In just 10 weeks, the inaugural Essendon AFLW side completed many firsts for the club, creating a rich history that will be remembered for years to come.  

On August 12, 2021, the Essendon Football Club became truly whole with the AFL Commission granting an AFLW licence for the Bombers to join the competition for season seven. History had officially begun.

Natalie Wood was unveiled as the inaugural Essendon AFLW senior coach in March this year, followed by Georgia Nanscawen, who became the first ever AFLW Bomber. After that, the names came rolling in.

The Bombers signed 12 AFLW players from other clubs to their list, as well as bringing across eight players from their VFLW side, and seven coming through the draft.

The first official AFLW training session was held on June 13, with 21 players in attendance.

Bonnie Toogood and Steph Cain would become Essendon’s inaugural co-captains for season seven. With Georgia Nanscawen and Jacqui Vogt joining the leadership team.

For the first time ever the Essendon AFLW side would run out on the ground as one team. They played a practice match against expansion side Port Adelaide at the NEC Hangar on August 11, coming away victorious by 20 points.

In round one, the Bombers came up against Hawthorn, another expansion club, for the side’s first ever AFLW game. Tickets would soon sell out within a day of release, and to make history even more spectacular, the game was moved to Marvel Stadium.

Seven debutants would don the sash for the first time this season, with guernseys presented to the players on the ground in front of their families.

As the siren sounded on the eve of August 27, history was everywhere. Jess Wuetschner scored the Dons’ first ever AFLW goal, with the help of Daria Bannister and Paige Scott.

Toogood collected two goals for the game. Scott, Prespakis, Marshall and Alexander all scoring historic goals of their own.

Essendon pushed ahead in the final quarter to secure a 26-point victory over Hawthorn, sealing the Dons’ first ever AFLW victory.

After her breakout performance in round one, Paige Scott would earn Essendon’s first ever NAB Rising Star nomination.

On September 11, the team would travel to Western Australia, to come up against West Coast at Mineral Resources Park. For the first time, the Bombers were playing outside of Victoria.

The match would prove to be another historic moment for the Dons, defeating West Coast by 52-points.

At the time, round three’s fixture recorded the highest halftime score in AFLW history, as well as the most multiple goal scorers (five) in season seven.

Round four was the Dons’ first Dreamtime game, assistant coach Kirby Bentley hand painted every players’ boots to represent a unified team, and Essendon released their first ever Indigenous guernsey designed by two students from Thornbury Primary School.

The Bombers would run out in their inaugural Pride guernsey in round eight, designed by VFLW Premiership players Mia-Rae Clifford and Kendra Heil.

This year was jam-packed full of historic firsts, with many more still to come. Who will be named Essendon’s inaugural AFLW Best and Fairest? And will first year young guns Paige Scott or Steph Wales be named NAB Rising Star?

The 34 names which embodied Essendon’s first AFLW season will remain in the history books for years to come.

And the side is indebted to the families, members and fans for the history they have been a part of and the support they have given this season.