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The Captains: James Hird

BTV: The Captains; James Hird Kevin Sheedy reflects on the career of James Hird.

In the build up to the announcement of Essendon’s 2017 Leadership team, is taking a look back at some of the Captains who have led the Club.

James Hird was appointed Captain ahead of the 1998 season.

By that stage the 25 year old’s footballing CV was already extensive. He had a premiership medal, Brownlow medal and three best and fairests in his keeping.

He’d also been named in the All-Australian side on two occasions.

Injury reduced Hird’s impact in his first two seasons as Captain. Throughout that time he played just 15 games.

But in 2000, Hird, and the side, didn’t miss a beat.

He led the Club to its 16th premiership and won the Norm Smith Medal in the ten-goal Grand Final win.

“James Hird is the best player I coached,” former Coach Kevin Sheedy said.

“He was a different leader and probably, in the end, hard on himself… he’s always been hard on himself.

“He took everything seriously as a Captain… Terry [Daniher] was totally different.

“He was a magnificent player who captained the team and captained the Club very well.

“He was stubborn at times but that’s a strength … and shy – a lot of people don’t realise that some guys are shy and they’re different.”

Throughout his eight seasons as Captain, Hird led the Bombers onto the field 118 times. During that period, the Bombers made the finals in all but one season.

He retired at the end of 2007 after 253 games with the Club.

In his final match he collected 34 possessions and in his final season he won his fifth best and fairest award.