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Little 'undermined' Hird

Essendon's Paul Little has been accused of "shoring up his position" in the AFL's "boys club".

Essendon's Paul Little has been accused of "shoring up his position" in the AFL's "boys club". Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

A central figure in James Hird's fight against the AFL has lashed out at Essendon chairman Paul Little over comments he made about the suspended coach in an interview with Fairfax Media.

Ian Hanke, a former Liberal Party PR adviser who played a key back-room role for Hird throughout the Essendon supplements scandal, has savaged Little for ''undermining'' Hird in an effort to ''appease'' the AFL and chief executive Andrew Demetriou.

Little said Hird would return to the club a ''better person'' than the one suspended for 12 months last year by the AFL, but conceded that he faced a difficult task convincing Hird to move on from the fall-out of the supplements saga.

Little likened Hird the coach to Hird the passionate footballer whose first instinct was to ''whack right back'' after being belted on the playing arena, but admitted that tactic could not be tolerated as the club moved to reform its culture.

Hanke used Twitter over the weekend to take aim at Little for his comments, and predicted that Bombers supporters would be just as outraged as he was at Little's ''appalling'' behaviour.

''Just read Age interview with Paul Little. Got to seriously wonder what he was thinking. No excuses for such appaklng [sic] behaviour from him,'' he tweeted.

''Little really thinks that trying to appease the AFL by undermining his own is a good idea? Really?

''I imagine EFC members will be flaying Little and rightfully so. What planet does he live on… Planet Demetriou. Good grief.''

Describing his relationship with Demetriou as a work in progress,

Little also expressed regret that he had not been able to negotiate directly with Demetriou as the investigation into Essendon's 2012 supplement program unfolded.

Hanke also took exception to those comments, accusing the Essendon chairman of ''shoring up his position'' in the AFL's ''boys club''.

Hanke claimed the AFL had played ''jury, judge and executioner'' in punishing Hird and others at Essendon, pointing out that ASADA's investigation into the club's program had yet to reach a point where infraction notices would be issued to players.

''Little should be railing about the appalling AFL processes so that such a travesty never happens again and reform is instituted. The more I think about this, the worse it is.''

Hanke's criticism of Little is somewhat surprising given the president's unwavering support of Hird in the aftermath of the supplements scandal.

Essendon could not be contacted for comment on Sunday.

86 comments

  • Hurry up and deliver the infraction notices to the players. Don't forget to take Watson's Brownlow. This whole saga stinks by all parties involved.

    Commenter
    Jeremy
    Location
    West Footscray
    Date and time
    February 10, 2014, 10:20AM
    • Don't be so bitter Jeremy and try to acquaint yourself with some facts before making such infantile statement.

      Commenter
      Elijah Baley
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      February 10, 2014, 11:29AM
    • Too right ! ........... hurry up and throw the book at the Essendon cheats and quit the protectionism of golden boy's character and humongus ego. Golden boy wanted to do "Whatever it takes" and did so. Essendon hierarchy bowed down to the golden ego tactic. But no man is bigger than the team or a club unless of course that man has an ego the size of golden boy's, the forever Essendon cheat. And yes take that undeserved Brownlow off Mr Watson.

      Commenter
      hawks1974
      Location
      albury
      Date and time
      February 10, 2014, 11:51AM
    • Infraction notices? For what exactly?
      Not one single Essendon player has returned a positive test.

      Commenter
      Barney
      Location
      The Real World
      Date and time
      February 10, 2014, 12:01PM
    • Neither did Marion Jones.

      Commenter
      Craig
      Date and time
      February 10, 2014, 12:22PM
    • Neither did Lance Armstrong

      Commenter
      Thats a Fact
      Date and time
      February 10, 2014, 12:51PM
    • You have to laugh how far the Essendon supporters have buried their heads in the sand. And you know what's exposed when your heads buried so deep.

      Commenter
      Stan
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      February 10, 2014, 1:22PM
    • No infraction notices have been delivered in twelve months and we are "delusional" for thinking they will never come. Seems like "delusional" is a perfect word to describe the "HIRD IS THE EPITOME OF EVIL" crew. Since facts and perspective don't matter. James Hird is a man of integrity, as is Jobe Watson. Deal with it

      Commenter
      Jimbo
      Date and time
      February 10, 2014, 2:14PM
    • Fair go Jeremy. I support Carlton and While I hate Essendon believe the players did nothing wrong. Watson is a star player and quality person who if he has taken a banned substance did so unknowingly. Essendon have been punished enough. In my view they should of played Finals last year (unless proven the injections helped get them in the eight). However they should have been fined more

      Commenter
      BlueGirl
      Date and time
      February 10, 2014, 4:52PM
    • Jimbo, you guys got basically a free pass simply because you are Essendon and a huge part of the AFL golden circle of clubs. James Hird is Bambi, and the AFL created this smokescreen trying to fool all the chooks out their, like they had come down hard on Hird like a tonne of bricks. Which is a joke to those of us with half a brain.

      The injection programme was obscene, and that's putting it lightly. The fact they (Essendon) cannot 100% identify what was injected (all common public knowledge), should have instantly gave them and the players instant 2 year bans. Just for starters. The AFL would have seen this as a total destruction of their brand, and they chose the soft option to save them. And explain how a "negotiation" was settled ?? How was Essendon ever given the priveledged option to barter with the AFL ?? .... Oh that's right, because its Essendon.

      I can only imagine if this identical programme was tested by Carlton, Adelaide, Collingwood, West Coast, Hawthorn, Brisbane or any other club, how the Bombers blinkered supporters would handle it. You would be ropable and you know it.

      Bunch of Shameful weak Hypocrites the lot of you. And the AFL themselves should be charged by the Governing bodies for allowing the option of negotiating. I hope it still happens. I sense it aint over just yet, as you (and the AFL) would all wish.

      Commenter
      Devan
      Date and time
      February 10, 2014, 4:55PM

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