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Hirds to front the Essendon board


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Essendon want Tania Hird as well as her husband James to front the club board as speculation rages about his future at the AFL club.

The Bombers have announced a specially-convened board meeting this Wednesday to discuss whether their suspended coach makes his planned return to the club.

James Hird is overseas on a study trip and will appear via a video link.

Essendon want a commitment from the Hird camp that there will be no more criticism of the AFL and its chief executive Andrew Demetriou over the club’s supplements scandal.

“They want this to go away – they want James and they want Tania and they want everyone associated with the Hird camp … to just accept the umpire’s decision and move forward,” Essendon great Tim Watson said on Seven’s Talking Footy.

Club chairman Paul Little has made his displeasure clear after Tania gave a television interview last week where she slammed the AFL over her husband’s 12-month suspension.

The interview was aired on Thursday night, a day before Essendon opened their season with a big win over North Melbourne.

Friday was particularly significant for the Bombers because Dustin Fletcher broke the club games record and moved to outright fourth on the all-time list.

The club issued a short statement on Monday to confirm the Wednesday meeting.

As it stands, Hird will return as Essendon coach later this year and has a contract that runs to the end of 2016.

It is understood the Bombers would face a massive payout if they decided to cut ties with Hird.

Watson agreed with fellow former Essendon star Matthew Lloyd that Hird will still return, but admitted to some doubt.

“All things are going to be canvassed,” Watson said.

Interim coach Mark Thompson said he was doing his best to ignore the controversy.

“I’m not flippant about it, (but) I can’t do anything,” Thompson told Fox Footy’s AFL 360.

“Right now … Hirdy is going to come back in and until something else happens, we’ll deal with it then.”

Thompson said the issue had not affected his players or Essendon’s football department.

“It’s nowhere near last year’s mess,” he said of the ongoing supplements saga.

“Last week wasn’t a hard week, as far as distractions from the game – not for the players, not for the footy staff.

“We’re hardened, we’ve had some tough weeks.”


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