James Hird. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
AFL Canberra has backed former Ainslie junior James Hird's legacy in the nation's capital, regardless of the outcome of the supplements saga embroiling both Hird and Essendon.
Hird is one of Canberra's most successful football exports, playing in two premierships and winning a Brownlow Medal and Norm Smith Medal in his 253-game career with Essendon.
But the current Bombers coach has come under fire for the supplements program implemented during the 2012 season when controversial sports scientist Stephen Dank was at the club.
He was due before the AFL Commission on Monday to face charges of bringing the game into disrepute but was granted an extension to prepare his defence. AFL Canberra manager ACT/south coast Steven Mahar said there were no plans to change the name of the James Hird Cup - a Canberra-based primary school competition - preferring to wait until the saga was resolved.
''I think he's a great Canberra icon and will be always remembered as a fantastic player and a fairly good coach early in his career,'' Mahar said. ''It's very early for us to be saying it's going to change the way we think about him as a Canberra person.
''He's been great for [Canberra football]. We've been lacking a bit of talent here in the ACT to get drafted in the last couple of years and he's been an icon for kids, to show the pathway [to the AFL] through Canberra is possible. I don't see that changing.''
Hird, who played in Ainslie's 1990 premiership side when he was 17 , was inducted into the ACT Sport Hall of Fame last year.
Canberra cyclist Stephen Hodge requested to be removed from the Hall of Fame after his confession last year he took performance-enhancing drugs during his career.
Officials granted his request but ACT Sport chief executive Mark Cartwright said at this stage there were no plans to omit Hird.
''James has been a wonderful contributor and great story for the local sporting community and the AFL community and is an icon for footy across Australia,'' he said.
''With the investigation still ongoing and no firm finding, all we have at this point is speculation. The view of ACT Sport is James' legacy has been fantastic for Canberra and the Ainslie footy club.''