Craigieburn will be the home to Essendon Football Club’s new Victorian Football League Women’s side next season.
The Bombers last week announced that the club would field a VFLW team for the first time in 2018, with the side to train and play at Highgate Reserve in Craigieburn.
It’s the latest step from the Bombers, who have put in an application to field an AFLW side when the competition expands in 2019.
Essendon chief executive Xavier Campbell said the introduction of the VFLW team in the region fills an important pathway gap for female footballers.
“This is a really significant and important step towards Essendon entering the AFLW competition,” he said.
“There is an abundance of talent in this region and an Essendon VFL team supports the club’s influence on the football pathway, from grassroots to our future AFLW team.
“Our academies programs in the north west of Melbourne, Tiwi Islands and West Arnhem Land have been structured to influence and enable all aspects of the system that grows, develops and nurtures female footballers.
“Underpinned through strong working relationships with AFL Vic, AFL NT and the Calder Cannons, our VFL Women’s team will provide an important aspiration for local girls playing junior football and our home grown talent will now be able to continue their football pathway locally at Highgate Reserve.”
Local footballers will be among those who are set to benefit for the introduction of the VFLW team.
The Bombers VFLW team will have a strong alignment with the Calder Canons Youth Girls Academy Programs, which are also based out of Highgate Reserve. The Cannons won the inaugural TAC Cup girls competition earlier this year and several players are on the draft radar.
The club also has existing relationships with Essendon District and Riddell District Football Leagues. Both leagues have seen massive growth in junior and senior female football in recent years.