In a historic week for the club with the AFLW program preparing for their first finals berth, the Essendon Football Club is pleased to announce that Senior Coach Natalie Wood has signed a contract extension. 

The new deal will see Wood continue to lead the AFLW team until at least the end of the 2024 season. 

Named Essendon’s inaugural AFLW Senior Coach, Wood has steered the team to 10 victories across their first two seasons, including a debut finals appearance this weekend against Geelong. 

Wood has almost three decades of football experience as a player and coach, having a decorated 17-year career as a player and spent time coaching at Geelong and Western Bulldogs before arriving at the NEC Hangar. 

Wood said she was honoured to continue leading the program for 2024.


“I feel very privileged to have led this team across our first two seasons and look forward to continuing for the next season,” Wood said.

“I am thrilled with what we are building here. Our playing group is developing a professional environment where we challenge and care for one another and have the ability for continued and sustained growth.

“It’s been fantastic to bring the fans along on our journey, and we thank them for their support since our very first game at Marvel. Seeing them show their support has been fantastic, especially when packing out Windy Hill. 

“Our focus is very much on the game this weekend, and I am proud of our whole program, players and staff for their commitment this season.”

Essendon CEO Craig Vozzo congratulated Wood for her impact over her first two seasons.

“Natalie has done an excellent job over the past two years to establish our AFLW program and build the foundations of a successful football team,” Vozzo said.

“Her football experience and educational background makes her a great leader to ensure our players continue developing their football and thriving as elite players.

“We are right behind Natalie and the team as they embark on their first finals campaign, and we can’t wait to see what they achieve in the future.”

The AFLW Bombers will take on Geelong on Sunday, November 12, from 1:05pm at GMHBA Stadium in their maiden finals series.