James Hird back for Dons’ 150th anniversary

James Hird returns to Essendon in an official capacity for the first time since leaving as coach and will take part in the celebration of the AFL club’s 150th anniversary this week.

The Bombers celebrate the occasion on Friday night when they take on longtime rivals Carlton in the MCG.

Hird stepped down as Essendon’s trainer in 2015, having previously resigned for 12 months amid the fallout from the infamous supplement scandal.

The 49-year-old worked at GWS this season, initially in a part-time managerial position.

He took on an extensive coaching role in support of interim coach Mark McVeigh following Leon Cameron’s departure last month.

The move has led to suggestions Hird could eventually take on another senior coaching role.

There has also been speculation that Hird could return to Essendon full-time, with Bombers chief executive Xavier Campbell saying the two-time premiership player is “always welcome” at the club.

Former Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy said Hird will be given a warm welcome by the club’s fans as he takes part in the pre-game festivities leading up to the Carlton clash.

“It will be absolutely fantastic for our fans to see Hird back at the club,” Sheedy told the Herald Sun.

“He has been an incredible player for our club and unfortunately has coached the team through the supplement saga era.”

With just one win in a disappointing 2022 season, Essendon will have to cause a huge blow if they are to topple high-flying Carlton.