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A Hird and Long back

BTV: VFLW | Ash Brown Interview - Dec 5 We spoke to VFL Operations Manager Ashley Brown about our VFLW side's inaugural training session.

The father-son rule has been kind to Essendon with iconic names such as Watson and Daniher re-emerging in recent times to dominate the AFL.

After such success it was only a matter of time before the father-daughter structure made its own mark, and on Tuesday afternoon a Long and a Hird once again hit the track in red and black. 

When the inaugural Essendon Football Club VFLW squad walked into the club, Michaela Long and Stephanie Hird were the talk of the town.

Michaela’s father Michael and Stephanie’s father James were both dual-Premiership players for the Bombers and are considered legends of the club.

Essendon VFLW coach Brendan Major grew up as an Essendon supporter, and said it was a “huge” moment for the club.

“The father-son structure in the men’s football is really exciting and it’s a way of keeping those big names that have added a lot to clubs within the club,” Major said.

“So to be able to have those two in the women’s program is huge for the Essendon Football Club.”

The team is so much a part of the Long family’s fabric that Michaela rejected AFLW offers in favour of waiting for Essendon to enter the league where she could join her brother Jake at the club.

Essendon Football Club CEO Xavier Campbell couldn’t help but mention the two famous daughters when welcoming all players to the club.

“Our history is significant and the contribution that Michael and James made to our football club is something that is really significant and I’m really proud that they’re down here today,” Campbell said.

“Today presents an opportunity for both of you to carve your own name and, like everyone, you all have equal opportunity in front of you.”

VFL Operations Manager Ashley Brown said it was terrific for women to have new and equal pathways into football. 

“It’s great for the club and also great for women’s football as well that some of the champions of our football club, their daughters can now have the same opportunities that their sons do,” Brown said.

“To have Steph Hird and Michaela Long be involved in our inaugural women’s team, it’s just great to have those names back inside the four doors of the football club.”

Contribute to the VFLW program and get an AFL Flexi 3 Game membership? YESS!