Despite Essendon securing a ticket to September, John Worsfold is not yet turning his attention to finals, with the Bombers coach instead focused on Friday night's huge clash against Collingwood.
The Bombers' September chances looked under threat after its 104-point loss to the Bulldogs last week, but Saturday's 32-point win over Fremantle confirmed the club a finals spot.
Worsfold said the club would not be tempted to start thinking about finals, but rather was focused on its Friday night clash with Collingwood, which could prove to be an elimination final preview.
"We've got a game to go. (Finals) will take care of itself. I'm a big stickler for the season is (23) rounds long and the rest rolls on," Worsfold said.
"So I'm really keen to see how we finish the home-and-away season off and then we can focus on that."
Essendon beat Fremantle on Saturday night despite losing contested possessions by 54.
But Worsfold said this differential did not concern him and he was always confident his players could punish the Dockers on the counterattack.
And even though his side's performance against Fremantle was in stark contrast to its efforts against the Bulldogs, Worsfold said his level of pride in the players never dipped.
"I was proud of them last week … my level of proudness, if there's a measure of it, doesn't change because I know it wasn't deliberate and you do just have those days," Worsfold said.
"I knew they would re-focus and come out and give it everything today, even with no guarantee of a win. I knew they would come over here and back themselves to throw everything into the game."
The Bombers may enter next week's clash and possibly even the first week of finals without midfielder David Zaharakis, who suffered a left-foot injury in the second term against the Dockers.
Worsfold admitted he was unsure about the severity of the injury.
"We'll have to wait and see exactly what that is but obviously if they don't finish a game it's never a good sign for the next week. But we need to check all that out," he said.