JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.



James Hird interview was highly strategic

In James Hird's sign-off appearance before he is expected to return to Australia in July, the motivations and desired ...

In James Hird's sign-off appearance before he is expected to return to Australia in July, the motivations and desired message were very clear. Photo: Mal Fairclough

It was just three minutes of an episode of a club footy show that lasted for 23. But the simple interview that clearly signalled the beginning of James Hird's temporary leave of absence from Australia was also a highly strategised, controlled and AFL-approved production.

It had been proposed, before the filming, that Mark Thompson might also feature in Essendon's opening The Hangar program for 2014 alongside the man whose shoes he is filling until August. That didn't eventuate (the schedules of the pair could not be coordinated, according to the Bombers). Regardless, the segment that aired on Fox Sports on Tuesday night has been judged a success by the club, in that it achieved Essendon's aim of formally bidding Hird adieu until July, and also ruled a line over more than a year of doorstop interviews in the now all too familiar setting of the suspended coach's Toorak driveway.

Outgoing AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou confirmed on Wednesday that Essendon's chairman, Paul Little, directly sought his permission for the club to conduct the Hird interview.

“I advised Essendon chairman Paul Little ... that there was no issue about breaching the agreement," said Demetriou of the deal struck between the AFL, Hird and Essendon last year.

"He conducted a pretty straight up and down interview that appeared on The Hangar last night and we saw no issue with it."

While the AFL approved this, it rejected a proposal last December when Essendon asked whether Hird and former Bomber football boss Danny Corcoran should be invited to the club's Christmas party.

Asked why Little cleared The Hangar appearance with Demetriou, Essendon's chief marketing officer Justin Rodski said: “We're very aware that there are some pretty strict guidelines around what James can and can't do, and his involvement with the club during his suspension.

“So from the time he was suspended we've been very careful to make sure that anything involving James was cleared with the AFL to make sure we weren't breaking any rules.”

The deeds of settlement Hird, Essendon and the AFL signed last year to formalise the coach's 12-month suspension included a non-disparagement clause. And while there is no formal direction from Essendon about what Hird says about the saga that spoiled last year, Little recently detailed to Fairfax Media's Good Weekend magazine that any future media commitment the erstwhile golden child of the AFL did would “have to be very, very strongly controlled in some way.

"I can't have him talking about the AFL. I can't have him talking about ASADA. I can't have him talking negatively about key players in this, because that will just backfire on us,” Little said.

"On the whole, I have found it easier just to stop James talking than to try to control what he says. Rightly or wrongly, that's the way it has to be."

Hird's lawyers' interpretation is that the AFL Hall of Fame member has effectively been gagged. They say club chiefs, as recently as this year, also suggested that Hird ask some of his media and legal advisers through the matter - Ian Hanke and Steven Amendola specifically - to desist commenting on the hot topic. Hird's response was that he would do no such thing.

In Hird's sign-off appearance before he is expected to return to Australia in July, the motivations and desired message was very clear. Said Rodski, who was part of the planning and attended the filming, of the shoot: “It was important that in the last interview before he left he was able to talk to our members, he was able to clarify what his role will be when he comes back, he talked to what he will be doing while he's overseas, and he was able to reinforce his desire and hunger to coach so that there's no confusion out there about where he stands and what's going to happen when he returns.

“It was important that James wished the team well, thanked them for their support and essentially gave Bomber the reins for the year."

"This season, it's pretty clear to Bomber and myself that Bomber's the coach for 2014 and once season 2014 finishes in terms of our last game, then I'll take over as head coach," Hird said.

"The players are clear, I'm clear, Bomber's clear and our supporters are pretty clear."

4 comments so far

  • Am feeling less and less comfortable (and more and more saddened by feeling like that) with Hird's returning (almost in any capacity) to the EFC.

    Commenter
    Leonard Colquhoun
    Date and time
    March 20, 2014, 11:56AM
    • He's still got his head in the clouds... a little humility and some sign he is sorry for his part in this saga would go a long way to rebuild his reputation.

      Commenter
      Clive
      Date and time
      March 21, 2014, 10:08AM
      • Who would touch him ?

        He is poison

        There is no reputation left

        Commenter
        LGB
        Date and time
        March 24, 2014, 1:33AM
        • Clive & Leonard, couldn't have said it better myself. Hopefully Bomber does great things with this team and the players who have been so badly burnt by Hird decide that they don't want him back.

