The Bulldogs were harder, smarter and had much more to play for.
AFL grand final 2012
It was only in the final term that Essendon managed to crack the nut open.
They held their nerve for the best part of 20 agonising goalless minutes.
Hawthorn helped coach Alastair Clarkson celebrate his record 300th game at the club with a 52-point win over the Dockers.
The Sydney Swans notched up their seventh win on the trot with a comfortable 101-59 victory over St Kilda.
Adelaide answered the critics with a superb victory over Geelong at Adelaide Oval on Friday night.
No amount of forensic attention to detail can reduce the disadvantage of playing away from home it seems.
Bombers hang on despite massive scare
Adelaide's old guard lead the Dees to victory over Crows at Adelaide Oval.
Not pretty, but West Coast get the job done against Western Bulldogs in Friday night clash.