Like it or not, it’s Hird’s time to present the Norm Smith

Mathew Langdon Roar Pro

By Mathew Langdon, Mathew Langdon is a Roar Pro

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    Former Essendon coach James Hird has accepted an invitation to present the Norm Smith Medal following this year’s AFL grand final. Unsurprisingly, the decision to have Hird represent the AFL on one of its biggest stages has been met with criticism.

    “(It’s) obviously significant, we appreciate him accepting the offer, and we look forward to welcoming him back into the fold,” McLachlan said.

    To say that the relationship between Hird and league head office had been frosty since the supplements saga was uncovered would be an understatement. Both sides spent much air time and dollars in legal fees at each other’s throats.

    But AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan confirmed the move on Thursday; a move which is in line with recent years.

    Since 2013, the AFL has had previous winners of the prestigious medal at the AFL Grand Final to award the newest member of their ranks.

    1995 Norm Smith Medallist Greg Williams awarded the medal to Brian Lake in 2013, 1996 winner Glenn Archer did the same for Luke Hodge in 2014, Andrew McLeod (1997-98) presented Cyril Rioli with his in 2015 and Shannon Grant (1999) awarded Western Bulldog Jason Johannisen.

    Hird is next in line, and for the good of the AFL, I’m glad he’s accepted.

    Speaking to the Herald Sun in June, Hird said: “If they (have asked me), I would love to do it.”

    “It would just be good to be out there on Grand Final day. It’s obviously the best day in the footy calendar, so it would be a nice experience.”

    But some are not happy with the decision to bring Hird back into the AFL spotlight, even going to some extreme examples.

    The real question comes down to whether or not you can separate Hird the footballer with Hird the coach.

    As a player, he is one of the greatest ever to grace the field. As a coach, he was part of a scandal that rocked the very foundations of the AFL.

    And without doubt he has paid a price for that. His almost unimpeachable reputation was destroyed and he suffered financial losses in trying to defend himself.

    I know for every person who will accept this decision and move on, there is more than likely a person who believes Hird should never be associated with the game of AFL ever again.

    There’s no way to sugarcoat it, the scandal ruined the careers of Essendon players, who were forced to watch from the sidelines for a year. For many that is reason enough for Hird to be banished.

    But a two-minute window where Hird will play second fiddle to the new star of an AFL Grand Final after the game has been played I believe is a good starting point for his penance to the AFL.

    Has he earned blanket forgiveness? Of course not. But it is a beginning and doesn’t break with recent tradition.

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    The Crowd Says (38)

    • Roar Rookie

      August 11th 2017 @ 9:27am
      Lamby said | August 11th 2017 @ 9:27am | ! Report

      So Lance Armstrong is handing next year’s Yellow Jersey to the winner as well?

      • August 11th 2017 @ 9:51am
        mdso said | August 11th 2017 @ 9:51am | ! Report

        While you are being self righteous, why don’t you ask or enquire how the drug scandal at the AFL’s love child, the Gold Coast Suns was covered up, by both ASADA and the AFL.

        Also, ask the AFL why, when this happened at The Suns, they did not inform Essendon and allowed both Robinson and Dank to work at the EFC. The AFL knew both men supplied banned substances to players at the Gold Coast Suns. These are valid questions the AFL have never answered. Had the AFL done their job properly at the Gold Coast Suns, Dank and Robinson would not have been authorised to work at Essendon by the AFL and the supplement scandal WOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED. Essendon are the symptom of a much greater problem within the AFL.

        Do your homework and find out the facts.

        • August 11th 2017 @ 10:26am
          DanMan said | August 11th 2017 @ 10:26am | ! Report

          Flawed argument. Pointing at GCS and saying “but they did it too!” does not absolve EFC for their actions.

          As far as GCS are concerned, irrespective of any shady issues that possibly happened in the past, nothing from the club could be termed a success in any way and therefore any “benefits” they might have seen from those suggested practices should clearly be added to a long list of failures that club has produced. Does it mean they are innocent? We don’t know; arguably the facts aren’t there to prosecute and the effect a guilty verdict would have on history would be negligible compared to the EFC saga anyway.

        • August 11th 2017 @ 11:57am
          northerner said | August 11th 2017 @ 11:57am | ! Report

          my homework says that, if Essendon had done their due diligence they would probably never have hired this pair, or, if they had, it would have been under a strict set of guidelines, vetted by the club doctor, outlining an appropriate supplements scheme, with adequate monitoring processes to ensure that Dank didn’t stray beyond the guidelines. That was their responsibility, and they blew it big time. What happened at Essendon is 100% on Essendon.

