About the EWN

Established in 1997, the Essendon Women's Network (EWN) has a proud legacy of providing an inclusive environment for members to connect and to enjoy football, as well as supporting and celebrating the achievements of women in Australian Football. The EWN’s focus is to engage, inform and entertain its members.

The EWN's objective are to:

- Actively support the involvement of all women within the Essendon Football Club community and more broadly within the football community.

- Recognise and celebrate the contribution of women to Australian Rules football (primarily through the Football Woman of the Year Awards including Community and Emerging Leader Awards).

- Provide an inclusive and supportive forum for members to socialise and connect.

- Inform and entertain members through communication channels and events.

- Raise funds for the Essendon Football Club.

Grand Final Comedy Debate

The EWN hosts a number of social and networking events for members and non-members throughout the year, culminating in its premier 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 Football through the awarding of the Football Woman of the Year Awards. 

The event includes a comedy debate featuring some of Australia’s best comedians debating 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.

For more information and event updates, follow the event’s dedicated website here.  

The Grand Final Comedy Debate is the Essendon Women's Network's premier annual event.

Football Woman of the Year

The Football Woman of the Year Awards commenced in 1998, playing a vital role in recognising the important contribution of women at all levels of the Australian Football community.  

The awards are presented by the EWN with support from Essendon FC, and endorsed by the AFL.

There are three 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 Football industry.

Emerging Leader – to recognise women who are in the early stages of their Australian Football careers and 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, Beverly Knight and Shelley Ware.

Shelley Ware with her award for the 2019 Football Woman of the Year.

Further information

If you are not an EWN member and would like to learn more about the EWN and its events, or if you are a paid EWN member and would like to reach out to your committee, please contact essendonwomen@gmail.com