THE DAUGHTER of Essendon legend James Hird trained with the Bombers' VFL Women's squad at Tullamarine on Tuesday night.
Stephanie Hird and Michaela Long, daughter of 1993 Norm Smith medallist Michael Long, were among more than 50 female footballers at the inaugural session.
Eighteen-year-old Hird was once a talented junior tennis player, but was in the public spotlight a couple of times in major moments in her father's football career.
She became Essendon's mock general manager of football operations on the official team sheet in the final match of 2013, before her father served a one-year ban for his role in the supplements saga.
Hird, a left-footer suited to a half-back or wing role, played her first three games of football this year for Old Geelong in the VAFA women's development division one competition.
The Bombers, including VFL operations manager Ash Brown, then approached the Hird family about Stephanie's interest in training with and potentially playing for the VFLW squad.
Five-time All Australian James Hird played 253 matches for the Bombers between 1992 and 2007, winning two premierships, the 2000 Norm Smith Medal and the 1996 Brownlow Medal.
Brown told AFL.com.au they had not discussed with Stephanie the public expectations that came with the Hird name, but said there was "no pressure from us".
"It's hard to know where she can go with her football, after only the one year playing," he said.
"She has a fair bit of work to do to perform at a VFL level, but she's extremely motivated and dedicated and is working extremely hard.
"We don't know where her potential will lead to, which is exciting.
"She has an opportunity to train in a good environment and improve her football and hopefully get listed in our VFLW squad."
Essendon missed out on an AFLW licence for the 2018 or 2019 seasons and remains without a timeline for when it might join the new competition.
James Hird embraces Stephanie and his wife Tania after the 2000 flag win. Picture: AFL Photos
But the Bombers will compete in the restructured VFLW from next year, under coach Brendan Major, who was an assistant with Collingwood's AFLW team in 2017.
Michaela Long, who grew up in Darwin, previously played for St Mary's in the Northern Territory Football League's Women's Premier League and was the face of the Bombers' AFLW bid.
Tiwi Islands-raised Michael Long played 190 games for Essendon from 1989 to 2011 and is also a dual premiership player.
The Bombers' AFLW application included a commitment to develop women's football on the Tiwi Islands.