'd grow older, quicker," Malthouse said of the 32-year-old Brownlow Medallist.

"You never doubt champions and it doesn't matter - we've tagged him, we've sat off him, we've had double tags on him, we've tried to move him to full-forward, we've tried to move him to fullback, we've tried to manipulate him all over the (ground), he ends up winning the James Hird Medal," Malthouse said.

"So another year, another game and he's a year older and hopefully we're a bit wiser for it."

But this Monday will be tougher than usual for the outstanding Essendon utility, who has not enjoyed a great start to the season.

Even worse for Hird, Essendon looks in big trouble on a win and three losses and two days ago he described leading this year's team as the "greatest challenge" of his stellar career.

But Hird admitted after last year's Anzac Day game that the day was special for him and coach Kevin Sheedy will ask for a major effort on Monday.

"Big-game players come to the fore, let's face it - Carey, Ablett, Hird," Sheedy said.

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