In an excellent reflection of Essendon’s VFLW program, the club is proud to announce that four VFLW Bombers have committed to signing with its inaugural AFLW side.
Federica Frew, Joanne Doonan, Danielle Marshall and Jordan Zanchetta will all sign with the club once the official AFLW Sign and Trade Period opens, with the timing yet to be confirmed by the AFL.
Frew has been at the Bombers since 2016 and has been a key pillar up forward for the Bombers’ VFLW side with her strong marking and long kicking.
In her 10 VFLW games this year, Frew has kicked 27 goals, including a season-high six goals in round three against Carlton, and currently leads the VFLW league goalkicking tally.
Joining Frew is Marshall, who brings with her previous AFLW experience from her 11 games at the Western Bulldogs.
Originally from Arizona in the United States, Marshall became the first American to play AFLW when she made her debut for the Bulldogs in 2020.
Since joining the Bombers’ VFLW side for the 2022 season, Marshall has played 10 games and has become a dominant force across the backline.
Another international will be joining the Bombers’ AFLW side, with Doonan moving to Australia from Ireland earlier this year to join the VFLW team and push for an AFLW contract.
Like Marshall, Doonan also has AFLW experience, with the 27-year-old playing for Carlton in 2020 before heading home to Ireland when the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Doonan has proven herself this year at VFLW level, where she has averaged 17 disposals, 11 kicks and six handballs per game through the Bombers’ midfield and forward line.
Alongside Doonan and Marshall, Zanchetta joined the Bombers’ VFLW program ahead of the 2022 season, bringing with her AFLW experience from her four seasons at the Brisbane Lions.
Zanchetta is known for her tough work through the midfield, especially with her ability to extract the ball at stoppages and quickly move it into attack.
Throughout her 10 VFLW games this year, Zanchetta has averaged 20.6 disposals, 11.5 handballs and 9.1 kicks per game.
Essendon general manager of football Josh Mahoney said the four committing to the AFLW program was a fantastic reflection on the VFLW program.
“Our VFLW program has been building year on year and this season in particular is about two objectives - achieving team success and individual improvement,” Mahoney said.
“We have seen and are seeing both each week, with our team currently undefeated and a number of players having career-best seasons.
“We are excited to give four of our players the opportunity to represent Essendon in the AFLW and watch them develop further.”
AFLW contract manager Georgia Harvey said the club was proud of the four players and impressed by their VFLW performances.
“All four girls have shown that they can play consistent football at a high level during their time in the VFLW,” Harvey said.
“They have all worked extremely hard throughout the year to improve their skills and have demonstrated that they all have the ability to take their game to the next level.”
The Bombers' VFLW quartet join Carlton's Maddy Prespakis and Georgia Gee, Fremantle's Stephanie Cain, Collingwood's Sophie Alexander, VFLW co-captain Georgia Nanscawen, and under-age signing Caitlin Sargent, on the Bombers' inaugural AFLW list.