Essendon will open its 2021 VFLW season in a history-making match against the Southern Saints at the NEC Hangar on Sunday, following the fixture release for round one.

The match will mark the Bombers’ first at the NEC Hangar for points in their short history, with the venue set to house a new women's football facility in the club's push for an AFLW licence.

Fans will be able to attend the game free, but will need to follow the COVID-19 protocols in place.

The Bombers will enter their third season with confidence on the back of a 60-point win over Darebin in last week's practice match at the NEC Hangar.

This year's VFLW competition will feature 12 clubs, including six AFLW affiliate clubs in Carlton, Casey Demons, Collingwood, Geelong, North Melbourne and Western Bulldogs.

Round one
Essendon v Southern Saints
10:30am, Sunday, February 28
NEC Hangar, 275 Melrose Drive, Melbourne Airport