          Unfortunately every time Hird speaks or something is mentioned about this whole saga our great game gets reminded of its darkest moment.

          Essendon should have sacked Hird straight away and there is no way he should have been granted a contract extension. If he was the best man for the job then he could have talked to the club in the off season, instead we will now have to endure at least another year of this.

          Hird's reputation will forever be tarnished, maybe one day he will realise what he did, or sorry didn't do to be more precise, was wrong and show even 1 ounce of remorse. If he had done that from the beginning and taken his punishment like a man people would have moved on faster and had a greater respect for him.

          Commenter
          MattyHoofaT
          Location
          Perth
          Date and time
          March 24, 2014, 1:42PM

          Make a comment

          You are logged in as [Logout]

          All information entered below may be published.

          Error: Please enter your screen name.

          Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

          Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

          Error: Please enter your comment.

          Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

          Post to

          You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

          Thank you

          Your comment has been submitted for approval.

          Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

          HuffPost Australia

          AFL 2016

          Round 1
          Thu, 24 MarTimes shown AEDT
          RIC vs CAR 19:20MCG
          Sat, 26 MarTimes shown AEDT
          MEL vs GWS 13:40MCG
          GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
          NTH vs ADE 19:25ES
          SYD vs COL 19:25ANZ
          Sun, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
          WBU vs FRE 13:10ES
          PTA vs STK 15:20Adelaide Oval
          WCE vs BRI 19:40Domain Stadium
          Mon, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
          GEE vs HAW 15:20MCG
          View All Fixtures
          Round 2
          Fri, 01 AprTimes shown AEDT
          COL vs RIC 19:50MCG
          Sat, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
          ADE vs PTA 13:45Adelaide Oval
          ESS vs MEL 14:10MCG
          BRI vs NTH 16:35G
          STK vs WBU 19:25ES
          FRE vs GCF 19:40Domain Stadium
          Sun, 03 AprTimes shown AEST
          GWS vs GEE 13:10SO
          HAW vs WCE 15:20MCG
          CAR vs SYD 16:40ES
          View All Fixtures
          Round 3
          Fri, 08 AprTimes shown AEST
          PTA vs ESS 19:50Adelaide Oval
          Sat, 09 AprTimes shown AEST
          STK vs COL 13:45MCG
          RIC vs ADE 14:10ES
          SYD vs GWS 16:35SCG
          GCF vs CAR 19:25MS
          WCE vs FRE 19:40Domain Stadium
          Sun, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
          NTH vs MEL 13:10BA
          WBU vs HAW 15:20ES
          GEE vs BRI 16:40SS
          View All Fixtures
          Round 4
          Fri, 15 AprTimes shown AEST
          WCE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
          Sat, 16 AprTimes shown AEST
          ESS vs GEE 13:45MCG
          HAW vs STK 14:10AS
          BRI vs GCF 16:35G
          CAR vs WBU 19:25ES
          ADE vs SYD 19:40Adelaide Oval
          Sun, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
          GWS vs PTA 13:10SO
          COL vs MEL 15:20MCG
          NTH vs FRE 16:40ES
          View All Fixtures
          Round 5
          Fri, 22 AprTimes shown AEST
          HAW vs ADE 19:50MCG
          Sat, 23 AprTimes shown AEST
          SYD vs WCE 13:40SCG
          GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
          WBU vs BRI 19:25ES
          PTA vs GEE 19:40Adelaide Oval
          Sun, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
          STK vs GWS 13:10ES
          FRE vs CAR 16:10Domain Stadium
          MEL vs RIC 19:10MCG
          Mon, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
          COL vs ESS 15:20MCG
          View All Fixtures
          Round 6
          Fri, 29 AprTimes shown AEST
          NTH vs WBU 19:50ES
          Sat, 30 AprTimes shown AEST
          MEL vs STK 13:45ES
          ADE vs FRE 14:10Adelaide Oval
          GWS vs HAW 16:35Spotless Stadium
          RIC vs PTA 19:25MCG
          GEE vs GCF 19:25SS
          Sun, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
