'It's fantastic': AFL world erupts over massive James Hird news

·3-min read
James Hird, pictured here after joining the GWS Giants as a part-time leadership consultant.
James Hird has joined the GWS Giants as a part-time leadership consultant. (AAP Image/Supplied by GWS Giants)

James Hird will have an official role to an AFL club for the first time since 2015 after joining GWS as a part-time leadership consultant.

The Brownlow Medallist and two-time Bombers premiership player resigned as Essendon coach near the end of the 2015 season after he was a key figure in the club's supplements debacle.

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He was suspended from the AFL for 12 months and while he returned to coaching the Bombers, the club legend eventually resigned.

Hird then suffered from serious mental health struggles, but spoke to GWS players last year players about his AFL career.

On Tuesday it was revealed that he now will have a formal role at the club for the 2022 season.

He credits his former Essendon teammate Mark McVeigh, now a Giants assistant coach, and GWS veteran Matt de Boer for his involvement with the club.

"I had got to know (Matt) quite well through some work away from the club and he invited me to come down and have lunch with the players while the team were in Melbourne last year," Hird said in a club statement.

"Mark McVeigh then asked if I would come and speak to the group about playing football in Melbourne, my experiences in the AFL, and impart some of my life journey.

"For younger players it's good to hear, but also for senior players."

James Hird, pictured here during an Essendon training session in 2015.
James Hird looks on during an Essendon training session in 2015. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

AFL world divided over James Hird appointment

Hird also said he had a lot of respect for GWS coach Leon Cameron, a former opponent during their playing days, and he is looking forward to working with him.

"It's a part-time role and very much around the leadership group, but also around the emerging leaders and sharing my experiences in football and trying to get them to lead and encourage and work hard on that side of things," he said.

Giants football manager Jason McCartney said Hird had a lot to offer the club.

"It's fantastic to have someone of James' calibre join our program and work with our leadership group and emerging leaders' group," McCartney said.

"We welcome James' insights from both his storied football career and his work in the business world."

Footy fans flocked to social media to celebrate the news, however there was also some criticism.

with AAP

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