2005 Premiership Players Club

The 2005 Premiership Players club induction was held on 1 September 2005. Each player has an individual souvenir sheet. The numbers next to the players name is the no of individual sheets printed. Information is from Craig Chappell, Brisbane Stamp Dealer.

HIRD, Allan T.

Years Played: 1940-45
Born: 11/08/1918
Died: 16/05/2007
Height: 188 cm
Weight: 80 kg
Debut order: 552

Games: 102
Goals: 2

Allan Hird was a fine half-back, half-forward and ruckman who was known as “Racehorse” because of his great speed. He came from Hawthorn where he played 14 games in 1938 and 1939 and prior to that he’d played at Williamstown in 1936 and 1937.

He was on the half-back flank in the 1942 premiership team. He also won Essendon outstanding player award in 1945 as well as the best utility player award in 1942 and 1944 and the most efficient player award in 1943.

From debut in 1940 to leaving Essendon in 1945, Hird played 102 out of a possible 103 games.

After leaving Essendon, he went on to be captain-coach of St Kilda in 1946 and 1947, playing 38 games for the Saints. He then returned to Essendon in 1948 as captain-coach of the Seconds until the end of 1954.

Under his leadership, the Seconds played in five successive Grand Finals from 1949 to 1953 and won the premiership in 1950 and 1952.

After this, Hird became a Seconds official until he became a Club committeeman in 1956 and he was treasurer from 1958 to 1960. After a break, he rejoined the committee in 1965 and he became president of Essendon from 1969 to 1975. Then, in 1976, he became chairman of the League Players Appeals Board.

Hird became a life member of the Victorian Football League in 1976.

His son, Allan, later also played with Essendon as did his grandson, James.

HIRD, James

Years Played: 1992-2007
Born: 4/02/1973
Height: 188 cm
Weight: 90 kg
Debut order: 968

Games: 253
Goals: 343

James Hird was ranked the third best Essendon player of all time by a club committee in 2002.

He was a sublimely skilled match-winner, a fine leader, and was at one time the League’s most valuable player. Playing mainly off centre half-forward his vision and reading of the game set him apart. Hird was able to play defence or forward, and his ability to lift team-mates and win games is widely acknowledged. His career however was dogged with injuries.

Hird was drafted at pick 79 in the 1990 National Draft and made his senior debut in 1992. He was part of the young Essendon side that won the 1993 premiership in only his 20th senior game.

In 1994 he won the first of his five Best and Fairest medals. He also won the award in 1995, the only season of his career in which he played every game, and again in 1996, 2003 (equal) and 2007. In 1996 Hird won football’s highest individual honour, the Brownlow medal, sharing the award with Brisbane player Michael Voss.

In 1997 a foot injury caused him to hobble from the ground in Round 4 and he was restricted to only seven games for the season. It was an injury that was to threaten his career.

Hird was appointed captain in 1998 but problems with his hamstring restricted him to only 13 games. His run with injuries continued into 1999 when stress fractures of his right foot saw him play only two games for the season and he was replaced as captain by Michael Long. Yet despite these frustrations his leadership was unquestioned.

After a long recovery he returned in 2000 in the third game of the Ansett Cup, and what a season he had.
He led the team to their Ansett Cup Grand Final win over the Kangaroos then led the club to its best season in league history. The team won 23 out of 24 games that season, won its 16th premiership, and Hird himself was voted best player in the Grand Final. He also gained All-Australian selection as captain, and was runner-up to Dustin Fletcher in the Crichton Medal that year.

He had another fine season in 2001, was again named captain of the All-Australian side and led the season into a second successive Grand Final, only to go down to Brisbane. His horror run with injuries continued when he suffered serious facial fractures in Round 6 2002. But he returned after only eight weeks and justifiably win the Most Courageous Player award that year. He won his fourth Crichton Medal in 2003 (with co-winner Scott Lucas), and was selected in the All-Australian Team.

He played 20 games in 2004, missing games to an eye injury (one week) and then rib injury (three weeks). He once again showed his consistency as a top rated player in 2005, by again being Essendon’s highest Brownlow medal vote getter.

Hird relinquished the EFC captaincy to Matthew Lloyd in 2006, and hamstring and calf injuries restricted the champion to only 13 games. The season was dismal for the Club, finishing 15th with only three wins and one draw. Hird considered retirement, but vowed to play one more season, with his goal being another finals series. The club fell just short.

Hird retired at the end of 2007 along with fellow Essendon great, coach Kevin Sheedy.

His father, Allan junior, played four games for Essendon, and his grandfather, Allan senior, was an Essendon player and committeeman for many years.

From Essendon Football Club: Past player’s Profile.