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GWS Giants, Essendon, James Hird, coaching, Leon Cameron, Kane Cornes


Hype around James Hird making an AFL head coaching comeback has gained rapid momentum since his arrival at GWS – but an AFL great has slapped the talk down.

Hird took up his first official AFL position since his time as Essendon‘s head coach when GWS signed him up as a part-time leadership advisor in January.

The former Essendon captain hadn’t had an official AFL role since his tumultuous five-year tenure as the Bombers’ head coach, which culminated in his axing midway through the 2015 season on the back of the club’s infamous supplements saga.

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AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan is among those in favour of Hird getting a shot at redemption.

“James is a legend of the game,” McLachlan said on radio station 3AW.

“I’ve been really clear to welcome him back and it’s great to see him back involved at a club up in New South Wales.”

But Port Adelaide Hall of Famer Kane Cornes scoffed at chatter of Hird returning to AFL head coaching when the question was raised on Nine’s Footy Classified on Monday night.

“Why would they go for James Hird over Leon Cameron?” Cornes said.

“James Hird’s coaching record when he was at Essendon is nowhere near Leon Cameron’s, and he hasn’t done the work that say a Michael Voss has done.

“Vossy loses his first opportunity, goes away, goes to a different club, develops himself, coaches midfield, does leadership, works on connection, then gets a second opportunity.

Brett Ratten‘s the same.

“Look at all the assistant coaches that have toiled away for 20 years – an Adam Kingsley type – to get that position.”

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Essendon had 41 wins, 42 losses and a draw in Hird’s time in the top job.

The Bombers were eighth in 2011, placed 11th in 2012, originally finished in seventh in 2013 but were relegated to ninth due to the drugs program, and finished in seventh in 2014.

Cameron has led the Giants to 93 wins, 77 losses and four draws, and he’s steered his men to seven wins from 13 finals matches.

GWS reached the 2019 grand final but was destroyed by Richmond in an 89-point demolition.

Cameron’s time at the Giants could end in a mess, which may pave the way for a Hird return.

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“How could he be qualified?” Cornes said of Hird.

“He’s not qualified.”

Footy Classified host Sam McClure argued that Hird was qualified on the basis that he’d already had an AFL head coaching gig.

But then came an ice-cold Cornes rebuttal.

“A lot of people have done it before. David Teague has done it before.”

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