Despite a competitive start the VFLW Demons were quickly blown out of the water as Essendon romped to a massive 67-point win over Casey.
The win helps the Bombers book a Grand Final spot in two weeks’ time as they barely looked challenged after half time to run out 11.10 (76) to 1.3 (9) winners.
But Casey wasn’t completely powerless, with its defence holding as firm as possible to negate many of Essendon’s forward stars.
In a tight first few minutes, the Demons looked strong and capable against the league’s top side, maintaining composure and breaking even through the middle of the ground.
Maeve Chaplin (14 disposals, six tackles, six clearances) relished her move into the midfield, using her strength and booming kick to often launch the Dees into attacking thrusts as she looked like a wonderful leader in the absence of captain Sammie Johnson.
Down back Rebecca Grant (15 touches, five marks) was sensational, intercepting many Essendon attempts at goal and often proving a thorn in the Bomber’s side throughout the one-sided contest.
With Mel Hogg (12 disposals, eight tackles) and Alison Brown (15 touches) all also leading from the front, it took until halfway through the first term for Essendon to take the lead with the game’s opening goal.
Only four points down at the first break, Casey was unlucky not to be in front, as two attempts on goal from Charlotte Blair and Katie Angelis both narrowly missed going through for a game-changing goal.
The Bombers put Casey to the sword in the second term, slamming on six goals to none as they assumed dominance on their home ground and took a massive 42-point lead into half time.
Despite the Demons’ best efforts, Essendon’s versatile midfield and forward line proved unbeatable in the second quarter as Casey did everything it could to remain in touch before half time.
Down by a big margin at the main break, Peter Mercoulia’s side did everything it could to restrict Essendon and limit the damage.
Grant and Brown were both stellar in the third quarter, beating their opponents and intercepting many Essendon moves, while the Wales’ twins were also important.
The Bombers still managed to add two late goals in the quarter, before coasting to a big 67-point win in the final quarter.
Despite the Demons’ best efforts, their valiant spirit under fire finally gave way as Essendon ran home with a gust of goals to move onto the Grand Final in two weeks’ time.
But it wasn’t all doom and gloom for Casey, as Alison Dowler provided a late highlight with a wonderful solo effort that gave the Demons its first goal of the day late into the fourth quarter.
Captain Ally Kirkwood ensured the Demons finally managed to develop some attacking momentum as they attacked and put Essendon under some pressure in the final minutes of the match.
Casey will have to move quickly to pick itself up and regather for next week, where it will face either Hawthorn or the Southern Saints for a chance to meet Essendon again in the VFLW Grand Final.
ESSENDON 1.1 7.3 9.6 11.10 (76)
CASEY 0.3 0.3 0.3 1.3 (9)
DISPOSALS: Grant, Brown 15, Chaplin 14, Harasimiuk 13, Hogg 12, S. Wales 11
BEST: Chaplin, Grant, Hogg, Brown, L. Wales, Harasimiuk, S. Wales