Hird saga not a problem for the focused Bombers

ESSENDON captain Jobe Watson says his team has not been distracted by recent speculation about suspended coach James Hird's future.

The Bombers take on premiers Hawthorn at Etihad Stadium tonight, and Watson (pictured) said the leadership group had discussed the events surrounding Hird, who was retained as coach for the 2015 and 2016 seasons on Wednesday.

"The consensus we came to was that we have done an enormous amount of work to get ready for the 2014 season, we are really excited about what we can do in 2014 and that is our sole focus," Watson said.

The skipper had 38 disposals and two goals in Essendon's round one win against North Melbourne, while Dyson Heppell had 37 touches and Paul Chapman 22 to go with his four goals.

Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson said his team must shut down the Bomber midfield tonight to come away with the four points.