AFL

Former Essendon coach James Hird to keep ACT Sport Hall of Fame spot ... for now

Former ACT Sport president Jim Roberts has backed James Hird to keep his place in Canberra's Hall of Fame despite the dramatic fallout of Essendon's supplements program.

The primary school Australian football competition that bears Hird's name is also set to maintain its standing as the AFL world comes to grips with the Court of Arbitration for Sport's decision to ban 34 past and present Essendon players.

Former Essendon coach James Hird with his 2012 playing squad.
Former Essendon coach James Hird with his 2012 playing squad. Photo: Paul Rovere

Hird was Essendon coach when supplements were being given to players in breach of the WADA doping code. He described the CAS ruling as a "miscarriage of justice".

But Roberts said Hird was inducted to the ACT Sport Hall of Fame for his achievements as a player in a 253-game career with the Bombers that delivered a Brownlow Medal and two premierships.

James Hird shed a tear at a press conference in August as he announced he was stepping down as coach of Essondon.
James Hird shed a tear at a press conference in August as he announced he was stepping down as coach of Essondon.  Photo: Jason South

"He was inducted as an athlete and full member – you can't take that away from him," Roberts said.

"His career was phenomenal and before all of this happened. As an athlete he was a fine Canberran and you can't take away the fact he's one of the modern era's greatest players."

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ACT Sport disbanded last year, with the ACT government taking charge of the Hall of Fame.

Canberra cyclist Stephen Hodge requested to be removed from the ACT Sport Hall of Fame in 2012 after confessing to taking performance-enhancing drugs during his career.

"Today's [CAS] decision does not suggest any new or additional findings in relation to James Hird and therefore the government is not currently considering any implications for his status in the ACT Sports Hall of Fame, [having been inducted for his past achievements on the playing field]," said ACT Sport and Recreation MInister Shane Rattenbury.

Hird played for Ainslie before moving into the AFL and established himself as one of the competition's best players.

But his coaching career has been plagued by drama, including a 12-month ban for his role in the supplements program.

The Essendon players have been hit the hardest, slapped with a ban from the 2016 season.

AFL NSW-ACT manager Steve Mahar said the James Hird Cup would not be renamed at this stage. 

However, he said there had been initial discussions about realigning it with the GWS Giants Cup, which covers high school competitions in Canberra and NSW.