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Hird honoured to present medal

Travis King  September 28, 2017 2:53 PM

James Hird was presented with the Norm Smith Medal after Essendon's 60 point win in the 2000 Grand Final.

James Hird was presented with the Norm Smith Medal after Essendon's 60 point win in the 2000 Grand Final.

James Hird isn't worrying about the Grand Final crowd's reaction when he presents the Norm Smith Medal on Saturday.

There has been speculation the former Essendon champion might be booed due to the Bombers' 2012 supplements regime.  

But AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan hopes supporters embrace the 44-year-old's return to the public stage, and Hird believes Adelaide and Richmond fans will be too busy celebrating or lamenting the result to focus on his brief appearance.

"I think it's the least of anyone's worries if I get booed or not," Hird said.

"I think their focus will be on the Grand Final and the Norm Smith winner, which it should be.

"Grand Final day is a huge day on the calendar and a very special day for all footballers, so to present the Norm Smith Medal is a fantastic honour, and I'm looking forward to it."

Hird won the medal in 2000 when he was Bombers captain.

It is his turn to present the award this year, and he had no hesitation accepting the invitation.

"Not really, no. As soon as I was asked I was pretty keen to do it," Hird said.

"Football is something I have done all my life, and having played in a couple of Grand Finals and won a Norm Smith it is a great honour to be able to do it."

A former golden boy of the competition, Hird coached the Bombers from 2011-15.

The dual premiership player has had no official involvement with the AFL since he fell on his sword as Essendon coach in August 2015.

Presenting the Norm Smith Medal could represent his first step back into the fold, but Hird was tight-lipped about any move back into football.

However, he was quick to throw cautious support behind Richmond to overcome Adelaide in this year's Grand Final.

"I am tipping Richmond, (but) not with much confidence. I think Adelaide is a fantastic team and has probably been the best team all year," Hird said.

"But I just think momentum for Richmond and their pressure on a day that might be a bit wet and cold could get them over the line."