Welcome to the James Hird Academy homepage – the online hub for all things JHA!
Established by the Essendon Football Club in 2010, the James Hird Academy is a junior development program that aims to identify, attract and nurture young players from non-traditional AFL regions, international zones and potential father/son draft avenues. The Academy plays a vital role in tracking and aiding each member’s development through to drafting age, with the ultimate goal of securing a place on the Essendon senior list.
One of the JHA’s founding principles is to continue to uphold and bolster the strong father/son tradition that has played such an important part throughout the history of the Essendon Football Club. The current crop of Academy members includes famous names like Hird, Lloyd, Daniher, Neagle and many more.
The James Hird Academy is comprised of three key development groups with tailored programs designed for specific age groups. The fleet of Baby Bombers is comprised of members aged 9 or younger, while the Next Generation group focusses on members aged 10 to 15 who are starting to get serious about their football commitments, and the Acceleration Group is made up of members aged 16 or older who are on the cusp of embarking upon a potential AFL career.