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James Hird return to Essendon Bombers, coach, dream team with Mark McVeigh and Dean Solomon, coaching contenders, Ben Rutten future, David Barham

The James Hird-Essendon meeting has been “legitimately arranged” by Herald Sun reporter John Ralph as the Bombers weigh up whether to keep coach Ben Root in the final year of his contract.

New Bombers president David Barram apologized on Friday for keeping Root in the dark over the club’s failure to pursue Alastair Clarkson, and said the board would make a call on the second-year coach’s fate on Sunday.

Barham refused to speculate on Hird’s return, despite reports that he has emerged as a “serious” contender to replace Root. Hird returned to the club ground in a part-time role at GWS following his departure from Essendon in 2015.

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Speaking on Fox Footy, Ralph revealed some senior officials at Essendon are backing Hird to bring former Bombers and current Giants coaches Mark McVeigh and Dean Solomon back to Hanger to lead the coaching panel.

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“All of Essendon’s options are, to be honest, very remote and they should be,” Ralph told Fox Footy.

“James Hird is the messiah – and he is legitimately coming back to Essendon, senior officials at the club keep that very strong. Kevin Sheedy is one of them.

“So Hird can lead the Essendon favorites’ dream team with Dean Solomon and Mark McVeigh back. Solomon has been offered the senior role anyway, but if McVeigh gets the GWS role, Hird and Solomon have promised to stay with him, so it’s three of them.

One theory tonight is that even if (CEO) Xavier Campbell doesn’t support Hird’s return — and who knows if he will — well, (board member) Kevin Sheedy might have the numbers and he might be able to get his. way”

Triple premiership Lion Jonathan Brown says he could see Hird return to coach the Bombers next year – “but it depends on the numbers on the board” – but St Kilda champion Nick Ryallt says Hird should follow in the footsteps of Michael Voss. And complete a longer stint as an assistant before starting again.

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“I think the fact that he’s out is more weighty – I know he’s got his toes back in helping ‘Spike’ McVeigh at GWS,” Riewoldt said on Fox Footy.

“But just look at the way Michael Voss has done. He had a good secondary training at Port Adelaide, came back and seemed to dominate that Carlton line-up.”

“I think if ‘Heardy’ has those coaching ambitions – obviously he’s a big guy at Essendon, his relationship with Sheedy and his influence there, I understand – but I think he’d be doing himself a disservice not to go through the same thing. The road to Michael Voss.

Brownlow medalist Gerard Healy has called on the Bombers not to rush the process if they begin a coaching search.

“Plan B I think they’re sitting down and starting to make some clear decisions – not as pressure.

“Call on the ‘track’ (Rutten), and it’s more likely to continue. Once this decision is made, you need to make a list and find the best trainer.

“Ross Lyon is there, there is a lot of talk about James Hird, there are young coaches there, we believe Adam Yze has already been plucked. Adam Kingsley comes in second again, are you going to Adam Kingsley?

“Find the best person, go through the process, don’t rush, because rushing will get you into trouble in the past.

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Healy believes former St Kilda and Fremantle coach Lyon would be well-suited to fix the Bombers’ defensive issues.

“They’re talking about defense, they want a defensive coach … Ross Lyon is a great defensive coach with a proven track record. He didn’t win the flag, but he came very close.

Former Hawthorns sharpshooter Ben Dixon has also called for the Bombers to take their time with a Plan B after Clarkson missed out as they prepare for an external review following the recent completion of an internal investigation.

“When you do an internal assessment, 80 percent of the time you know that the information you have is going to take you down the path you want to take or you need to make some decisions,” he said.

“It’s not a case of another club taking a coach that you want or that might be good for your club and it’s not a case of ‘we haven’t done what we need to do, let’s go’.” In a professional organization or any corporate organization, it just doesn’t work that way.”

It comes after reports emerged on Friday that Bombers players angry at Rutten’s poor treatment had moved on from Barham, who could coach his last game for the club against Richmond on Saturday night.

And Jonathan Brown admits he wouldn’t be surprised if one of their stars asked for a trade at the end of the season.

“Zach Merrett made it clear last year that he wanted to consider his options,” he said.

“He wanted to convince the Essendon Football Club that he was going in the right direction, and finally he re-signed. But that decision will be second-guessed now, that’s for sure.”

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