          • August 11th 2017 @ 12:17pm
            Casper said | August 11th 2017 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

            What would the due diligence on Dank and Robinson have uncovered?

            • Roar Guru

              August 11th 2017 @ 12:59pm
              Cat said | August 11th 2017 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

              That they were really bad at record keeping? They were really good at shredding? That they didn’t know WTF they were doing? Who knows.

              • August 11th 2017 @ 1:32pm
                Casper said | August 11th 2017 @ 1:32pm | ! Report

                If that’s the case then why didn’t the AFL warn them. Both of those guys were also at Geelong. Interesting.

              • Roar Guru

                August 11th 2017 @ 1:43pm
                Cat said | August 11th 2017 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

                Yep they were, and they were moved along. Geelong was investigated, the records were looked over and there was nothing to see.

              • August 11th 2017 @ 2:01pm
                Casper said | August 11th 2017 @ 2:01pm | ! Report

                Hang on, you just said that they were really bad at record keeping, really good at shredding and didn’t know WTF they were doing. Therefore, how reliable are those books?

                I do remember the investgation though. Went for all of 5 minutes.

              • Roar Guru

                August 11th 2017 @ 2:13pm
                Cat said | August 11th 2017 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

                Do you know what a question mark signifies? I asked questions. I did not make statements.
                When you can provide accurate records and details an investigation need not take long. Its only when a club allegedly has no records (for a program the club continues to insist did no wrong, how was it going to be replicated in following seasons with ZERO records of what they did, how how they did it and at what doses?)

              • August 11th 2017 @ 2:34pm
                Casper said | August 11th 2017 @ 2:34pm | ! Report

                Well it was Dank’s program, so he has the records. You obviously think both of them are dodgy, which must be concerning for all Geelong supporters.

              • Roar Guru

                August 11th 2017 @ 2:43pm
                Cat said | August 11th 2017 @ 2:43pm | ! Report

                Not concerned at all. No evidence at all he was allowed to run around and do whatever he wanted to unsupervised, like he was at EFC.

                Dank was an employee of the EFC, as such any materials produced while an employee are considered work product. Work product would be owned by the EFC. If Dank has records why didn’t the EFC sue Dank for their property to be returned? Is it because they don’t want it back? Afraid what it will say/show? They know it no longer exists?

              • August 11th 2017 @ 4:37pm
                northerner said | August 11th 2017 @ 4:37pm | ! Report

                From what I’ve heard, Dank was bad at record keeping but Geelong wasn’t. They kept him on a leash. Essendon let him loose to do whatever he wanted. They are now paying the price for not keeping their pets under control.

              • Roar Guru

                August 11th 2017 @ 5:05pm
                Rick Disnick said | August 11th 2017 @ 5:05pm | ! Report

                The Stephen Danks of the world would never eventuate if sports scientists were required to maintain a professional registration (such as APRHA for doctors, physios, dietitians etc) should they wish to work in a clinical capacity.

                I’d be struck-off potentially (at the very minimum given a very stern warning) if I didn’t document one patient medical record correctly, let alone 34.

      • Roar Guru

        August 11th 2017 @ 11:38am
        Paul D said | August 11th 2017 @ 11:38am | ! Report

        Christ I am so sick of hearing that trite Lance Armstrong line.

        Not even in the same league, and I’m no fan of Hird

    • August 11th 2017 @ 10:13am
      spruce moose said | August 11th 2017 @ 10:13am | ! Report

      Yup…James Hird the footballer and James Hird the coach should always be treated as two different entities.

      James Hird handing out the Norm Smith? Of course it’s ok.
      James Hird handing out the Jock Mchale? No!

      • August 11th 2017 @ 12:12pm
        Birdman said | August 11th 2017 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

        I understand your premise sm, but most people won’t/don’t appreciate the difference between Hird the player and Hird the coach.

        In my view, the saga is still too recent and raw for the majority of the footy public to think this is a reasonable proposition and while I’m not of the booing persuasion, lots of people are.

        Regrettably, the real ‘victim’ may be the 2017 NS medalist.

