1. Ominous Hawks moving up, season over for the Bombers?
For the first time since round five, Hawthorn (8-4) has climbed back into the top four and the reigning premiers are now only a win away from second spot despite their rollercoaster start to the year. Alastair Clarkson's men might not have clicked into top gear yet, but their second half against the Dons started to resemble the tough and efficient football we're used to seeing. But for Essendon, it could be curtains in 2015. The 13th-placed Bombers have slumped to 4-8 after their fourth-straight defeat and could be three wins outside the eight by the end of the weekend.
2. Frawley's bogey team strikes again
The Hawks are building, but they could have suffered two big injury blows to their key defensive stocks. Prized recruit James 'Chip' Frawley ran from the MCG cradling an apparently dislocated shoulder during the second quarter and was substituted out of the match. Bizarrely, it was the second time this year the former Demon has suffered an injury against the Bombers – with Frawley tearing his left pectoral in the round two clash. Shortly after, news filtered through that his likely replacement, injury-plagued Matt Spangher, had limped off during Box Hill's VFL game and was icing his ankle. Hawks fans will be holding their collective breath for good news.
3. Mitchell taunts the Dons
Social media went into meltdown in the second half after Hawthorn veteran Sam Mitchell appeared to taunt the Bombers by making an injecting motion at Essendon players, referring to the Dons' long-running supplements scandal. Footage also emerged of Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson pinning a newspaper article with a headline detailing Essendon's hatred for the Hawks on the whiteboard before the match. It's safe to say the rivalry lives on.
4. Welcome back, Winderlich
The Bombers were missing some big names, but seeing the No.8 back running around on the MCG was a sight for Dons supporters' sore eyes. Not since he retired and then reversed his decision over the off-season had Jason Winderlich pulled on the red and black guernsey, with a debilitating back injury causing him to question his decision to play on in 2015. The 30-year-old was quiet, gathering just six touches, but will be better for blowing out the cobwebs.
5. Cyril sits out, Gunston checks in
A close friend’s death meant Cyril Rioli missed Saturday's clash, and the Hawks could have used his creative spark in the first half. Wearing a glove to protected his dislocated finger, Jack Gunston booted three first-half majors to help Hawthorn to a one-point lead at the main break, before livewire Paul Puopolo bobbed up in the third term with a three-goal burst. The Hawks looked more dangerous with their mix of small forwards after half-time and – despite the early struggle to hit the scoreboard - still ended up with eight individual goal kickers, 16 majors and seventh 100-plus score from 12 matches.