THE FAMOUS Long connection with Essendon could be further cemented with Jake Long in line to make his AFL debut in the 'Dreamtime at the 'G' clash with Richmond at the MCG on Saturday night.
After Essendon's 46-point loss to St Kilda at Etihad Stadium on Sunday night, Bombers coach John Worsfold spoke positively of the selection hopes for the lightly-built 20-year-old, whose much-loved father Michael won the 1993 Norm Smith Medal and was a two-time premiership player.
"He's been in the mix for the last month," Worsfold said post-match of Long, a 186cm and 75kg rookie.
"We rested him last week as part of his development, but the two weeks prior to that he was really in the mix.
"We'll get the reports on how he performed (in the VFL) and see what that says.
"Will Hams played really well. (Mark) Jamar's playing good footy, Shaun Edwards played really well, so all those guys are pushing up."
After earning admiration for a gallant loss to league leader North Melbourne last week – and effort that prompted a standing ovation from their long-suffering fans – the Bombers were considerably off the pace against the Saints.
They were just 10 points down at half-time but the stats told a different story – one of St Kilda dominance in virtually every category.
The one area the Bombers succeeded was in the ruck (41-24) but they were hammered in clearances (46-23), with Worsfold happy to give more experience to youngsters like Zach Merrett and Darcy Parish.
"We'll keep backing those kids in to keep learning," he said.
"We will get hurt at times but overall this year I've been really pleased with the way they're holding up."