Hird plan to return as coach if suspended

MELBOURNE – Essendon coach James Hird wants to return to the job if he is suspended by the AFL and believes the fallout from the supplements saga will help the Bombers grow as a club.
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Essendon president Paul Little said on Saturday night the club also wanted Hird to return as its coach if he served a ban.

The Bombers, who will front an AFL Commission hearing today, are close to brokering a penalty deal with the league.

It’s expected to mean Essendon being stripped of their finals spot and draft picks and fined heavily and a suspension for Hird, although Little would not confirm any of those details.

Hird, who launched Supreme Court action against the AFL on Thursday and remains determined to clear his name, has been given the option to fight on alone if he chooses while the club accepts a sanction.

But Hird, who also said he could accept a ban under certain conditions, was determined to return to the Bombers helm.

“First of all I want to prove I’m innocent of a lot or 99 per cent of those charges,” he said in a long post-match press conference on Saturday night.

“I look at those charges and they make me sick that they’re out there and that people would believe that is the truth about me.

“I’m determined to clear that up.

“Then we’ll go from there about suspension or not suspension.

“But the priority not just for me but for the club and myself is to clear a lot of those charges up.

“Then of course I want to come back and coach if I do get suspended.

“I started a job almost three years ago now and we’ve developed the team into a competitive team … if I do end up not coaching for a period over the time because of suspension I can’t wait to come back.”

Hird didn’t know if he would attend today’s hearing.

But the coach, who batted away an attempt by a Bombers media adviser to bring Saturday night’s press conference to an end, saying he would prefer to answer questions, said he looked forward to a chance to explain his side of the story.

“I would hope over the coming weeks and days we’re able to get a lot of those facts out there so that people will have a better understanding, not a full understanding but a better understanding of what happened,” Hird said.

“We’ll be able to obviously show some remorse, show some sorrow and explain our part of the story, which won’t all be good.

“There’ll be some parts of the story which we, I, everyone will be apologetic for.

“But there’ll be some sides of the story which I think people will be surprised at.”

Essendon coach James Hird wants to return to the job if he is suspended by the AFL and believes the fallout from the supplements saga will help the Bombers grow as a club. Picture: Getty Images.

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