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Plunge on Hird to coach Bombers

13/09/2010 10:16:06 PM Comments (0)

James Hird has baulked at an opportunity to rule himself out of the Essendon coaching job as punters line up to back the Bombers legend to become the club's next coach.

"I've answered the question the same way at least 10 times and I'm not going to answer it again," Hird told his fellow panellists on Foxtel's "On The Couch" program on Monday night.

Hird has spoken previously about his desire to continue to build his sports marketing business.

Asked to nominate any particular set of circumstances that might put him in a position to want the coaching role for 2011, Hird said: "I don't wish to be rude, but I've already answered that question."

Earlier on Monday, a betting plunge on Hird prompted fresh speculation he's back in the frame to coach the Bombers next year.

Sportingbet Australia chief executive Michael Sullivan said the agency had moved Hird from $10 to $5.50 in the space of 24 hours, due to the weight of bets.

Under a deal with the AFL, the company will not take bets to win more than $500 on coaching appointments, but will still have to pay out more than $30,000 if Hird gets the job.

The Brownlow Medallist and Bombers' 2000 premiership skipper had seemingly ruled himself out of putting his hand up for the position several weeks ago, saying his situation would have to change "dramatically".

"It's probably not going to happen, I've said the same thing for three years and I get a little bit frustrated," Hird said in late August of the speculation surrounding him.

But Sullivan said punters clearly suspected he might be set to change his mind.

Ex-Port Adelaide premiership coach Mark Williams remains the clear favourite, ahead of Bombers assistant Alan Richardson and former North Melbourne coach Dean Laidley.

The Bombers sacked Matthew Knights with two years left to run on his contract a day after the club's season ended.

Essendon released a statement on Monday saying an announcement was unlikely before the end of the month and the selection process was continuing.

AFL Hall of Fame member and TV commentator Robert Walls said there was "every chance" that Hird could end up coaching Essendon next year.

Walls said Hird's comments on Monday night were unclear.

"Where there's smoke there's fire," Walls told Channel Ten's "One Week At A Time" program.

"He's avoided saying yes or no. There's no doubt they (Essendon) are at him.

"I reckon there's every chance that James Hird will coach the Bombers."

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