Essendon finished top for the second successive season and again met Hawthorn in the Grand Final for the third successive time.
In a high-scoring affair, the Bombers again left it to the last quarter to storm home with 11 goals to win by 78 points.
Paul Salmon, back after a year out with injury, kicked six goals, while Roger Merrett booted five and Mark Harvey four.
Simon Madden won the Norm Smith Medal.
Essendon 6.4 11.9 15.11 26.14 (170)
Hawthorn 5.1 9.3 11.5 14.8 (92)
Best: Madden, Merrett, Salmon, Watson, Baker, Thompson
Goals: Salmon 6, Merrett 5, Harvey 4, Watson 3, Baker 2, Ezard 2, Williams 2, Thompson, Duckworth
Norm Smith Medal: Simon Madden
B: Mark Thompson, Paul Weston, Billy Duckworth
HB: Garry Foulds, Kevin Walsh, Glenn Hawker
C: Bryan Wood, Tim Watson, Neil Clarke
HF: Terry Daniher, Roger Merrett, Mark Harvey
F: Leon Baker, Paul Salmon, Paul Vander Haar
R: Simon Madden, Darren Williams, Tony Elshaug
I: Stephen Carey, Alan Ezard
Coach: Kevin Sheedy
Captain: Terry Daniher
Average age: 25
Average games: 113
Best and fairest: Tim Watson
Leading goalkicker: Mark Harvey (48)