Essendon coach James Hird says he sympathises with the woman who called a radio station claiming to be the mother of a Bombers player and attacked Hird’s handling of the supplements saga.


The woman told Melbourne’s Triple M Radio on Thursday that her 20-year-old son was stressed out and considering quitting.

She accused Hird of thinking only about himself.

“It was very concerning,” Hird told reporters on Friday.

“I think the welfare of our players is something that we all hold in high regard and are very concerned about, so it was very concerning to hear it.

“We are still trying to (make) contact and find out who that person is.”

Essendon assistant coach Simon Goodwin fronted the club’s pre-game media conference on Friday after Hird was a late withdrawal, only about 10 minutes before the conference was due to begin at 11.30am.

Hird said later that he was determined to continue as senior coach despite his legal battle with the AFL over the club’s supplements scandal.

Hird on Thursday lodged a writ with the Victorian Supreme Court.

Essendon, Hird and three other club officials have been charged with bringing the league into disrepute.

Hird wants AFL chief Andrew Demetriou barred from sitting in any judgment of the AFL charges, saying he has a conflict of interest.

Hird also wants the charges heard by an independent body, not the AFL Commission.

The coach of the seventh-placed Bombers is under intense pressure to step aside.

Asked if he would be staying on, Hird said: “Ah, yes.”

Essendon great Tim Watson, father of Bombers’ skipper Jobe Watson, told SEN Radio this week that Hird should consider standing aside if he did not feel he could properly fulfil his duties as coach.

Hird said he skipped the media conference because he was busy with other things related to preparing for Saturday night’s round-22 clash at the MCG with Carlton.

Goodwin said it was important for others around the club to share the load in trying times.

“There’s a lot going on in and around the footy club,” Goodwin said.

“As far as I know, he’s definitely going to be senior coach (on Saturday night), yeah.”

Essendon’s 17 rival clubs on Thursday backed the league’s stance that charges relating to Essendon’s use of supplements should be heard by the AFL Commission and not by an outside tribunal.

Hird expresses concern for player’s mum