Hird's first blip as Swans down Bombers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hird's first blip as Swans down Bombers

By Sam Lienert and James Dampney 03/04/2011 07:40:36 PM Comments (0)

Essendon coach James Hird's golden start to his AFL coaching career finally hit a snag, as Sydney snatched a comeback win on Sunday.

The Swans trailed for most of the day, but snuck home 14.14 (98) to 13.15 (93) at ANZ Stadium, increasing the Bombers' losing streak outside of Victoria to seven.

Essendon looked a transformed side under Hird in reaching the pre-season grand final, then trouncing the Western Bulldogs by 55 points in round one.

While they impressed again on Sunday, Hird said they would learn valuable lessons from letting victory slip away, after leading by as much as five goals.

The Swans capped their comeback when Essendon's Kyle Hardingham was harshly penalised for holding the ball at the 25-minute mark of the last term and Jude Bolton slotted the free kick to put Sydney in front.

Brent Stanton was unlucky not to receive a free kick for push in the back with 90 seconds left, which could have helped Essendon regain the lead.

But Hird refused to blame umpires for the first defeat of his reign.

"There would be free kicks they're not happy with and there'd be ones we're not happy with, but that's football isn't it?" he said.

"We'll get on with next week.

"Our boys have had a terrific pre-season and the first round and almost a bit of a charmed run in terms of how the pre-season and the first round has gone.

"Today is a really good lesson for our players that footy is the toughest game in the world and if you don't keep competing in every facet of the game, you can lose games like that."

He said it would be a mark of a good team if Essendon could quickly rebound.

The Bulldogs rebounded strongly from their opening-round loss to the Bombers, belting an impotent Brisbane 19.9 (123) to 6.9 (45) at Etihad Stadium.

Ryan Griffen (33 disposals and three goals) and Matthew Boyd (32 touches, two goals) starred, as the Lions attack struggled badly in the absence of injured pair Jonathan Brown and Brent Staker.

Hawthorn also bounced back from a round one loss, downing Melbourne 16.26 (122) to 12.5 (77) at the MCG on the back of a barnstorming second half.

Melbourne are among three sides with two points, along with Richmond and St Kilda, who drew on Friday night.

The Saints also lost inspirational midfielder Lenny Hayes to a season-ending knee injury and face a huge test against the Bombers on Sunday.

Collingwood and Carlton hold the top two spots ahead of Friday's blockbuster MCG clash, with West Coast and Geelong also on two wins, while Adelaide are also undefeated, but had the bye this round.

Yet to earn a premiership point are Brisbane, Port Adelaide, North Melbourne and Gold Coast, who were annihilated by Carlton in their AFL debut on Saturday night.

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