AFL Coaches Association chief Danny Frawley has called for calm in the face of calls for Essendon coach James Hird to resign.
It’s claimed Hird was injected with a WADA-banned substance provided by Bombers sports scientist Stephen Dank.
It has also been reported Essendon’s players were injected with a drug which doping regulators now say should have been banned.
Yesterday, Hird said he was looking forward to clearing his name and, during a football clinic at Kangaroo Flat’s Dower Park, Frawley told the Bendigo Advertiser the Bombers champion should be given the chance.
“It’s quite strange. Look, ASADA and the AFL are going through the process and everyone’s jumping at shadows,” Frawley, the AFLCA chief executive officer, said yesterday.
“As far as I’m concerned ,everyone’s innocent until proven guilty, unless we can come up with some evidence.
“A lot of people are casting aspersions on innuendo and I think you can get in some pretty dangerous territory there because, obviously, it’s a pretty serious issue.
“So I think we’ve just got to take a deep breath and let the process look after itself.”
Frawley said he had been in regular contact with Hird throughout the investigations, which began in February.
“Yeah, a fair bit. Look he’s obviously standing up really well under pressure, but as I said he wants his name cleared like everyone else and I think we need to give him that opportunity,” he said.
Frawley, the longest-serving St. Kilda captain and former Richmond coach, held a clinic for Kangaroo Flat Football Club’s juniors at Dower Park.
The Roos won a competition run by the AFLCA and Local Legends Beef Jerky to nominate a ‘local legend’ to win the clinic.
Flat’s under-18s coach Ben Dyett nominated his wife, Shelley, for her commitment to the club through tough times.
“I love my footy and I get to go to training, games and functions and she doesn’t get to come to that - she hates footy with a passion,” Dyett said.
“She originally won the Wilkie Medal, which is the Anti-Football League’s equivalent to the Brownlow Medal, way back in 1983 or something like that.
“She has to take our kids to soccer, and that’s all over the place.
“She never gets to come to footy matches – not that she wants to anyway.
“But she’s also had three brain tumours now and I think when I nominated, her mum had suffered a stroke.
“Her mum died six months ago and her dad died within three months of that.
“So she puts up with a hell of a lot and she lets me come and do my footy stuff.”
Although Shelley wasn’t at the clinic herself, Dyett said his wife was pleased about the clinic.
“She’s always happy with anything to do with kids or anything to do with kids in sport,” he said.
As well as the training session, the Roos received sporting equipment and a football signed by all 18 AFL coaches and captains.
Kangaroo Flat will be on home turf against Maryborough in tomorrow’s second round of the Bendigo Football Netball League season.
The Ben Dyett-coached under-18s at Kangaroo Flat are now likely to play Eaglehawk tomorrow because Castlemaine is not fielding an under-18s team.