ESSENDON coach John Worsfold conceded his team was a long way off the pace, saying its inability to cope with finals pressure was exposed by West Coast on Thursday night.
The Bombers were never in the hunt against the reigning premier, outplayed from the opening minutes and eliminated from the 2019 season courtesy of a 55-point loss.
Worsfold said he was "flat" about the end to Essendon's season but went to great lengths to highlight the inexperience of his team.
"We had a lot of players playing their first final tonight," Worsfold said.
"We learn we're a bit short of that mark and that pressure of finals footy."
BOMBERS CRASH OUT AGAIN Full match coverage and stats
The Bombers were badly beaten at the coalface, losing contested footy 138-116, but just as disturbingly, butchered the ball when they had it, giving up 10 intercept marks in the first quarter alone.
Worsfold paid credit to West Coast's pressure and said the talent gap between the teams was obvious.
He said Essendon needed more continuity if it hoped to challenge the best teams in the competition.
"When you finish eighth, there's often a big gap to those teams that are fourth or fifth, and we saw that," Worsfold said.
"West Coast could have easily finished in the top two.
"I'm sure they're still highly touted as one of the flag favourites this year, and we finished eighth.
I don't think a team's ever won a flag from eighth.
"It's highly unlikely they're ever going to. They finish eighth because of experience and form over the course of 23 rounds.
"We're not at that level yet to be in that top group.
"That's what we're aiming to keep growing.
"We were relatively inexperienced team tonight, that'd be fair to say."
Worsfold said despite the loss he was proud of his team, particularly captain Dyson Heppell and key defender Michael Hurley who overcame injury to play.
Third-year wingman Andrew McGrath and running defender Adam Saad were also praised.
"We'll keep building a group that's going to grow in experience and play more footy together and we'll become a strong group," he said.