In another coup for the Bombers’ AFLW program, the club is thrilled to announce five more players have signed with the club ahead of its inaugural season.
With the AFLW expansion signing period opening today, Sophie Van De Heuvel, Jacqui Vogt, Daria Bannister, Cat Phillips and Jorja Borg will all officially join the Bombers alongside the other 10 players who have committed to the club.
Van De Heuvel, Vogt, Bannister and Phillips will all bring AFLW experience, while Borg has played VFLW for Carlton for the past three years.
Borg has committed to the Bombers as an open-age signing, while the other four have joined as expansion signings.
Van De Heuvel, a lifelong Essendon supporter, arrives at the NEC Hangar after 31 games for Geelong, where she made her mark as a versatile half-back.
Hailing from Ballarat in regional Victoria, the talented all-rounder also played cricket at the national level before transitioning to footy.
Joining Van De Heuvel at the Bombers is Phillips, who has played 44 games across her past six AFLW seasons and was the Saints’ inaugural co-captain.
A dual-sport athlete, Phillips represented Australia at ultimate frisbee before being drafted by Melbourne as a category B rookie ahead of the Demons’ first AFLW season.
Moving to St Kilda ahead of the 2019 season, Phillips has become known for her leadership, unwavering determination and work-rate throughout the Saints’ midfield.
Also making the move from Moorabbin to the NEC Hangar is Vogt, who played 17 games since making her debut for St Kilda in round one of the 2021 season.
Over her two seasons at AFLW level, Vogt’s football smarts, aerial ability and versatility have made her a key target in the Saints’ forward line and midfield.
Originally a defender for Melbourne Victory in the W-League, Vogt transitioned to footy when she joined the Southern Saints for their first VFLW season before being drafted by the Saints’ AFLW team.
Bannister will also line up in the Bombers' inaugural team, with the Tasmanian joining the club from North Melbourne.
A talented forward, Bannister spent most of her first three seasons at AFLW level on the sidelines, having to overcome multiple injuries.
Over the past two seasons, Bannister has played 21 games, taking her career total to 25, establishing a strong presence up forward and regularly hitting the scoreboard.
Joining Bannister and adding height to Essendon's team, Borg has developed her ruck craft over the past three seasons in Carlton’s VFLW side, with the 23-year-old showing great potential once in an AFLW environment.
Essendon general manager of football Josh Mahoney said the five signings would influence the standards and expectations for the Bombers’ inaugural list.
“From the very start, we will be setting high expectations and standards for our women’s team, and these five players will play a key part in establishing this culture,” Mahoney said.
“They all have experience in high-performing environments, either at AFLW or VFLW level. Therefore, they can use their knowledge to educate and influence their fellow teammates and, ultimately, the whole women's program at Essendon."
AFLW player contract manager Georgia Harvey said the signings would bring extensive AFLW experience to the Bombers’ inaugural line-up.
“These five players all bring different experiences and knowledge of the game to the club, which will be very important in our first season,” Harvey said.
“It is fantastic that our women’s program has attracted such high-level talent and we look forward to seeing Sophie, Cat, Jacqui, Daria and Jorja continue to develop and grow at the Bombers.”