Essendon Football Club has today become truly whole, with the AFL Commission granting an AFLW licence for the Bombers to join the national women’s competition for the 2022/2023 season onwards.

The AFL announced Essendon, Hawthorn, Sydney and Port Adelaide as the remaining clubs to secure licences after reviewing the Bombers’ formal submission document presented to the AFL Commission in early July.

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AFL announces Bombers' AFLW licence

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan announces Essendon will be joining the AFLW competition for the 2022/23 season.

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President Paul Brasher said it was a defining day in the history of the Essendon Football Club.

“We are a football club with a proud, rich, diverse, inclusive and successful history, but today, the Essendon Football Club becomes whole. Today is a landmark day for the red and black,” Brasher said. 

“We have never been better positioned to enter the AFLW competition and on behalf of the club, I wish to thank Richard Goyder and the AFL Commission for reaching this outcome.

“Likewise, I wish to thank the many staff within our own organisation who have worked tirelessly on not only this submission but through their contribution in ensuring strong foundations have been laid across our club and VFLW program over a number of years. We have particularly drawn inspiration from the players in our VFLW team during that period.

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“Through our commitment to growing the game and establishing pathways across Melbourne’s northern corridor and the Northern Territory, through our relationship with Calder Cannons and our NGA programs and our flagship First Nation’s Women’s Pathway Program, we believe we will have the emerging talent to underpin the list profile for our AFLW team.

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First Nations Women's Pathway Program

Together with Coles, the Bombers are paving the way for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women on and off the field.

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“With our bespoke AFLW facilities now completed at the NEC Hangar, and with our long-term vision of AFLW games being played at Windy Hill, our impact in the AFLW competition will only be further strengthened.

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AFLW. 2022. We're ready.

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“We again thank the Victorian State Government for their support in establishing these facilities and their ongoing commitment to providing opportunities for women to participate in our great game of AFL at every level.

“Finally, every young Bomber – boy or girl – can dream of one day representing the mighty red and black, and for us this is exactly why our football club is now truly whole.”