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Essendon drugs scandal, James Hird, set-up by Eddie McGuire, radio segment, dad Allan, player’s mum called in, Sarah, guinea pigs

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The father of James Hird has accused Eddie McGuire of inadvertently being at the centre of a fake radio segment at the height of the Essendon drugs scandal.

A woman claiming to be the mother of one of the Essendon players embroiled in the doping storm famously accused the Bombers and Hird of treating players like “guinea pigs” while speaking to McGuire in a 2013 radio segment.

As revealed in News Corp’s special investigation into the Essendon drugs scandal, Hird’s father Allan has suggested the interview was “a fake to undermine James Hird and Essendon”.

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Melbourne woman ‘Sarah’ — whose true identity was not revealed — spoke to McGuire on his Triple M Breakfast Show at the time and became emotional as she described the scandal as “an absolute debacle”.

“It’s alright for James and the board of Essendon to say they have not cheated,” she said. “The whole question is not about cheating. The whole question is about morals, it’s about ethics and it’s about the trust that the parents put on the club for the club to take care of their child, their kids.”

Eddie McGuire spoke to the woman extensively before she was allowed on air.Source: News Regional Media

She went on to suggest the club had told parents to keep quiet.

“It frustrates me and angers me that as a parent we’ve basically been muzzled,” she said.

“We’ve been told not to speak to people and Eddie, really, the stress at home, the stress with my son is intolerable. He is actually contemplating walking away from the sport.”

The Age also reported at the time that an unnamed player manager had come forward to suggest Essendon players and their families were being pressured to remain silent.

“The players’ parents are still too scared to stand up and say: ‘This is unacceptable’. They fear for their sons,” the manager reportedly said.

“What if he goes to work and feels isolated by the group because of what his parents said? What if no one talks to him? They’ve all been told to say nothing.”

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Allan Hird has now spoken out to suggest the Triple M interview was an attempt to set-up his son.

He told The Herald Sun: “It is almost certain she was a plant”.

McGuire has since admitted he also does not know the woman’s true identity despite having spoken to her extensively before she was allowed on air.

The woman’s comments came just hours before Hird announced Supreme Court action against the AFL as the messy saga took another turn.

Allan Hird now says McGuire “betrayed” his son.

“James thought of (former Essendon chairman) David Evans and Eddie McGuire as friends – you know, friends like people you can trust. People who will have your back. Hird was sadly mistaken,” he said.

Further details of Hird’s broken relationships have emerged this week with Hird reported to have considered challenging for the presidency of the club in the days before he was ultimately convinced by future chairman David Barham to apply for the position of head coach last year.

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The suggestion that Hird has cut off all connection to the football club comes just days after further details were revealed about the broken relationships the Brownlow medallist has with other figures at the club, including former chairman David Evans and former teammate Tim Watson.

The latest revelations further show the club has never been able to piece itself back together following the infamous drugs scandal which ultimately resulted in 34 players being suspended for violating doping rules.

Hird was also ultimately suspended for 12 months as part of the league-imposed sanctions which saw the Bombers excluded from the 2013 finals series.

Hird returned, but quit the role towards the end of the 2015 season.

Now he may be lost to the club for good.

— You can read the full details of News Corp’s special investigation into the Bombers drugs saga here

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