Former Essendon skipper Brendon Goddard has urged the embattled club to ensure it makes the right appointments for several key vacancies or risk getting “set back another 20 years.”
The Bombers are on the search for a new coach, CEO and a number of board vacancies after an extreme shake-up following a seven-win season as the club prepares to undertake an external review.
Essendon kicked off its coaching hunt last week to find Ben Rutten’s successor by forming a six-person sub committee to decide the appointment including club footy boss Josh Mahoney, Hawks legend Jordan Lewis and Australian Football Hall of Hamer Robert Walls.
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Goddard, who played 129 games for the Bombers and captained the club in 2016, stressed how significant the current period is for the Tullamarine-based team in its bid to bounce back from its 2022 woes and end its 18-year drought without a finals win.
“It’s a line in the sand for Essendon, which is probably much needed, and if they don’t get it right after this I think it’ll set them back another 20 years,” he told Channel 9’s Sports Sunday.
Among the names linked to the coaching role is former Essendon boss James Hird, who returned to club land at GWS this year following his departure from the Bombers in 2015 during the infamous supplements saga.
Essendon has suggested its happy for Hird to apply for the role, although fellow club great Matthew Lloyd believes he’s still undecided on whether he wants to throw his hat in the ring.
Goddard was supportive of his ex-coach putting his hand up and suggested many more Essendon people would back the move.
“He has to sort out whether he wants to, one, get back to coaching, and two, whether it at Essendon and put his hand up for that job,” the dual All-Australian said of Hird.
“Going backwards (to Hird), it’s a good story and redemption story that Hird comes back,” he said.
“I‘m of the firm belief and always said that he’s got the potential to be a great coach, (but) obviously what happened ruined his coaching career.
“I think a lot of Essendon people would happily have James Hird back at the footy club.”