Hird plans to avoid jacket-waving - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hird plans to avoid jacket-waving

Greg Buckle 02/05/2011 04:04:06 PM Comments (0)

James Hird won't be following Kevin Sheedy's tradition of waving his jacket to taunt West Coast fans.

The Bombers host the in-form Eagles at Etihad Stadium on Sunday and first-year coach Hird says the match will live up to the hype.

But Hird baulked at following Sheedy's theatrics.

It became a tradition for Sheedy to wave his jacket around to celebrate a win over the Eagles, pioneering the move following a two-point triumph in 1993.

No doubt Essendon fans will continue to embrace the idea, but it's not high on the new coach's agenda.

"I'll leave that to Sheeds. He has put that jacket in the cupboard, thankfully," Hird said.

Sheedy's last game as Bombers coach was round 22, 2007 at Subiaco Oval, the same day Hird completed his 253-game career.

In one of footy's memorable moments, the two Bombers legends were generously saluted by cheering Eagles fans.

But the relationship hasn't always been pleasant, including the day in 2000 when Sheedy glared at Eagles big man Mitchell White and made a throat-slitting gesture at half-time of a game at Etihad Stadium.

The improvement of both sides has added to the importance of Sunday's clash after the Bombers and the Eagles finished 14th and 16th last year.

"When the fixturing was done, at one o'clock on Mother's Day, Essendon versus West Coast, I don't think anyone thought it was going to be a big game," Hird said of the meeting between the AFL's fifth- and seventh-placed sides.

"But the way West Coast is going, with the history between the two sides, the way the contests have been over the last 15 years, West Coast-Essendon has always been a big game.

"They're playing terrific football. John Worsfold has got them really fit and playing really defensive football.

"That's the way our footy club will be treating it, as a big game and big crowd and if you win, it keeps you going up the ladder and keeps showing improvement."

Hird said Dustin Fletcher, who withdrew from Sunday's 139-point win over Gold Coast with a knee problem, would definitely play against the Eagles.

"Fletch will be spot on," Hird said of the champion fullback, who turns 36 on Friday.

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