        • August 11th 2017 @ 6:58pm
          northerner said | August 11th 2017 @ 6:58pm | ! Report

          I’m a bit concerned about this, actually. I don’t have a lot of time for Hird the coach, but Hird the man has paid a high price for his sins, and if he’s hoping the medal presentation will offer some degree of redemption, I’m not sure he’s going to get it. I wouldn’t like to see this result in another downward spiral in his mental health. Personally, I think his friends and advisors should have counselled him against taking part but he’s made another decision. I hope it was the right one for him.

    • August 11th 2017 @ 11:16am
      Birdman said | August 11th 2017 @ 11:16am | ! Report

      Cue the booing on grand final day – appalling decision by the AFL who should have deferred Hird’s turn to present the medal for at least another 3 to 4 years IMHO.

      • Roar Guru

        August 11th 2017 @ 11:47am
        gameofmarks said | August 11th 2017 @ 11:47am | ! Report

        Agree. Hopefully this will result in calls for McLachlan’s resignation. What a dill.

      • August 11th 2017 @ 2:57pm
        Danny said | August 11th 2017 @ 2:57pm | ! Report

        I think there is a strong point being made here.

        Apart from the merits of Hird presenting the medal after the supplements saga, the likely booing will put a stain on GF day right at the pointy end of the celebrations…I hope i am wrong.

        I’m personally against Hird presenting the medal but I wouldn’t dream of booing him. But the football public has shown a tendency to do so… just ask Adam Goodes.

      • August 12th 2017 @ 10:41am
        gus said | August 12th 2017 @ 10:41am | ! Report

        Birdman, couldn’t have said it better.

    • August 11th 2017 @ 12:19pm
      Steve B said | August 11th 2017 @ 12:19pm | ! Report

      There are clearly a number of people who would have to b involved in such happenings at a club and while of course james hird as coach would of surely known about the specifics of the supplements program, it was unfair for the AFL not to show a lot more support for James. At the end of the day he made a mistake along with others involved and while wrong what took place even if it is all true the AFL could have handled it with a bit more dignity and respect instead of trying to make it into some type of war against James Hird as if he is some type of scumbag. Seriously though it’s all these bloody reporters and media heads trying to get the juicy story the best way, and the lowest way they know, the old act of a true two faced actual scumbag, trying to smear someone’s character because of their own pathetic agenda, trying to sell newspapers.

    • August 11th 2017 @ 12:49pm
      GazzaW said | August 11th 2017 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

      You just have to wonder at the mentality of the AFL trying to force the public to accept this. The best the AFL can hope for is the crowd to ignore Hird and cheer the Norm smith medalist while risking in front of a worldwide audience the crowd booing the presenter of the Norm smith medal. Just dumb boys club mentality.

    • August 11th 2017 @ 1:03pm
      Bobbo7 said | August 11th 2017 @ 1:03pm | ! Report

      What a joke. Oversee one of the biggest drug scandal’s in all sporting history and then a couple of years later, she’ll be right mate.

      Why do this? Could well be a massive boo on the day which would be a shame for the winner.

      • August 11th 2017 @ 1:39pm
        Casper said | August 11th 2017 @ 1:39pm | ! Report

        If people boo and spoil it for the winner, then the blame lies with them. If your team has just won the flag, but you would rather boo someone than celebrate, then you would have to be a bit of a loser.

        • August 11th 2017 @ 1:58pm
          Mattyb said | August 11th 2017 @ 1:58pm | ! Report

          One of the biggest drug scandals in all sporting history lol.
          Get a grip,it’s AFL,most people around the world wouldn’t even know our game exists let alone this happened. I follow sport and I can assure you scandals like these are pretty common. It’s actually a bit of an issue at the Olympics,an actual world wide event.
          And ask the same question of the booers,why boo?Hird’s done his time,this things all over now and people need to move on.

          • August 11th 2017 @ 3:43pm
            Bobbo7 said | August 11th 2017 @ 3:43pm | ! Report

            mattyb, the experts said this was one of the biggest drugging issues there has ever been. Usually it is a single athlete – this was an entire club. Really such a pity the dog ate the records or we might actually know what the players were doped with.

            • August 11th 2017 @ 3:50pm
              Casper said | August 11th 2017 @ 3:50pm | ! Report

              If we don’t know what supplements the players took, then why were they found guilty of taking illegal PEDs? They players have said they took AOD and Thymomodulum.

        • August 11th 2017 @ 2:59pm
          Danny said | August 11th 2017 @ 2:59pm | ! Report

          these days most of the crowd at the GF belong to neither of the competing clubs. Unfortunately the booing potential is massive

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