The second son of Essendon champion James Hird will officially become a Bomber when Alex makes his debut in Monday’s Smithy’s VFL Anzac Day clash with Collingwood from 1:05pm at Windy Hill.

Alex, 18, is a 178cm, 68kg youngster and James Hird Academy graduate who has been playing for Old Melburnians in the VAFA and has earned his chance to join his older brother Tom, 21, who is showing promising signs in his second season in the Essendon reserves.

The winless Bombers will go in as clear underdogs against the Magpies, with last week’s five-goal star Kaine Baldwin playing at the MCG and Harry Jones, Aaron Francis and Tex Wanganeen all being sidelined, although Devon Smith and Tom Cutler have been named after being dropped from the AFL team.

>>> STREAM THE MATCH HERE OR VIA THE AFL LIVE OFFICIAL APP

Collingwood responded to last week’s first loss of the season against GWS by making five changes, with Callum Brown, Mason Cox and Tom Wilson returning from the AFL, Aiden Begg returning from concussion and Pascoe Vale’s Jack Raines, 19, to play his first VFL game.

The Magpies dropped Campbell Lane, Callan Wellings, Cobi Maxted and Isaac Wallace, while Michael Hartley, who battled manfully as an undersized ruck against the Giants, will also miss.

ESSENDON v COLLINGWOOD

Monday, April 25, 1.05pm @ Windy Hill
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Essendon 10-8. At Windy Hill: Essendon 3-2. Streak: Essendon 3 in a row. Last time: Essendon 12.14 86 def Collingwood 6.14 50 (Victoria Park, April 24, 2021)

ESSENDON
IN: A Hird (debut, 18, Old Melburnians), B Archard, T Cutler, D Smith, K Weightman
OUT: K Baldwin (AFL), A Francis, H Jones, T Wanganeen (all managed), M Hallows (omit)

COLLINGWOOD
IN: J Raines (debut, 19, Pascoe Vale), A Begg, C Brown, M Cox, T Wilson
OUT: M Hartley (managed), C Lane, C Maxted, I Wallace, C Wellings (all omit)