Essendon's VFLW side has been dealt its second draw of the season, surrendering a late lead in its top-of-the-table clash with Hawthorn at Box Hill City Oval on Sunday.
The Bombers led by 18 points with eight minutes remaining, but couldn't contain the fast-finishing Hawks, who took full advantage of the wind in the 4.7 (31) to 4.7 (31) draw.
Despite the Hawks' dominance in the final stages, the Bombers responded with a late surge of its own in the final minute, leading to Bendigo youngster Drew Ryan needing a score after the siren to win the game.
Lining up against the wind from beyond the boundary, Ryan made a good fist of her attempt but was cruelly denied a match-winner as the Hawks punched the footy back in play from the goal-line.
In what was an arm-wrestle early on, the Bombers would have been left disappointed after leading for the majority of the game.
With scores locked at half-time, they broke clear in a dominant third term, thanks to majors from Mia-Rae Clifford and 50-gamer Courtney Ugle, to hold a 15-point lead at the final break and look in a strong position to continue their winning ways.
Ugez hits the board in game 50.— Essendon VFLW (@essendonvflw) May 15, 2022
You love to see it. pic.twitter.com/HtSAlg8Pec
Co-captain Georgia Nanscawen and star recruit Amelia Radford were again busy in the engine room with 28 and 23 disposals respectively, while recent Essendon AFLW signing Joanne Doonan (18 disposals, six tackles, five clearances) continued her impressive form.
The draw sees the Bombers stay undefeated and on top of the VFLW ladder, with matches against the Southern Saints (May 21, Trevor Barker Beach Oval) and Casey Demons (May 28, Windy Hill) to finish the home and away season.
HAWTHORN 0.2 1.4 1.4 4.7 (31)
ESSENDON 1.2 1.4 3.7 4.7 (31)
Goals: Clifford, Ugle, MacDonald, Marshall
Disposals: Nanscawen 28, Radford 23, Ayre 19, Doonan 18