1. Unwanted streak continues for Bombers
We made a promise not to mention how many days it was since the Bombers last won a final, but a quick look at this article's headline can enlighten those wishing to add further misery to the long-suffering Essendon fans during the off-season. The good news is the future looks bright and a finals victory should not be too far away should Ben Rutten's side continue on their recent upward curve. Jye Caldwell (15 touches) was good at times on Sunday in what was his first match since round two and can form a formidable midfield partnership with the likes of proven stars Darcy Parish and Zach Merrett and upcoming ruckman Sam Draper. The Bombers have had an excellent campaign and Rutten has done plenty right this season just to lead them into the post-season. Don’t expect to see this streak last too much longer.
BULLDOGS v BOMBERS Full match coverage and stats
2. Flea feasts on free kicks
Livewire forward Cody Weightman proved a matchwinner for the Dogs with four valuable goals, although Essendon fans will quickly point out that all four of his majors came from free kicks. Debate will linger about some of those frees, but what can't be argued is that Weightman reads the ball superbly, puts himself in the right spot at the right time that will usually draw the attention of the on-field adjudicators. Weightman now has 25 goals for the season and the fact he is just as capable in the air as he is on the ground means he can be a star of the future.
3. Late reshuffle proves fruitful for wily Beveridge
When Peter Wright and the Bombers got a hold of the Dogs in round 21 the Dogs' defence looked undersized and vulnerable, but it was a different story on Sunday as Luke Beveridge reshuffled his troops with great effect. Alex Keath completely shut down Wright, while late inclusion Ryan Gardner was solid in defence too as he filled in admirably for experienced backman Zaine Cordy. But it was the decision to include Josh Schache and play him up forward alongside Aaron Naughton and Cody Weightman that proved most pivotal as the former No.2 draft pick - who was promoted from substitute to the starting 22 very late in proceedings - contributed 12 disposals, five telling marks and booted two valuable goals in what proved a masterstroke from the premiership-winning coach.
DOGS NOT DONE YET Bevo says travel and remaining teams hold no fear
4. In-form Parish runs out of helpers
Star midfielder Darcy Parish has done it all in 2021 and the Brownlow Medal fancy almost single-handedly pulled his side over the line on Sunday as he picked up 35 disposals and 10 clearances in a superb individual performance. Parish collected 16 touches and six clearances in the second term alone, but he failed to receive much support after half-time as the Dogs' deep midfield got on top and ran away to kick the final eight goals of what ended up being a one-sided contest.
DOGS HUNGRIER THAN DONS Rutten says free kicks were hard earned
5. Dogs relish wet weather on Apple Isle
Oft-discussed musical duo Milli Vanilli may have blamed it on the rain many moons ago, but it's unlikely Luke Beveridge will share their disdain for the weather following a typically wet and cold winters day in Launceston. The rain came in sideways at times and it was undoubtedly the Dogs who adjusted best. Midfield duo Tom Liberatore and Jackson Macrae relished the conditions like the proverbial pig in mud, combining for 71 disposals and 15 clearances as the Dogs gained the ascendancy in the clearances and got the game played on their terms when pulling away during an impressive second half.