Long full of pride after winning AFL debut

Essendon rookie Jake Long still hasn’t spoken to his father properly about his AFL debut against Gold Coast.

But he doesn’t have to – Michael Long’s emotions were there for all to see on Sunday.

“I saw Dad’s face and he was just overwhelmed and excited that his son was going to play AFL footy for Essendon,” Long Jr. said on Monday.

And if the former 190-game veteran was proud at the first bounce, it wouldn’t be hard to guess how the Bombers’ legend felt come fulltime.

Long, 20, showed all the promise anyone would want from a rookie on debut in the Bombers’ six-point win over the Suns at Etihad Stadium.

The wingman set up two goals, had 13 touches and provided one of the sentimental highlights of the game when he linked with Joe Daniher, son of former Bombers player Anthony.

“Hopefully we can get some chemistry going in the future,” Long said.

“The reception from the crowd was amazing. I think the Bomber fans have come out in numbers and it’s great to see them all and the love that they give Joey and Jobe (Watson).

“I know they love Joey and Jobe – hopefully I can join that three and make a trio.”

Picked up by the club as a rookie at the start of last season after being overlooked in the draft, Long’s path to the AFL has been a lengthy one.

He also admits to having grown up with the pressure of his surname, which he has learnt to overcome along the way.

“It’s always there, it’s always in the back of your mind, but you can’t really think about those things going into games and the way you’re performing,” he said.

“I take that into my stride. I’ve learnt to deal with it over time.

“But to play footy for Essendon as a Long is pretty special.”

Long also said his father had given him little advice before the game except to just `run the ball’ – which he did with freedom.

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