A surging St Kilda surge came close to derailing Essendon's historic first AFLW fixture at Windy Hill, but the Bombers held firm when it mattered most to bank a 12-point win and contnue its unbeaten start to the season.
Prolific midfielder Madison Prespakis starred again with a game-high 29 disposals in the Bombers' 6.4 (40) to 4.4 (28) victory on Sunday.
It was Essendon's first game at its spiritual home in a national competition - either men's or women's - since August 1991.
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Prespakis continued her hot form, winning 15 contested possessions and five clearances to lead her side to victory. Georgia Gee (19 touches, one goal), co-captain Bonnie Toogood (17, one), Sophie Alexander (19 disposals) and Brooke Walker (15, six clearances) were also strong contributors the Bombers.
The Bombers' win came at a cost, with co-captain Steph Cain undergoing a concussion test during the final quarter after her head met the turf in a tackle from Jaimee Lambert. Cain (13 disposals) also hurt her right shoulder earlier in a physical encounter.
Lambert starred for St Kilda with 25 touches, six clearances and a goal, while Tyanna Smith (13 disposals, five clearances) and Georgia Patrikios (15, two) worked hard.
Essendon was dominant early and grabbed the ascendancy with three straight goals in the opening 10 minutes.
The Saints gradually dragged their way back into the contest, kicking four of the next five majors to level the scores midway through the third quarter.
But the Bombers steadied late in the third term and turned for home 12 points in front.
Neither side managed to score in a hard-fought final period, leaving St Kilda winless from the opening two rounds.
ESSENDON 3.1 3.3 6.4 6.4 (40)
ST KILDA 1.2 2.4 4.4 4.4 (28)
Essendon: Vogt, Clarke, Gee, Toogood, Wuetschner, Radford
St Kilda: Xenos, Stevens, Lambert, Vesely
Essendon: Prespakis, Toogood, Gee, Walker, Alexander, Vogt
St Kilda: Xenos, Lambert, Smith, Vesely, Patrikios, McDonald
Crowd: TBC at Windy Hill