The reason Essendon are looking so good this year
For all the early season dominance of the Magpies and Cats, and the ineptitude of the Suns, Lions and Power, there’s an even bigger AFL story this year. It’s the resurgence of James Hird’s Bombers, who currently sit fifth on the AFL ladder
Hird, of course, is the former Brownlow medallist and premiership skipper who replaced the inept Matthew Knights as Bombers coach for season 2011. Hird has undoubted football nous, but that’s only half the reason his team is playing so well.
There is a force at work this season which is more influential than Hird’s brilliant football brain. It’s a force which propelled Hird to greatness in his playing career and which continues to serves him well today…
There’s a clue in the pic above. See the chiselled features? The tousled hair? The take-me-home eyes?
James Hird is a really, really, really, really good looking person. My god, but he’s a specimen. Now look at the picture below. If this isn’t the absolute essence of raffishness then we give up.
In 2002, Hird’s face was smashed. Somehow, this only made him better looking. There’s an old joke that Chuck Norris doesn’t get wet in the shower, the water gets Chuck Norrised! Well, Hird’s face didn’t get kneed. The other guy’s knee got James Hirded.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that Hird’s handsomeness has nothing to do with Essendon’s form. Don’t suppose it is a mere accessory to the fact that Essendon are now using the whole field intelligently, rather than mindlessly funneling the ball directly downfield through the so-called “corridor”, as they did so often under Matthew Knights.
That tight, delicate cluster of red and black petals which finished 14th in the AFL last year needed a radiant presence to coax it forth into bloom. It found it in James Hird’s easy, confident smile.
There are certain people upon whom the almighty, in his or her infinite wisdom, bestowed staggering amounts of goodlookingness and talent at the expense of brains. David Beckham could tell you all about this, if he were capable of stringing together enough words to make a sentence.
The band TISM once cast novelist James Joyce and James Hird as polar opposites in their anthem to yobbodom, Whatareya. But they got Hird wrong. Not only could Hird have written Ulysses, he looks like a Greek hero.
James Hird has the incredibly rare trifecta of brains, brawn and boneability.
And it’s not just us balding, middle-aged, heterosexual, suburban fathers who want to take him home and smother him in peanut butter and honey. The whole football community sees Hird as we do!
One reporter recently compared him to Jesus. Then there was a piece on a sports website yesterday, where the writer said: “The Bombers are also clearly adopting refined approaches into their own scoring zones.”
Adopting refined approaches? Say what? As tempting as it is to lampoon the writer for this gobbledygook, we should give the poor hapless fellow some leeway. Clearly, he has fallen under the spell of James Hird. It happens to everyone eventually. Just type those two magical, lyrical words “James” and “Hird” into facebook and see how many fan sites pop up.
Last year’s premiership coach Mick Malthouse doesn’t have any fan pages, and it’s not because he can’t coach a football team. Nor does Hird’s able assistant at Essendon, ex Geelong dual premiership winner Mark Thompson.
Why not? Because unlike Hird, you couldn’t cast either of them in that beer ad set in a perfect land where everyone wears white loin cloths.
To use a Bruce McAvaneyism, Hird would look undeniably “delicious” in a loin cloth. Heck, if you can pull off a career looking fantastic in black with a red diagonal stripe, you can pull off any look. But the real proof of Hird’s man-for-all-seasons hunkdom is his versatility.
Most football players look like they’re in a straight jacket when they put on formal gear. Hird is as natural as James Bond. Come to mention it, when his coaching career’s done he’d make a thoroughly decent Bond…. and you could cast Nick Riewoldt as the evil Nordic villain whose powers mysteriously desert him in the crucial showdown.
Hird’s Bombers take on the West Coast Eagles this weekend. The Eagles are no hope, as they lack the handsomeness-at-the-ball, and the run in their fine, spindly muscular legs which the Bombers have shown all season.
Then again, if they make a quick job offer to their own former Brownlow and premiership winner Ben Cousins, they might just be looking as good as the Bombers for the rest of 2011
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