Bombers coach James Hird.

Attacks on AFL boss do James Hird no favours. Photo: Getty Images

Another sport is competing with cricket for public attention in the early summer. It's a lively, multi-media game with widespread appeal and promoted by Jeff Kennett. It's called ''Get Demetriou.''

The purpose of this sport is to inflict maximum damage on Andrew Demetriou and his second in command at the AFL, Gillon McLachlan, over their handling of the Essendon drugs scandal. The assumption of most observers inside the AFL tent, including clubland, is that the campaign has been mounted, or tacitly supported, by close supporters of James Hird, what has become known as ''the Hird camp''.

If this assessment is correct - and the AFL administration certainly believes this to be the case - then those acting in Hird's supposed interests aren't doing him, or the recovering Bombers, any favours. Yes, the campaign is hurting Demetriou, who did not have his best year, but it is not in any way helpful to Hird or to the club that has agreed to employ him as coach in 2014 and 2015.

Essendon does not need to spend December and January engulfed in more discussion of the most embarrassing episode in club history. It is trying to move on from the supplements saga, for the sake of its players, sponsors, supporters and even for the game's sake. This is why it reached a settlement with the AFL, even though it felt unfairly treated.

On Wednesday, Essendon unveiled several of its new recruits, including Paul Chapman and first draft pick Zach Merrett, at the club's new facility at the airport. Unfortunately for the Dons, any positive gains from this standard exercise in selling hope was overpowered by more salacious News Ltd stories about inducements allegedly made to Hird in order to get him to accept a 12-month stretch in exile.

It is not the job of journalists, of course, to concern themselves with Essendon's, or any club's, best interests and this paper would be hypocritical to suggest that the media pedal softly on this subject or pull punches. But it's quite a different story for those who facilitate, by provision of information, the anti-Demetriou agenda. It's hard to see how Essendon - and by extension Hird - can gain from belting the AFL boss. Demetriou is an easy target in that he is not popular with the broader public. No one barracks for him, or the AFL, as the saying goes. That said, Essendon needs to heal its relationship with head office, and Hird's position - and tarnished image - would be improved by taking a more conciliatory path. He would be wise, indeed, to seek out Demetriou, or Mike Fitzpatrick, for a quiet cup of coffee at some stage. If Hird is too angry and upset and his supporters hell-bent on vengeance, they should heed the Chinese proverb: ''If you want revenge, dig yourself two holes.''

It's possible that Demetriou won't be at the helm for much longer and that Hird will see him out, and perhaps the campaign will damage McLachlan's chances of succession. But attacks on Demetriou and the AFL - arguably including Fitzpatrick's role - don't go down well with the other AFL commissioners. Fairfax Media understands that commissioners were less than impressed with the Hird camp's handling of his role in the scandal and his reluctance to accept responsibility. The same commissioners accepted as genuine and sincere - and impressive - the apology Hird made before them in August. Many of them will remain on the AFL board, even if Demetriou leaves soon.

Essendon needs to do ''whatever it takes'' to put this horrible year behind it. Hird, or those behind ''Get Demetriou'', ought to do the same.