Son of Essendon legend set for AFL debut

Essendon will hand Jake Long, the son of club legend Michael, a debut against Gold Coast on Sunday.

Long has been locked and loaded for his AFL debut, more than two years after joining the Bombers as a rookie.

The lightly built 20-year-old has grown in stature over the past season in the VFL, progressing to the point where coach John Worsfold says the time is right for a senior debut.

“It feels amazing,” Long told the Essendon website.

“I’ve waited almost two seasons so I’m ready to go out there and play.”

Long’s elevation from the rookie list completes the Baby Bombers feel to their round 21 side, which will be captained by another 20-year-old.

Against the Suns, Zach Merrett will lead the fallen AFL heavyweights in just his 57th match.

Long is one of four changes for the Bombers, with Mathew Stokes, Orazio Fantasia and Jonathan Simpkin coming in.

Skipper Brendon Goddard (groin), Courtenay Dempsey (hamstring), Aaron Francis (calf) and Darcy Parish (rested) miss out.

The Suns have three changes, with Adam Saad, Aaron Hall and Keegan Brooksby coming in for Tom Nicholls (knee), Alex Sexton (quad) and Sean Lemmens who has been omitted.

North Melbourne were forced into two changes on Friday, leaving out key forward Ben Brown (knee) and defender Scott Thompson (adductor) less than 24 hours after they were named in the Kangaroos side to face Hawthorn.

The pair have failed to overcome injuries sustained in last weekend’s loss to Western Bulldogs, meaning Brad Scott’s side must face the premiers without key figures at both ends of the ground.

Geelong have rested Andrew Mackie for Harry Taylor’s 200th game, which comes against Richmond on Sunday afternoon.

Daniel Menzel (groin), Nakia Cockatoo (knee), Jed Bews (omitted) also come out with next-gen Cats Jake Kolodjashnij, Lincoln McCarthy, Shane Kersten and Tom Ruggles coming in.

Richmond have made two changes.

Adam Marcon (omitted) and Ben Griffiths (groin) lose their place for Shane Edwards and Ben Lennon.

Edwards is back after two weeks out with a calf injury while Lennon plays his first match since round four.

Adelaide has also made two changes for their round-closing match with Fremantle.

Paul Seedsman’s corked buttock has forced his absence, with Cam Ellis-Yeoman dropped for the incoming Scott Thompson and Mitch McGovern.

Connor Blakely comes into the Dockers 22 for Hayden Crozier (calf).

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