Essendon coach James Hird will be back on deck to coach his team through a possible finals performance next year.
While the club has been kicked out of this year’s AFL finals series and fined $2 million for its administration of supplements to players in 2011-12, Hird has been suspended from the league for a year.
The ban was backdated to August 25, meaning Hird will return in time to coach the Bombers through next year’s finals series if they make it.
Having received no ban and a $30,000 fine, assistant coach Mark Thompson is likely to be the Bombers’ caretaker coach next year.
Essendon chairman Paul Little has said that not only would Hird return as senior coach next year, the club was also prepared to offer him a two-year extension on his contract to take him through to the end of 2016.
“James is very keen to continue his coaching at Essendon and the Essendon Football Club is very keen to have him,” he told the Herald Sun.
Hird’s assistant Danny Corcoran was banned for six months, with two suspended, leaving Simon Goodwin to coach Saturday’s game against Richmond.
It’s the biggest punishment the AFL has meted out to a club in its history and follows months of investigations that started with the Australian Crime Commission’s release of its report into what it said was widespread use of doping in Australian sport.
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