James Hird reportedly leaves GWS Giants after missing out on Essendon job

The AFL great has made his latest move after missing out on the head coaching job at the Bombers last year.

James Hird, pictured here in his role at the GWS Giants.
James Hird has reportedly left his role at the GWS Giants. Image: Getty

James Hird has reportedly left his role as an assistant coach at GWS Giants and appears to be moving away from the AFL world completely. Code Sports reported on Thursday that Hird has parted ways with the Giants, with the club confirming the news.

Hird, who previously played and coach at Essendon, is reportedly moving into the business sector and does not have a job footy lined up. Hird was appointed a full-time assistant coach at the Giants in 2022 after previously working with the club in an advisory role.

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But he reportedly hadn't return to the club since missing out on the vacant head coach job at Essendon last September. Hird's job at GWS marked the end of a seven-year exodus from the AFL after his tumultuous time in charge of the Bombers came to an end in 2015 following the infamous supplements scandal.

In September he was overlooked for the vacant coaching job at his old club in favour of Brad Scott. Hird's close ally and club legend Kevin Sheedy later blasted the Bombers for suggesting the decision was “fully endorsed” by the board, revealing he actually voted for Hird but was overruled 6-1.

“I am extremely disappointed that the comment from my club was that it was fully endorsed, when in fact I voted for James Hird to be the coach of Essendon,’’ Sheedy told the Herald Sun. “The vote was 6-1. Now, I would’ve expected that to have been written, and that in the end the board actually won that vote. But I want to make sure all the fans know that I voted for James Hird and I’m extremely disappointed with the report that went out from the Essendon media department.

“I’m not happy. Don’t tell the Essendon fan base an untruth. This is what happens when you bring new people into the club. I actually felt insulted that Hird would think I voted against him after what he’s done for our club.’’

James Hird, pictured here during a GWS game in 2022.
James Hird looks on during a GWS game in 2022. (Photo by Jason McCawley/AFL Photos/via Getty Images )

AFL world reacts to news about James Hird

The Bombers' decision to interview Hird for the job had raised eyebrows given he was coach during the infamous supplements scandal that rocked the AFL. Then-Essendon president David Barham said: “Hirdy went through the process and I was glad he did.

“He went through exactly the same process as everyone else. It was a completely independent process. Everybody had the same opportunity, that was really important.

“Hirdy will always be a champion of this football club. I can‘t speak for him on whether he wants to get involved, that’ll be something for him. He’ll always be loved by this football club.”

James Hird, pictured here in the Triple M commentary box an AFL game in 2019.
James Hird in the Triple M commentary box an AFL game in 2019. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos)

Last year Hird’s former teammate Matthew Lloyd said the club great might be better off not in a senior coaching role. Lloyd told AFL Trade Radio: “He’s obviously got the passion to coach. We saw him go through the process. How good would it be for him to go into another system for 12-24 months and get that coaching experience back.

“To me, he’s doing so well in business, but this is what his passion is – it’s to coach. Once his playing days ended he wanted to be coach so it would be great to see him back. He missed out this time, but hopefully he can improve himself under somebody else.”

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