Hird planning Bombers AFL list overhaul

A deflated James Hird is preparing for an exodus from Essendon at the end of the season after yet another gut-wrenching loss.

But whether that cull includes himself remains to be seen.

A review of the club’s football department will wrap up at the close of season, which cannot come quickly enough for the poorly performing Bombers.

On Saturday the club suffered a 112-point loss to Adelaide, its seventh-worst loss in 117 years of league football.

It’s the second hundred-point belting this season after last month’s 110-point defeat by St Kilda, leaving Hird with plenty to think about ahead of the off-season.

“We’ll review our list pretty hard,” Hird said.

“Some players are playing for the careers and today probably didn’t help many of the guys who played.

“Players won’t be on the list next year that played in that game.

“We’ll probably have a turnover of between six to eight, maybe a bit harsher depending on what we think we can get in the draft and what happens in the trade.

“But we’ll probably have a harder list cut than we have had before.”

It’s understood more than a dozen Essendon players are out of contract at the end of the season.

Jake Carlisle is the highest-profile on the list with Brent Stanton, Paul Chapman, Courtenay Dempsey and Jake Melksham joining him.

An emotional Dyson Heppell told radio station 3AW after the match he believed the team was currently carrying passengers.

“It seems there are guys that do lack that consistent effort over four quarters, when the going gets tough,” he said.

“There are guys here fighting for their career … we’ve got a lot of young boys in the team.

“The basics of giving consistent effort for four quarters, that is what’s lacking.”

The 23-year-old skipper said the club’s lack of resilience was “absolutely shattering”.

“Its very disappointing that we lose our way when a side gets a bit of a run on … it’s a sombre and flat feeling (in the rooms),” he said.

“You put in so much work and to end up with results like this, it certainly does smash you, it absolutely smashes you.”

While each major defeat makes it less likely Hird will coach on to the final year of his contract in 2016, Hird said he hadn’t lost faith in his own coaching ability.

“I look to the point when we had fit players,” he said.

“The way we played and the way we coached, was winning a lot of games of football.”

“This year we’ve been really hurt by injuries, in terms of significant players at our club.

“But there’s no doubt in between seasons I have to go away … and analyse what I do well and what I don’t do well and try to get better.”

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