Not #39 - Heath Hocking


That’s awesome news. So happy we get to see him play on


Just out of interest, how much does a VFL player like Hocking earn?


Awesome stuff, I hope they make him captain. Tough, hard, courageous and will be in the thick of it and can lead our young boys when they serve their time in the VFL. Couldn’t think of a better result than to have Heath continue to lead the boys in the VFL, he might not be quite AFL quality now but he’s definitely a quality VFL player.


Me too!!


Probably $1500 a game would be around the mark


Got pushed out of his number by a 75kg kid!


Wouldn’t “former” be more polite?


Could finish with 100 reserves games to go with his 126 senior ones.


Wouldn’t be as accurate. Unlike most “former”s he still has a number… we just don’t know what it is.

It is a tad curious that it seems everyone knew he was staying before the numbers were officially handed out… and they still shunted him sideways.

I say he gets #1… or #93.


Ex-Bomber to guide top father-son prospects
Dinny Navaratnam

FORMER Essendon midfielder Heath Hocking will boost his involvement at The Hangar after taking on the role as coach of the James Hird Academy.

The academy focuses on developing prospective father-son recruits and Next Generation Academy players.

“The James Hird Academy was set up nine years ago now and it’s about trying to accelerate some of the good talent in our area and father-son guys to hopefully play AFL football,” Hocking said.

"We have a good group of players in the system who all have ambitions to play at the elite level.

“It is about having them at the footy club once a week. I will share some of my football knowledge with them including how to prepare and the skills of the game so they can improve and hopefully get the opportunity to perform at a higher level.”

Hocking will help some famous names, including Mason Fletcher (son of Dustin), Tom Hird (son of James) and Jaxon Neagle (son of Merv).

“It was a chance to start my career as a coach and see if that was something that could flourish. I am doing a level-two coaching course, so this will complement that,” Hocking said.

“My passion at the moment is to get some young guys through and teach them what AFL is about and hopefully build their skills and get them drafted.”

Hocking was delisted at the end of last season after 126 games after being recruited in the 2005 rookie draft at No.20.

He sought to be picked up by another club but when nothing materialised, Hocking opted to stay on with the VFL side after winning its best and fairest in 2017.


Pretty much confirms the quiet exit of Diesel, after only 9 months:

Williams appointed JHA Coach -
Apr 20, 2017 - Essendon Football Club has appointed AFL champion Greg Williams as Coach of the James Hird Academy.

I guess coaches leaving the club are not news anyone wants to make a big announcement about.


wasn’t diesel part time anyway?


Great news. Very passionate EFC man so happy to have him guiding the up and coming kidlets


It was very odd that Greg Williams was coach of the JHA anyway.

Buddha is the perfect person to have this role.


On ya Buddha, will be sensational at that role


great news :slight_smile:


Im sure Zach Merrett and Parish learned heaps from 9 months of Diesel. (if he has left)


Yes, and unpaid.


Great news, great bloke- hope he really enjoys it and makes a success of coaching.


After 11 seasons playing at the highest level, Heath Hocking has been named the 2018 captain of Essendon’s VFL side as part of an extended leadership group.

30-year old Hocking made his AFL debut in 2007 and played 126 games for Essendon, winning the 2014 Best Team Player Award. His contract was not renewed at the end of the 2017 season but the man affectionately known as ‘Buddha’ says he was still determined to play at the highest level possible.

“I think the most important thing as captain is to be yourself because that’s what you’ve been voted in for… to drive the standards that I set for myself for the other players.”

Hocking will be supported by an extended leadership group with Aaron Heppell named as vice-captain and Nick Hind and Danny Younan appointed deputy vice-captains after impressive 2017 seasons at VFL level. James Ferry and Sam Hooper complete the six-man leadership group.

“They’ve all been there a few years now and they’re definitely driving the culture of what we want to achieve as VFL players,” says Hocking.

“Obviously ‘Hepps’ is a really good leader and that’s the first thing I noticed when I came in was how vocal he was.”

Arm in arm with their teammates, the leadership group ramped up their pre-season training with a two-day camp in Anglesea.

Away from the club and pushed out of their comfort zone, the VFL men’s Bombers took the opportunity to not only hit the sand for taxing fitness activities but to align the AFL values to the VFL program with their sights now firmly fixed on their Round 1 clash with Frankston on April 7.

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