Main content

About the EWN

Established in 1997, the Essendon Women's Network (EWN) has long been regarded as the most successful women's group within the AFL. The EWN is engaged, aligned and committed to supporting the Essendon Football Club reach its strategic objectives.

The EWN is focussed on:

Supporting and celebrating women’s contribution to football including by awarding the Football Woman of the Year Awards (including Community and Emerging Leader Awards)


  • Providing an inclusive and supportive social network for women to connect


  • Raising funds for the EFC, primarily through its signature event, the Grand Final Comedy Debate


  • Assisting the EFC with its female engagement strategy. EWN Committee members actively participate in the development and stewardship of the EFC Equality and Diversity Strategy.

Grand Final Comedy Debate

The EWN hosts a number of social and networking events for members and non-members throughout the year; culminating in a major fundraising event, the Grand Final Comedy Debate. Held annually on the Thursday of AFL Grand Final week – the premier event highlights amazing women who contribute to our game of Australian Rules Football. The event is coupled with a Comedy Debate featuring some of Australia’s best comedians who debate a topic that is uniquely framed around football. The event attracts 1,000 attendees who all leave with a smile and a packed gift bag.

To learn more about the event, and to stay tuned on updates for this year, visit the event’s dedicated website here:

Football Woman of the Year

The Football Woman of the Year Awards commenced in 1998.  The Awards play a vital role in recognising the important contribution of women throughout all levels of the Australian Rules Football community.  The Award is presented by the Essendon Women’s Network with the support of the Essendon Football Club, and endorsed by the AFL.

There are 3 categories of awards:

Football Woman of the Year - to celebrate and honour the achievements of women who have made an exceptional contribution within the Australian Rules Football industry.

Emerging Leader – to recognise women who are in the early stages of their Australian Rules Football careers and who demonstrate clear leadership potential.

Community Award - to celebrate our unsung heroes who work on a volunteer basis whether at local or AFL level.

Nominees can be self-nominated, or nominated by a third party (with the approval of the nominee). The winner in each category is awarded at the Grand Final Comedy Debate. Previous winners have included Breanna Brock, Bec Goddard, Daisy Pearce, Jan Cooper, Peta Searle, Michelle Cowan, Belinda Duarte, Debbie Lee, Susan Alberti and Beverly Knight.

Further Information

If you are not an EWN member, but would like to learn more about the EWN and its events please contact:


Jess Brown

Private Clients & Coteries Manager

03 8430 2021


If you are a paid EWN member, and would like to reach out to your committee, don’t hesitate to email:

2019 Events Calendar

EWN Social Night: Barrack for the Bombers

Friday, 19 July – Botanical Hotel, South Yarra

Grand Final Comedy Debate

Thursday, 26 September – Crown Palladium

Christmas Cocktails

Date & Venue to be confirmed