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James Hird: Australian Football

James Albert Hird (born 4 February 1973) is a former professional Australian Rules football player for Essendon and later coach at the same club. During his youth, he participated in rugby league and soccer. Hird played for the Ainslie Football Club in the ACTAFL. When he was 16, he became a member of the league’s senior representative team in a match against the Victorian Football Association. He was then recruited to the AFL by Essendon from the 1990 AFL Draft, seventh pick and one of the last in the draft. He played for the club from 1992 to 2007 as a midfielder and half-forward but was given free rein to play wherever he thought necessary.

Greatest Sporting Achievements

James Hird received the 1996 Brownlow Medal, 2000 Norm Smith Medal, 2000 Jim Stynes medal and became a member of the AFL Hall of Fame. He was a two-time Essendon leading goal-kicker in 1995 and 1996 and the captain from 1998 to 2005. He was a five-time Essendon Best and Fairest, five-time All-Australian, three-time AFL Pre-season Premiership, three-time AFL Anzac Medal and two-time AFL premierships. In 2007, Hird received the Football Achievement Award and Personal Development Award.

Why Was He So Good?

James Hird played as a center half forward and he enjoyed his free rein in the field – he was the most vigorous and hard-working players of Essendon that time, racking up possessions apparently at will and constant  using the ball with meticulous competence. He scored a total of 343 goals and played a total of 253 games and many believe that if it wasn’t for his injuries, it could’ve been higher.

What You May Not Know

He picked number 79 when he was drafted in 1990 and then first played in 1992.

Was he a legend?

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