ESSENDON footballer Bonnie Toogood says bringing AFLW to regional areas helps inspire the next generation.
The Bombers will play Geelong at Warrnambool's Reid Oval on October 9.
"The club has done a lot of stuff in regional Victoria - they took the (premiership cups) on a bit of a country tour earlier this year - and I think for AFLW in particular it's really important to connect with regional Victoria and almost inspire the next generation and be visible," Toogood told The Standard.
The key forward, who crossed from Western Bulldogs for the Bombers' inaugural season, said she was excited to explore Warrnambool - the home of coach Natalie Wood.
Essendon will also run an open training session and school clinics across a three-day visit.
"I think it will be a weekend footy festival," she said. "It makes it a little bit more genuine too - it's not like we're just doing the game here."
Toogood said it was pleasing to see more opportunities available to budding players.
"It is great regional and local level clubs are investing in women's footy because it's not just benefitting girls who are playing but it's benefitting clubs as a whole," she said.
"Just providing more opportunities for people in footy is really important and with the redevelopment you've had (in Warrnambool) it's investment as well, to make change rooms and facilities that can be used by everyone.
"We notice at the top level, the importance of having both programs running, how it changes a club and how it makes a club feel whole."
Essendon, which will meet Brisbane on Sunday, is excited to play on the wide expanses of Reid Oval the following weekend as the club uses road trips to build connections.
Toogood believes Sophie Van de Heuvel at half-back and "fast wingers" Cat Phillips and Amber Clarke will relish the opportunity.
"We had a big ground against West Coast in Perth and that worked well for us; we know how do use the width of the ground and it's something we'll look to do again," she said.
Essendon - one of four teams to join the competition in season seven - is building cohesion.
Toogood said it was humbling to be part of something completely new.
"It's been very different and it's a challenge I hadn't faced before," she said.
"Getting to connect with different people and learn their stories and why they play footy and then getting to actually build the connection on the field, it's just been a really interesting journey and a really exciting one because we're only scrapping the surface of what we're able to do as a team."
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