Michaela Long…Michael’s daughter…this would a great football story if/when it comes about:
MICHAEL Long’s daughter has turned down playing offers from AFL clubs because she wants to represent Essendon when it enters the new women’s league.
Michaela Long told the Herald Sun she rejected approaches from Adelaide and Greater Western Sydney and would return to play at St Mary’s in Darwin next year.
Essendon did not apply to join the inaugural national women’s competition.
Long, 19, played Auskick in Melbourne as a youngster and grew up kicking the footy with brother Jake, who made an impressive debut for the Bombers in Round 21.
Her cousin, Ben Long, is likely to be drafted next month after kicking six goals for Footscray in the preliminary final and playing in the VFL premiership.
Michaela Long could be the first women drafted under the father-daughter rule, which is expected to be introduced by the AFL.
She revealed her Bombers dream at Friday’s The Long Walk Women’s Lunch and is working with Essendon’s Next Generation talent academy in the Tiwi and Maningrida areas.
The young athlete is passionate about developing indigenous football talent in the Northern Territory.
Michael Long said he would be proud to see his son and daughter carry on his legacy at Essendon.
“It’s in the blood. It’s a footy pedigree,” Long said.
“She plays onball, a bit of wing and around the forward line. She was quite a quick athlete as a kid, so I’ve always told her, ‘If you get the ball, run with it’.”
Michaela said at one stage she seriously considered pulling on another team’s colours.
“But then I thought I’m happy to go back to St Mary’s, that’s where my grandfather played and all my uncles played and my brothers continue to play,” Long said.
“I’d love to play AFL footy and the other clubs I got interest from I know people at.
“But Essendon has always felt like home. One day we’ll get a women’s footy team and then I can hopefully play alongside my younger cousins that’ll be old enough then.
“Me and my brother used to argue when we were younger. Jake always had that direct pathway to play AFL footy and girls were never allowed to play so I had to look at other avenues.
“But now I really have no excuse, so I kind of have to. But it would mean the world to me, watching my brother run out this year I was so proud of him.
“For my mum and dad I want to do it for them, especially my father.
“And everybody like Sheeds and people I look up to like Dustin Fletcher, I want to be back home at my family club, Essendon footy club.”