Sport AFL Bomber squeezed out, Demons try one on
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Bomber squeezed out, Demons try one on

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Has The Hangar all of a sudden become too small for Bomber and the Golden Boy?

Listening to Mark Thompson speak on Fox Footy on Monday night, you’d be forgiven for thinking he already has one foot out the door.

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Essendon has always maintained James Hird will return to coach in 2015. Photo: Getty

“I’m not sure where it all fits,” Thompson said.

“The agreement was it was easy for me to come in and take it (James Hird’s position) because I could leave at the end of the year and it wouldn’t adjust or affect the other positions at the club.

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“Neil Craig’s in his role (head of coaching development and strategy). Goody (Simon Goodwin) is in his role (senior assistant coach) and Hirdy just slips into mine.

“I was going to slip out.”

Thompson has had a rollercoaster at the helm – at their best the Bombers look a top-four side, at their worst they look like bush-league amateurs with a trophy-night hangover.

Thompson, who looked burnt out when he farewelled Geelong four years ago, looks like this year has taken a toll on him.

Hird has almost a decade on him, and AFL coaching is increasingly a young man’s game.

Thompson has had a rollercoaster at the helm – at their best the Bombers look a top-four side, at their worst they look like bush-league amateurs with a trophy-night hangover.

Their first-half effort against the Eagles on Saturday featured some of the more calamitous football seen this season.

They were able to steady, however, and run over the top of the Eagles, but it’s difficult to see them progressing beyond week one of the finals should they be involved.

The Thompson/Hird saga presents the Bombers with an interesting conundrum.

Thompson appears the best man for the job, but doesn’t want it, while there is still some nagging suspicion as to whether Hird – after the 18 months he’s had – has the mental energy or the desire to return to the hot seat.


Speaking of conundrums: Melbourne.

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Paul Roos described the Dee’s loss to GWS as “a huge step back”. Photo: Getty

The Demons hit rock bottom on Sunday when they were tuned up by Greater Western Sydney.

The Dees looked like they had one foot on the flight to Vegas, smashed by a side that were going down like nine pins.

What they do need – heart, desire and spirit – doesn’t come in drafts. History, surely, has shown them that.

They then got on the front foot and, hat in hand, approached the AFL a day later and asked for a priority draft pick, drawing fire from the footy world for the timing of the request.

Do Melbourne, who of course tanked-but-didn’t-really-tank in 2009 to gain the selections of Tom Scully and Jack Trengove, deserve a priority pick? No, but they need one.

I like the philosophy of Dwayne Russell, expressed on 3AW on Monday night: what about giving the sides who “try their guts out” all year a priority pick?

Richmond were gone for all money seven weeks ago, but they’ve come home like a locomotive. Should they finish outside the finals after their gallant charge home, shouldn’t they get a better deal than a side that downed tools weeks ago?

For mine, Melbourne don’t deserve a priority pick – they’ve had enough.

What they do need – heart, desire and spirit – doesn’t come in drafts. History, surely, has shown them that.

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