          BRI vs SYD 13:10G
          CAR vs ESS 15:20MCG
          WCE vs COL 16:40Domain Stadium
          View All Fixtures
          Round 7
          Fri, 06 MayTimes shown AEST
          RIC vs HAW 19:50MCG
          Sat, 07 MayTimes shown AEST
          COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
          GEE vs WCE 14:10SS
          SYD vs ESS 16:35ANZ
          GCF vs MEL 17:10MS
          WBU vs ADE 19:40ES
          FRE vs GWS 20:10Domain Stadium
          Sun, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
          STK vs NTH 15:20ES
          PTA vs BRI 16:40Adelaide Oval
          View All Fixtures
          Round 8
          Fri, 13 MayTimes shown AEST
          ADE vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
          Sat, 14 MayTimes shown AEST
          ESS vs NTH 13:45ES
          HAW vs FRE 14:10AS
          GWS vs GCF 16:35Spotless Stadium
          BRI vs COL 19:25G
          RIC vs SYD 19:25MCG
          Sun, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
          CAR vs PTA 13:10ES
          MEL vs WBU 15:20MCG
          WCE vs STK 16:40Domain Stadium
          View All Fixtures
          Round 9
          Fri, 20 MayTimes shown AEST
          HAW vs SYD 19:50MCG
          Sat, 21 MayTimes shown AEST
          COL vs GEE 13:45MCG
          GCF vs ADE 14:10MS
          PTA vs WCE 16:35Adelaide Oval
          NTH vs CAR 19:25ES
          FRE vs RIC 19:40Domain Stadium
          Sun, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
          MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
          GWS vs WBU 15:20Spotless Stadium
          STK vs ESS 16:40ES
          View All Fixtures
          Round 10
          Fri, 27 MayTimes shown AEST
          SYD vs NTH 19:50SCG
          Sat, 28 MayTimes shown AEST
          BRI vs HAW 13:45G
          MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
          STK vs FRE 16:35ES
          ESS vs RIC 19:25MCG
          ADE vs GWS 19:40Adelaide Oval
          Sun, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
          CAR vs GEE 13:10ES
          COL vs WBU 15:20MCG
          WCE vs GCF 16:40Domain Stadium
          View All Fixtures
          Round 11
          Fri, 03 JunTimes shown AEST
          NTH vs RIC 19:50BA
          Sat, 04 JunTimes shown AEST
          HAW vs MEL 13:45MCG
          CAR vs BRI 14:10ES
          GEE vs GWS 16:35SS
          GCF vs SYD 19:25MS
          FRE vs ESS 19:40Domain Stadium
          Sun, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
          COL vs PTA 13:10MCG
          WBU vs WCE 15:20ES
          ADE vs STK 16:40Adelaide Oval
          View All Fixtures
          Round 12
          Fri, 10 JunTimes shown AEST
          ESS vs HAW 19:50ES
          Sat, 11 JunTimes shown AEST
          PTA vs WBU 13:40Adelaide Oval
          BRI vs FRE 16:35G
          GEE vs NTH 19:25ES
          WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
          Sun, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
          STK vs CAR 13:10ES
          RIC vs GCF 15:20MCG
          GWS vs SYD 16:40Spotless Stadium
          Mon, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
          MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
          View All Fixtures
          Round 13
          Fri, 17 JunTimes shown AEST
          NTH vs HAW 19:50ES
          Sat, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
          BRI vs WCE 13:40G
          FRE vs PTA 16:35Domain Stadium
          WBU vs GEE 19:25ES
          Sun, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
          SYD vs MEL 13:10SCG
          ESS vs GWS 16:40ES
          View All Fixtures
          Round 14
          Thu, 23 JunTimes shown AEST
          ADE vs NTH 19:50Adelaide Oval
          Fri, 24 JunTimes shown AEST
          COL vs FRE 19:50MCG
          Sat, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
          RIC vs BRI 13:40MCG
          GWS vs CAR 16:35Spotless Stadium
          STK vs GEE 19:25ES
          Sun, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
          HAW vs GCF 15:20AS
          View All Fixtures
          Round 15
          Thu, 30 JunTimes shown AEST
          WCE vs ESS 20:10Domain Stadium
          Fri, 01 JulTimes shown AEST
          PTA vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
          Sat, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
          GCF vs STK 13:40MS
          SYD vs WBU 16:35SCG
          CAR vs COL 19:25MCG
          Sun, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
