Essendon’s wheelchair football teams launched their seasons last night ahead of their round one matches on Sunday.
Players, family, friends and representative from Essendon, Paralympics Australia, Disability Sport and Recreation and the AFL gathered to celebrate the season ahead.
Essendon general manager of football Josh Mahoney and Coles head of events and sponsorship Carmel Horvath presented the players with their guernseys, as well as a gift pack that included a $100 Coles voucher.
Coles also supplied a range of delicious food and a fresh produce display for all to enjoy.
VWFL captain Louis Rowe said the team was thrilled to get together ahead of its fifth season in the league.
“Tonight we have had our season launch for our wheelchair team, it’s been amazing. Everyone’s now got their jumper and we feel a part of the club,” Rowe said.
“Thanks to Coles, our sponsors, we’ve had an amazing assortment here. It feels like Masterchef with everyone getting their food, so thank you Coles and thank you to the club.
“We are really excited for the season ahead. I think we will be really strong and hopefully we will go one step more and win the grand final this year.”
With the addition of a development team, the Bombers have had new additions join the club, adding versatility to the side.
Rowe said the come-and-try night that Essendon held had encouraged new faces to give the sport a go.
“It’s great, we have four or five new players. We held a come-and-try day the other week and have picked up some really good talent,” he said.
“We’ve got some talls, we’ve got some smalls, some quicks, so they are really going to complement the existing team.”
Essendon’s VWFL team has been a grand finalist in the past two seasons, but is yet to claim the silverware.
In his fifth year as captain, Rowe said he was excited to see what the team can achieve and hopefully claim an illusive premiership.
“We have a really strong core team, and it could be our last opportunity to really perform and get up there before the new teams come in,” he said.
“We will be giving it everything this year. We will be training hard and will be very committed, caring and serious.”
The Bombers start their VWFL season on Sunday, April 10 at the Booroondara Sports Complex against Hawthorn, with the development team playing at 10:15am before the seniors at 11am.
See a selection of snaps from Thursday's season launch below.