Essendon’s AFLW list build continues to progress with Fremantle AFLW star Stephanie Cain committing to signing with the club.
The Bombers will now work with Cain, her management and the AFL to facilitate the request once the AFLW Trade and Sign period opens, with dates yet to be confirmed.
Cain was drafted to Fremantle with pick No.109 in the inaugural AFLW draft and has played 32 games across her six-year career.
Her journey hasn’t been smooth, however, with the midfielder delisted at the end of her first season despite missing just one game.
After proving her ability, Cain was re-drafted at the following draft and secured her spot in Fremantle’s midfield, playing every match of the 2018 season.
In 2020, Cain ruptured her ACL in the opening game and missed the rest of the season.
But in a sign of her determination, she returned for the 2021 season and produced career-best performances on the Dockers’ wing.
This form continued into 2022, with the 25-year-old averaging 12.1 disposals, 2.7 marks and four tackles a game.
Essendon general manager of football Josh Mahoney said Cain would be an excellent addition to the Bombers and was excited by the formation of their inaugural list.
“Steph is another great addition to the club. She comes from a strong program at Fremantle and will contribute to the culture and environment we are building within our club,” Mahoney said.
“We understand the significant commitment that Steph is making by moving across the country to join us and trusting that we will be putting all the resources around her to make Victoria feel like home and maximise her as a player.”
AFLW player contract manager Georgia Harvey said Cain’s experience would be vital to Essendon’s inaugural side.
“Steph will bring a wealth of experience to our inaugural side and combined with her natural leadership qualities, will be influential on and off the field,” Harvey said.
“Steph’s pace and kicking ability will be a great addition to our growing list.”
Cain's commitment to Essendon's inaugural AFLW side follows those of VFLW Bombers co-captain Georgia Nanscawen, Carlton duo Maddy Prespakis and Georgia Gee, Western Bulldogs forward Bonnie Toogood, and Western Jets forward Caitlin Sargent.