          MEL vs ADE 15:20MCG
          View All Fixtures
          Round 16
          Thu, 07 JulTimes shown AEST
          PTA vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
          Fri, 08 JulTimes shown AEST
          GEE vs SYD 19:50SS
          Sat, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
          GWS vs COL 13:40Spotless Stadium
          GCF vs BRI 16:35MS
          WBU vs RIC 19:25ES
          MEL vs FRE 19:40TIO
          Sun, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
          CAR vs ADE 13:10MCG
          WCE vs NTH 15:20Domain Stadium
          ESS vs STK 16:40ES
          View All Fixtures
          Round 17
          Thu, 14 JulTimes shown AEST
          SYD vs HAW 19:20SCG
          Fri, 15 JulTimes shown AEST
          FRE vs GEE 20:10Domain Stadium
          Sat, 16 JulTimes shown AEST
          RIC vs ESS 13:40MCG
          NTH vs PTA 16:35ES
          WBU vs GCF 19:25CAZ
          ADE vs COL 19:40Adelaide Oval
          Sun, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
          CAR vs WCE 13:10MCG
          STK vs MEL 15:20ES
          BRI vs GWS 16:40G
          View All Fixtures
          Round 18
          Fri, 22 JulTimes shown AEST
          COL vs NTH 19:50ES
          Sat, 23 JulTimes shown AEST
          SYD vs CAR 13:45ANZ
          GCF vs FRE 14:10MS
          WCE vs MEL 16:35Domain Stadium
          WBU vs STK 19:25ES
          GEE vs ADE 19:25SS
          Sun, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
          ESS vs BRI 13:10ES
          HAW vs RIC 15:20MCG
          PTA vs GWS 16:40Adelaide Oval
          View All Fixtures
          Round 19
          Fri, 29 JulTimes shown AEST
          GEE vs WBU 19:50SS
          Sat, 30 JulTimes shown AEST
          GWS vs RIC 13:45SO
          HAW vs CAR 14:10AS
          COL vs WCE 16:35MCG
          BRI vs PTA 19:25G
          NTH vs STK 19:25ES
          Sun, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
          MEL vs GCF 13:10MCG
          FRE vs SYD 15:20Domain Stadium
          ADE vs ESS 16:40Adelaide Oval
          View All Fixtures
          Round 20
          Fri, 05 AugTimes shown AEST
          RIC vs COL 19:50MCG
          Sat, 06 AugTimes shown AEST
          SYD vs PTA 13:45SCG
          MEL vs HAW 14:10MCG
          GCF vs GWS 16:35MS
          WBU vs NTH 19:25ES
          ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
          Sun, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
          CAR vs STK 13:10MCG
          GEE vs ESS 15:20ES
          FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
          View All Fixtures
          Round 21
          Fri, 12 AugTimes shown AEST
          WBU vs COL 19:50ES
          Sat, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
          BRI vs CAR 13:45G
          HAW vs NTH 14:10MCG
          GWS vs WCE 16:35Spotless Stadium
          STK vs SYD 19:25ES
          PTA vs MEL 19:40Adelaide Oval
          Sun, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
          ESS vs GCF 13:10ES
          RIC vs GEE 15:20MCG
          FRE vs ADE 16:40Domain Stadium
          View All Fixtures
          Round 22
          Fri, 19 AugTimes shown AEST
          WCE vs HAW 20:10Domain Stadium
          Sat, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
          NTH vs SYD 13:45BA
          RIC vs STK 14:10MCG
          GWS vs FRE 16:35Spotless Stadium
          COL vs GCF 19:25ES
          PTA vs ADE 19:40Adelaide Oval
          Sun, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
          CAR vs MEL 13:10MCG
          BRI vs GEE 15:20G
          ESS vs WBU 16:40ES
          View All Fixtures
          Round 23
          Sat, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
          HAW vs COL 12:00MCG
          STK vs BRI 12:00ES
          ESS vs CAR 12:00MCG
          GCF vs PTA 12:00MS
          SYD vs RIC 12:00SCG
          NTH vs GWS 12:00ES
          GEE vs MEL 12:00SS
          ADE vs WCE 12:30Adelaide Oval
          FRE vs WBU 14:00Domain Stadium
          View All Fixtures
          AFL 2015
          Overall standings
          Team P W L D % Pts
          Adelaide Crows 0 0 0 0 - 0
          Brisbane Lions 0 0 0 0 - 0
          Carlton 0 0 0 0 - 0
          Collingwood 0 0 0 0 - 0
          Essendon 0 0 0 0 - 0
          Fremantle 0 0 0 0 - 0
          Geelong Cats 0 0 0 0 - 0
          Gold Coast Suns 0 0 0 0 - 0
          View all
           

          Follow Us on Facebook

          Featured advertisers