1. The Bulldogs will rue their inaccuracy all summer
For a stretch in the second and third quarters, the Bulldogs had eight scoring shots. They kicked one goal and seven behinds, the last two coming from directly in front after simple misses from young gun Marcus Bontempelli. While we aren't to know if it was the nerves of playing in a knockout final or simply some bad conversion, the Bulldogs picked a bad night for it: their 14.18 scoreline was the most behinds they have kicked in a game this season. At least they had Tory Dickson, whose five goals straight were hugely important.
2. Eddie Betts is Carlton's gift to the Crows that keeps on giving
Betts was busy in the first term, kicking three goals for the quarter and setting up another. He kicked his fourth by strolling into goal midway through the second term, and booted another goal in the second half to finish with a bag of five. Eddie was everywhere, and he was unstoppable: Dale Morris found him too hard to tie down, and in the moments Liam Picken spent on him, Betts had too much zip. Betts has become a big-game performer, and the haul took his season tally to a career-best 63 goals. He has been one of free agency's biggest hits, booting 114 goals in two seasons with the Crows since crossing from Carlton at the end of 2013. The Blues have missed him – Andrejs Everitt led their goalkicking this season with 31 majors.
Behind the scenes: how the fans reacted
3. Everyone loves a shootout
Finals are notoriously hard-edged, tight and desperate affairs, sometimes at the expense of attractive footy. But that wasn't the case in Saturday night's elimination final between the Western Bulldogs and Adelaide at the MCG with an electric first term that might have been the best opening quarter of any game this season. The Bulldogs kicked four of the first five goals in a blistering start before the Crows hit back with five straight goals in an exhilarating display. The aggressive ball movement, risk taking in possession and daring run saw 10 goals shared between the clubs to quarter-time. The classic, end-to-end clash continued throughout, and was a timely reminder of how footy can (and should) be played. Although the Bulldogs came off second best, it will be remembered as one of the great finals.
Walker has been the face of the club and helped carry it through the tragic aftermath of Phil Walsh's death in the middle of the season. He has warranted the hero tag merely for his role in keep his team afloat. But the Crows’ captain was also the hero on Saturday night for his brilliant act in the final two minutes of the thrilling contest, with his individual effort setting up the match-winning goal. Walker's skilful act started at half-back, when he outbodied his Dogs' opponent to take a mark. With plenty of space behind him, he tucked the ball under his arm and took a couple of bounces down the members' wing. He calmly and coolly thought through the situation and could have bombed it long, but instead looked inboard where he saw teammate Charlie Cameron. He perfectly squared the 50m pass to Cameron, who duly went back to kick the goal and give the Crows their seven-point win.
5. Luke Beveridge pulled the right rein bringing back Will Minson
If there has been any major headache in Beveridge's fairytale first season in charge of the Bulldogs, it has been the ruck role. The Bulldogs have rolled a handful of big men through the position without too much success, with blue-chip midfielder Marcus Bontempelli even spending some time attending the hit-outs at stages. Despite not having played a senior game since round 15, Beveridge brought back Minson into the senior team and he competed well against Crows star Sam Jacobs. Minson held his own at the stoppages and helped his midfielders to a clear overall clearance win (46 to 26), while also making 26 hit-outs to Jacobs' 39.
6. Pencil Luke Dahlhaus into next year's All Australian team
Dahlhaus was one of five Bulldogs to be included in this year's squad of 40 All Australian nominees, which was announced next week. It was well deserved after an impressive year, but it seems unlikely he'll make the final cut of 22 in a couple of weeks. But on the form he showed on Saturday night, it might be worth pencilling him in for a gig next year. The dynamic 23-year-old was sensational early in his team's elimination final defeat, gathering 12 touches and kicking a goal in the opening term. He carried on with it to finish with 27 disposals, four clearances and six inside 50s in what was a terrific performance from the first-time finalist. Next year promises even bigger things.