CAN’T BELIEVE WHAT HE’S SEEING: Bombers coach James Hird rubs his eyes during the heavy defeat to the Saints.
CAN’T BELIEVE WHAT HE’S SEEING: Bombers coach James Hird rubs his eyes during the heavy defeat to the Saints. Quinn Rooneygetty IMAGRES

Bombers boss under fire after shocker performance

IF JAMES Hird wasn't feeling the heat already, the blowtorch will be placed on him this week following Essendon's worst performance under his reign.

Though he survived the fallout from the club's controversial supplements program of 2012, Hird's days as coach could be numbered if his side continues to serve up efforts like the one against St Kilda at Etihad Stadium.

Humiliated by last year's wooden-spooners, the 110-point defeat was the biggest in 79 games with Hird at the helm, and saw the side drop to 14th spot on the ladder with a 4-9 win-loss record.

In winning 25.12 (162) to 8.4 (52), the Saints recorded both their biggest score and winning margin against Essendon.

The Saints hit the ground running and were never headed, taking a 28-point lead into quarter-time, before extending the deficit to 52 points at the 20-minute mark of the second term.

The Bombers kicked the last three goals of the first half, but their comeback was short-lived. It was all St Kilda after the main break, adding seven goals to two in the third term and eight to one in the fourth.

The Saints' 26 marks inside their forward-50m was the most by any team this season - Josh Bruce (five goals) and Nick Riewoldt (four) dominant - while they had almost as many tackles in their attacking area.

They also racked up 444 disposals to 300, David Armitage (37), Leigh Montagna (31), Dylan Roberton (31) and Jack Steven (29) leading the way.

For the Bombers, Dyson Heppell (31 touches) battled against the tide, while regular defender Cale Hooker booted three goals.



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