Essendon finished eighth and should have been in the finals, but due to penalties by the AFL for the supplements scandal were stripped of the opportunity. This year we finished seventh and tonight faced the sixth place North Melbourne in an elimination final at the MCG. Both teams have not played that consistently throughout the year, so it really was anyone's game. My ticket guardian angels for this season Simon and Colette were kind enough to let me join them for the match. Essendon had an excellent start kicking the first two goals, but North played well in the second part of the quarter and brought the score back to within a point. However, the second quarter was all Essendon as we gained a 27 point lead and held North to only one point for the whole quarter.
Essendon's lead was up to 33 points early in the third quarter, but then the tide turned as North managed to kick five goals in eleven minutes. The burst came out of nowhere and completely shifted the momentum of the match as North got to within 3 points. Both teams kicked goal for goal for a period, but as we entered the fourth quarter you could sense it was only a matter of time before North hit the lead. Once they did, Essendon managed to get back in front, but from there on it was a nail biter as the lead switched back and forth. Within the last four minutes North managed to kick two goals and that was it for Essendon and our finals hopes. It was a disappointing loss as we shouldn't have given away the game after such a big lead. Not playing for the full four quarters has been an issue all year and this time it cost us dearly. Considering all the distractions the players have faced it was a great effort to make it into the finals. Hopefully they will take some lessons from this season and come back next year mentally stronger. I also hope that Mark "Bomber" Thompson stays at the club as he has been so entertaining as a coach this year while James Hird was suspended.
North Melbourne: 14.9 (93)
Essendon: 12.9 (81)