Essendon has signed Tom Hird to its playing list as a Category B rookie.  

Hird will join the club on a two-year contract as a non-registered athlete under the eligible Category B rookie rules. A talented junior athlete, Hird chose to pursue a career in elite soccer and recently had the opportunity to trial in the Netherlands. 

General manager of list and recruiting Adrian Dodoro said the club would take a long-term approach to Hird’s AFL development.

“We are really pleased to welcome Tom to the club as a Category B rookie signing,” Dodoro said. 

“Tom trained with our club in early 2019 after being granted permission to train in accordance with AFL rules. We have been following him closely in the event he chose to return to football from elite soccer and pleasingly for our club, he has come to that decision.

“He is an athletic young sportsman with natural talent, but we will be taking a patient approach with his development as he begins to build his strength. 

“We’re thrilled to have Tom join the red and black and watch him develop as a player over the coming years.”

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