The second round clash between the Swans and Bombers was all about the new boys going head to head. The Golden Boy vs The Longtime Apprentice. James Hird had thus far enjoyed a dream start to his senior AFL coaching career, guiding his Bombers side to a series of remarkable wins (the loss to the rampant Collingwood in the NAB Cup Final notwithstanding). In contrast, Sydney's John Longmire went about his business in quieter fashion - a mixed fare in the opening round of the NAB Cup, followed by some solid performances in practice matches before the drama of the draw with Melbourne.

Typical of recent matches between the two sides, it turned out to be a thriller to the very end. Unusually for a match out at ANZ Stadium, this game was played on a Sunday afternoon, and a disappointing crowd of just over 28,000 turned up for the occasion. Essendon were unlucky to lose David Hille before the match, with the Swans opting to play just the one specialist ruckman in Shane Mumford.

In perfect conditions, the home side burst out of the blocks, dominating the first 10 minutes. The Swans were unable to capitalise on their early good work though, only scoring a single goal through Jesse White. The Bombers gradually worked their way back into the game and kicked the next four goals to secure a deserved quarter-time lead. While the introduction of the electric Lewis Jetta and Gary Rohan have added pace and flair to the Swans' lineup, the younger Sydney team was unable to finish off their hard work, turning the ball over to Essendon players on numerous occasions. Jetta in particular appeared to struggle with the flow of the game and was unusually unable to gather many clean possessions.

The second quarter started well again for Sydney with Jesse White kicking his second goal. Essendon were up to the task though, with Davey kicking a quick reply before producing a brilliant tap of the ball behind him on the boundary for Stewart Crameri to score. The Bombers pulled away to a 28-point lead and looked set to run away with the match before a couple of crowd-pleasing majors from Goodes, McGlynn and Bevan, the Swans lucky to be within 2 goals at halftime.

Sydney looked to be rejuvenated by their strong finish to the first half, and again produced a strong start to the third quarter, Josh Kennedy gaoling before Jude Bolton put them in front for the first time since the opening period. Jobe Watson was perhaps Essendon's hardest worker all day and he bobbed up to put the Bombers back in front. The Bombers seemed to have all the answers, again pushing the lead beyond four goals.

However, shrewd judges of football know better than to write off the Swans in recent times, and the team again stepped up with the final two goals of the quarter to leave the three-quarter margin a tantalising 10 points.

The last quarter was an exhibition of desperation and effort, if not for silky skills. The pressure was enormous and the tackling ferocious. Ben McGlynn kicked two crucial goals, answered by a fantastic snap from Michael Hurley, tight in the forward pocket. Jude Bolton won a free kick against a luckless Kyle Hardingham and coolly booted the ball home to snatch the lead back. Essendon were pressing forward in desperation and but for a cruel bounce in the goalsquare could have stolen the match, the Swans holding out for a five-point win.

Adam Goodes starred after being moved into the midfield, and Jude Bolton continued his early-season form with his second consecutive three-goal haul. Martin Mattner and Heath Grundy were resolute in defence and Ryan O'Keefe was sensational with a game-high 27 possessions. For the Bombers, the captain Jobe Watson was a standout, and the young Dyson Heppell continues to impress. Michael Hurley played an impressive game in the forward line with only accuracy letting him down.