Fletcher won't make life hard for Hird - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Fletcher won't make life hard for Hird

Tom Wald 30/10/2010 09:58:32 AM Comments (0)

It is the sort of situation that if not handled carefully, can tear apart even the tightest of friendships.

So that is why Dustin Fletcher is determined to make life as easy as possible for new Essendon coach James Hird.

Fletcher, 35, and Hird, 37, played together for 14 seasons at Windy Hill and in premiership winning sides in 1993 and 2000.

Football has a history of bitter splits when a player is told their time is up before they are ready to go.

Telling former teammates to hit the road can be one of the toughest jobs for a young coach and Fletcher says he doesn't want to make it any harder than it has to be for his long-time ex-captain.

"Hirdy is a nice person and so am I, so when the time comes I will be the first to go and tell him I am done," he told AAP.

"I would not put want to put the pressure on Hirdy or whoever might be making that call.

"I would not expect that to come between us because 14 years of footy is a long time, we have had a couple of flags in there and you don't lose years of friendships on a year of footy."

The lanky defender is set to enter his 19th AFL season in 2011, a phenomenal achievement given the physical demands on modern-day AFL players.

Despite turning 36 in May, the 328-game fullback is feeling in great shape despite cutting short his off-season to represent Australia in the International Rules series in Ireland.

"At this stage my body is feeling really good, probably better than it did last year, so I can just go on how I feel," he said.

"When it comes to the crunch whether I play this year or next year and the year after that, it will be fine by me.

"I am feeling good for the moment and looking forward to the season starting."

The Bombers open their 2011 home and away season against the Western Bulldogs on March 27 at Etihad Stadium.

There is going to be enormous focus on Hird in his opening year in charge of Essendon as the club's golden boy tries to lift the Bombers back up the ladder.

"His ability to get the best out of the players will be one of his best attributes," Fletcher said.

"He speaks very well and the way he went about his footy is going to rub off on a lot of these guys.

"I think he will make a terrific coach and the staff he has under him ... the assistant coaches and Danny Corcoran is back so I think they have done really well and now it is just up to the players to perform."

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