Hird admits: it’s nerve-wracking waiting for D-Day

Essendon coach James Hird admits the next fortnight will be nerve-wracking for many of his players as they await the AFL tribunal’s verdict on their anti-doping charges.

The decision regarding 34 current and past Bombers will be handed down on March 31, just four days out from the club’s season-opener against Sydney at the Olympic stadium.

Sheedy makes his long-awaited return
Saints shoot down Bombers’ top-ups in Morwell 

Giants secure Cameron in big deal

While Hird said he was looking forward to the day and hopefully “the right result”, he conceded it would be a distraction.

“There’s no way they’ll keep it off their minds,” he said after Friday night’s 45-point pre-season loss to Greater Western Sydney.

“The players have been resilient – they’ve been fantastic. They’ve worked their backsides off – they’ve tried to give everything they have over the last two years.

“But I think we all know it’s been in the shadows for a long time.

“The fact that we’re a bit over two weeks from getting a result, I don’t think you can keep it out of your mind.

“It’s their careers that they’re looking at and they’re very conscious the decision is coming down soon.

“We won’t be shying away from that. The players won’t be shying away from that.

“We’ll work our hardest to get ready for round one, but there’s no doubt the players will be very nervous coming up to the 31st of March.”

The AFL has allowed the Bombers to use top-up players during the pre-season cup, with 25 Essendon players from 2012 who are still at the club opting to sit out until the verdicts are known.

Hird said the club anticipated the players would escape conviction and would prepare accordingly.

“We’ll have our best team available, come our first game back in Sydney early April,” he added.

Only the verdicts will be known on March 31, with the tribunal to sit again to decide on penalties for any guilty findings.

Bombers come up short against GWS

On the field, an under-strength Bombers lineup was well beaten by GWS, going down by 45 points at Sydney Showgrounds.

The Giants led at every change to run out winners by 0.14.13 (97) to 0.8.4 (52).

A four-goal third term was the highlight for the Bombers, and Joe Daniher and Kyle Langford kicked two goals each.

Veteran recruits Adam Cooney and James Gwilt both had 20 disposals in a losing Essendon side.

For GWS, the home side had nine individual goalkickers led by Cam McCarthy with three majors.

Giants forward Jeremy Cameron was taken out of the game in the second half, after sustaining a concussion in an attempted tackle.


Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter.
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.