Hird out to lift 'rock bottom' Bombers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hird out to lift 'rock bottom' Bombers

By Sam Lienert 28/09/2010 06:47:59 PM Comments (0)

Essendon favourite son James Hird says the opportunity to take over the Bombers at rock bottom was too tempting to pass up.

The 2000 premiership skipper, 1996 Brownlow Medallist and five-time Essendon best and fairest has signed a four-year deal with the club his father and grandfather represented, and he has followed all his life.

Hird said he planned to return to the Bombers to the premiership dais, but could not predict how long that would take, only promising gradual improvement.

Among his initial aims were to instil a better standard of fitness in a playing list he felt was underperforming.

"I don't think the list has played to its potential, I think that 2009 was a good year, the back half of last year was disappointing but there were injuries and I want to come in and teach and develop," Hird said.

"How long that takes, I'm not going to put a timeframe on it, but the one thing you will see is you will see improvement every year."

Hird, who has no AFL coaching experience, wants an experienced senior assistant to aid his introduction to the hot seat.

Having played 253 games before retiring in 2007, including as captain from 1998 to 2005, he said he had never wanted to coach anywhere else.

"This is the greatest football club in the world," he said.

"Football has been in my blood since I was four or five years old, it's a passion and I want to be part of this journey.

"There is no better time to come onto the Essendon Football Club than right now.

"It probably doesn't get any more rock bottom than this.

"So we're going to build it and I want to be part of it."

Captain Jobe Watson welcomed the new coach's modest assessment of the Bombers' current state.

"That's the reality of it and the thing about AFL footy is as soon as you start sugar-coating things then you really lose the sight of where you actually are," Watson said.

"The reality is we had a really poor year and that we are a long way off the two (grand final) teams.

"So it's refreshing to hear the coach sees it that way."

While Hird had a reputation as a natural footballer, Watson said his talent was built on a ferocious work ethic that belied his golden boy image.

"He was a brutal trainer, he expected nothing less from his teammates and I anticipate that will be the way he'll be as a coach," he said.

"He got the most out of himself and he inspired his teammates.

"To get to the level that he played at you have to have that brutality about your personality and I'm sure that that will probably come through."

Hird will start immediately, with trade week beginning next Tuesday, although the new coach said Essendon would not be major players.

"We need quality midfielders coming into the club to support the midfielders we've got at the moment," he said.

"We might be involved in trading in a little way, but fundamentally it will be all about the youth."

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