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The drive will remain

Simon Conway  September 9, 2017 10:01 PM

BTV: EF | Dyson Heppell post-game We spoke with the Captain after the game.

Essendon Captain Dyson Heppell says the Bombers finals exit doesn’t reflect the overall improvement of the Club this season.

The Dons were soundly beaten by Sydney in the Elimination Final.

It was the first time the side has qualified for the finals since 2014.

“It’s a super disappointing way to finish the season … it will take quite a while for it to sink in and we’ll reflect on the year in the next few days but I think it’s been a super effort by the footy club,” Heppell said.

“Coming back from what we were building last year, continued on this year.

“We’ve now played 23 games together and we’ve improved out of sight right throughout this year.

“The organisation is in a really strong place and we’re just as hungry as ever for success.

“I don’t think tonight was a real measuring stick on where this footy Club’s at.”

The Bombers fielded nine finals debutants while the Swans boasted just two.

The home side’s experience and strong-bodied approach was most noticeable in a ten goal second term.

“This is a great opportunity to learn, it doesn’t come around very often,” Heppell said.

“Sydney really showed the measuring stick for what finals footy is all about and we’ll take some great learnings from that and build towards something bigger and better.”

More than 46,000 fans were in attendance for the match including more than 10,000 Essendon fans.

Their roar was intense from the outset, particularly when Joe Daniher pulled down a screamer and kicked the opening goal of the game.

“It has been incredible, I couldn’t believe the turnout tonight, it was fantastic,” Heppell said.

“We matched them in noise at stages.

“I can’t thank the fans enough on behalf of the playing group, they’ve been absolutely super and I know they’ll continue to stick by us.”

Despite the sour end to the season, Heppell said he's pleased with the direction the Club is heading in.

“I couldn’t be prouder about the way we’ve gone about our footy, the development of the players, the time put in from the rest of the staff to really work towards a strong culture and aligning our vision,” Heppell said.

“I’m super proud to be part of the Club and I can’t wait to try to drive this Club forward into the future.”