Hird trying to keep lid on his own hype
James Hird THE hype surrounding the start of James Hird’s coaching career at Essendon is going into overdrive.
After the Bombers opened the AFL season with a 55-point belting of the Western Bulldogs yesterday, rival coach Rodney Eade cheekily predicted Essendon could make the top four this season.
‘‘ Full credit to Essendon, they’re going to be a very good side – there’s no doubt they’ll make the eight and they’re certainly a contender for the top four,’’ Eade said after the 16.17 ( 113) to 8.10 ( 56) drubbing.
‘‘ They’ve been very impressive in the pre-season and they played that level again today . . . they have some talent.’’
While Eade was undoubtedly playing mind games, Essendon’s marketing department was making the most of the occasion even before the final siren.
The club had handed out ‘‘ Congratulations Hirdy!’’ posters to fans pre-match and they were encouraged to hold these up during three-quarter time.
It was somewhat premature for a club that finished 14th last year and Hird was acutely aware the hard work had only started.
‘ ‘ We’re very conscious t h a t E s s e n d o n h a v e n ’ t handled good wins that well, ever since my day,’’ Hird said.
‘‘ We’d have a couple of wins and the club would get really excited and then you’d have a couple of big losses.
‘‘ It’s one win, our first win for the year.’’
Hird said he did not see the three-quarter time signs and defended the marketing gimmick.
‘‘ We need a lot of money to run a good football club, to compete with the Collingwoods, West Coasts and Adelaides of the world,’’ he said.
‘‘ So if the marketing department and the corporate side of Essendon need to do