Essendon's controversial season is over in all facets after its VFL team lost by 19 points to the Werribee Tigers in an elimination final at North Port Oval on Sunday.
Luke McDonald's final-quarter goal sealed the Tigers' win and they now advance to a cut-throat semi-final against the Casey Scorpions, who have had a disastrous finals run in recent seasons.
The Bombers' main contributor was Cory Dell'Olio, who kicked five goals and kept the Bombers within striking distance at the last change, although a Ben Speight goal right on the three-quarter-time siren hurt.
Werribee had the strong breeze at its back and a 16-point lead going into the final change and finished the game ahead with 17.14 (116) to 15.7 (97).
The Tigers, who are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their only flag in 1993, are confident of having a big impact in September.
''We're probably just a little bit off [pace] at the moment but again in any given day, you just never know. I don't think we will see any of those two teams [favourites Port Melbourne and Geelong] unless we get through to the grand final,'' Tigers coach Scott West said.
They will take on Casey without Kangaroos-listed Scott McMahon and Taylor Hine, who didn't play enough VFL games throughout the season to qualify for the remaining finals. Essendon's chances of victory suffered a blow pre-match with Jason Winderlich a late withdrawal with a hamstring setback, while Joe Daniher, who was named on Thursday night, had to undergo minor knee surgery, joining teammate Tom Bellchambers, who the club confirmed was having hip surgery.