After an 11-point loss to Collingwood on Friday night, Essendon will finish the home-and-away season no higher than seventh position, which means you can lock in an away elimination final.
But that’s as far as certainties go, with the Bombers still able to face either West Coast, Collingwood, Richmond or Greater Western Sydney at Optus Stadium, the MCG or GIANTS Stadium in two weeks’ time.
It all comes down to this weekend’s remaining games in round 23. Well, three to be precise.
West Coast (4th) v Hawthorn (9th), 8:10pm AEST, Saturday, Optus Stadium
Western Bulldogs (8th) v Adelaide (10th), 1:10pm AEST, Sunday, Mars Stadium
Richmond (5th) v Brisbane (1st), 3:20pm AEST, Sunday, MCG
So, how will the Bombers’ elimination final opponent be determined? Let’s take a closer look…
Scenario 1: GWS v Essendon, GIANTS Stadium
What needs to happen: Western Bulldogs lose to Adelaide.
Scenario 2: Collingwood v Essendon, MCG
What needs to happen: West Coast defeats/draws with Hawthorn, Richmond defeats/draws with Brisbane AND Western Bulldogs defeat Adelaide.
The Bombers could meet the Pies again in two weeks. (Photo: AFL Photos)
Scenario 3: Richmond v Essendon, MCG
What needs to happen: Richmond loses to Brisbane AND Western Bulldogs defeat Adelaide.
BUT… Richmond could still lose narrowly to Brisbane and leapfrog West Coast, if the Eagles lose to Hawthorn by 10 goals or more. This would result in an elimination final against West Coast at Optus Stadium.
Scenario 4: West Coast v Essendon, Optus Stadium
What needs to happen: West Coast loses to Hawthorn, Richmond defeats/draws with Brisbane AND Western Bulldogs defeat Adelaide.
So there you have it: the Bombers' fate not being determined until late afternoon on Sunday.
It all bodes for an intriguing weekend of footy ahead.