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James Hird leaves GWS giants, coaching return in doubt, missed out on Essendon Bombers gig

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James Hird is reportedly without a job in football after quietly leaving the Giants.

As first reported by Code Sports, Hird has left his position as a part-time assistant coach — and has not been working with the western Sydney club for some time.

Hird is now reportedly focusing on business interests outside of the AFL industry.

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The Essendon legend returned to coaching in 2022 — seven years after his sacking as Bombers coach following the fallout to the infamous supplements scandal — with the Giants.

Hird was then overlooked as a candidate to return to coach the Bombers after Ben Rutten was unceremoniously sacked last year.

Hird stated he was keen to land the job, before the club ultimately handed the position to former North Melbourne coach Brad Scott.

James Hird desperately wanted to return to Essendon. Photo by Mark Metcalfe/AFL Photos/via Getty Images.Source: Getty Images
James Hird is moving on from football. Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images.Source: Getty Images

The appointment caused tension between factions on the Bombers’ board of directors, namely Kevin Sheedy.

Code Sports reports Hird did not return to the Giants since missing out on the Essendon job in October.

Hird was promoted to a more senior position with the Giants following Leon Cameron’s axing midway through the season. He had originally been hired as a leadership coaching consultant.

Caretaker coach Mark McVeigh then turned to Hird and former Essendon teammate Dean Solomon to help him through the 2022 season.

McVeigh applied for the senior coaching position — but the Giants ultimately handed the job to former Richmond assistant coach Adam Kingsley.

Kingsley signed a three-year deal after pipping Adam Yze for the job and quickly moved to make changes to the team’s coaching staff.

Adam Kingsley during pre-season training. Photo: Phil Hillyard.Source: News Corp Australia

Former assistant coach and Geelong’s triple premiership great Steve Johnson was the first to go before McVeigh also jumped ship to join the Swans.

Hird, meanwhile, appears to be back at square one in his coaching comeback. The 49-year-old said last year he was still hungry to coach at the top level and had particular interest in the Essendon job as a form of “redemption”.

Hird’s former teammate and Essendon legend Matthew Lloyd last year said Hird may be better off away from a senior coaching position.

“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,” Lloyd told AFL Trade Radio in October.

“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.”

The Bombers and Giants will be among the most interesting stories of the 2023 AFL season after both clubs had disastrous campaigns in 2022.

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