Fresh off a maiden finals series, Essendon VFLW will kick off its pre-season today in preparation for the 2022 season.

With the Bombers entering the AFLW competition at the end of 2022, the strengthened VFLW program will see the players elevate their training schedule to three nights a week and undertake an online education session.

Construction of the club’s new state-of-the-art women’s facilities has been completed, with the Bombers planning to host VFLW home games at the NEC Hangar for the upcoming season. The VFLW players have full, dedicated access to the two ovals, indoor hangar, gym, altitude chambers, pool and hot/colds for recovery.

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Uniquely, the Bombers’ VFLW elite high-performance and medical team is staffed almost entirely by females.

The Bombers look set to take their VFLW program to the next level in 2022, after an historic 2021 season which saw a preliminary-final appearance and captain Georgia Nanscawen become the Bombers’ first-ever Lambert-Pearce medallist as the league-wide best and fairest.

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AFLW/VFLW football operations manager Charlotte Miller said there were substantial updates regarding the VFLW program ahead of the commencement of their pre-season campaign.

“This season, we’re really excited that our training program will be stepping up a notch to more closely mimic AFLW training weeks. We think this is a really great opportunity to see who from our group is able to step up and take this challenge on,” Miller said.

“Pleasingly, almost our entire 2021 playing group are returning, minus those who have been successfully drafted to the AFLW competition. We are also very excited to welcome a bunch of very talented young players from across a number of NAB programs who have the opportunity to train with our program before the NAB League kicks off in a few weeks.

“In a further sign of our program’s stability, all members of our coaching panel will also return for the 2022 season, including senior coach Brendan Major, Gavin Urquhart, Chloe Laan, Brett Pollard and Jarrad Campbell, as well as a new appointment in former Bombers AFL player Matt Dea. We are also continuing to work closely with our AFL program, with some guest coaches to feature in our VFLW program across the season next year.

VFLW head coach Brendan Major will take the reins for a fourth consecutive season. (Photo: AFL Photos)

“With the extended lockdown and a late running of the VFLW season with finals, the academy program we had intended to run has now been absorbed into our VFLW program, exposing all our players to it and giving everyone the opportunity to buy in and prove they are ready for Essendon’s AFLW inaugural team in 2022.

“We’re really excited to build on the strong foundations we’ve laid across our VFLW program in recent years, as we continue our preparations for our inaugural AFLW season in 2022/2023.”