THE Northern Blues were playing for their season but stalled at the start line as Williamstown kicked six first-quarter goals to one at Burbank Oval
The Blues never recovered, trailing for the rest of the day by more than six goals before a late rally left the final score 17.9 (111) to 11.15 (81).
Western Bulldogs-listed Liam Jones led the Williamstown attack with six goals, while two-goal Fraser Dale led the Blues’ challenge along with Kane Lambert and Marcus Davies.
Northern Blues (8-10) are locked into ninth.
Essendon will play VFL finals after winning its virtual
elimination final against North Ballarat Roosters by 39 points in the
last home-and-away round on Saturday.
But Northern Blues were pipped at the post, eliminated from the finals race with a 30-point loss against Williamstown.
Essendon kept a high-scoring pace for four quarters to leave North
Ballarat in its wake after half-time at Windy Hill, winning 18.17 (125)
to 13.8 (86).
The Bombers left their run to the top eight late but enter the
finals as one of the VFL’s form teams after winning six of its last
Essendon fell 18 points down midway through the quarter but Tom
Bellchambers (two goals) and Cory Dell’Olio combined to quickly get
Essendon back on track to level scores 37 each at quarter- time.
Essendon kept the upper hand through the middle quarters, threatening to break the game open but kicking inaccurately.
Ben Duscher’s goal early in the final quarter gave Essendon an
arms-length lead of 30 points and if not for more inaccurate kicking the
Bombers could have put the game to bed much earlier than Patrick
Ambrose’s running goal midway through the term.