Cian McBride and Tom Hird have re-signed to the Bombers’ Category B rookie list, remaining in the red and black until at least the end of 2022.

Arriving at the NEC Hangar from alternative sporting pathways, Irishman McBride was a talented Gaelic footballer while Hird came from an international soccer background. 

McBride committed to the Bombers in October 2019, while Hird joined as a Category B rookie in March 2020.

Both have been honing their craft through the Bombers’ VFL campaign in season 2021. 


McBride said he was appreciative of the opportunity to continue at the Bombers.

“I’m excited to remain at the Bombers and grateful for the faith they’ve shown in me to continue my AFL career,” McBride said.

“This off-season is going to be a real opportunity to put in some really hard training which I’m really looking forward to, and working with the coaches. I know what I have to work on.”  

Cian McBride has spent two seasons honing his craft at the Bombers. (Photo: AFL Photos)

Hird said he was pleased to sign on with the red and black. 

“It’s great to be continuing at such a great club and I’m really looking forward to putting a lot of work into my body and craft over the pre-season to really attack next year,” Hird said.

“It’s a really exciting time at Essendon with the young group we have and the trust we have in our coaches and system and I can’t wait to continue to develop with these players.” 

General manager of list and recruiting Adrian Dodoro said the club was excited to see the growth and development of the pair in 2022.

“We feel both Cian and Tom have a lot to offer and having missed considerable development opportunities last year due to COVID, we are pleased to offer them both another opportunity,” Dodoro said.

“Both have dealt with respective injuries at different times this year but Cian as a key forward and Tom as a small midfielder have natural talent we’re looking to cultivate. 

“With a substantial phase of development ahead of them in the club’s upcoming pre-season campaign, we hope they can give themselves every chance next season to feature in league football games.” 

McBride’s and Hird’s re-signings follow those of Andrew Phillips, Matt Guelfi, Brandon Zerk-Thatcher, Kaine Baldwin, Jake Stringer, Darcy Parish and Zach Merrett in recent weeks, alongside Devon Smith, Will Snelling, Mason Redman, Harrison Jones, Brayden Ham, Nick Bryan and Alec Waterman.

This news is brought to you by Orchard HRO, the club's official recruitment and list management partner.