Launceston turned on some Melbourne weather for its all-Victorian elimination final and it was the Western Bulldogs who better weathered the storm.
As clouds hung over UTAS Stadium and the rain poured, Cody Weightman provided a ray of sunshine in a 13.7 (85) to 4.12 (36) victory over Essendon which takes the Dogs through to a semi-final against Brisbane at the Gabba on Saturday.
Individually equalling the Bombers' tally, Weightman's four goals all came courtesy of free-kicks as Jack Macrae and Tom Liberatore dominated the disposal stats with 36 and 35 respectively.
Meanwhile, Essendon's 17-year wait for a post-season victory was extended with a fifth elimination final defeat.
The second half proved the difference as the Bombers chose a terrible time to record their third and fourth goalless terms of the season.
After two tight opening quarters, the Doggies kicked 11 of the last 12 goals.
A first quarter of attrition was narrowly edged by the Bulldogs courtesy of two goals in as many minutes from Weightman and Mitch Hannan but also some Bombers' profligacy.
Dylan Shiel, Aaron Francis and Tom Cutler all squandered glorious chances to add to the game's opening goal, predictably kicked by Jake Stringer against the team he helped win the 2016 flag on a ground where he bagged four a couple of months ago.
The second-quarter slugfest ultimately finished dead level although consecutive goals to Aaron Naughton, Weightman and Josh Schache gave the Dogs a then-game-high lead of 11 before Stringer's second built on early strikes by Devon Smith and the excellent Darcy Parish, who also finished the contest on 35 disposals.
Weightman provided the momentum swing with two goals in three minutes midway through the third and when Schache claimed his second, Luke Beveridge and his men were halfway home.
Laitham Vandermeer, Hannan, a late double from Naughton and a Bailey Smith finish much more attractive than his mullet continued the one-way traffic in the last.
In contrast to the red and white-dominated crowd for Saturday's Sydney derby, a Melbourne equivalent of 9760 witnessed a healthy mix of red and blue as Tasmanian fans of both clubs snapped up the chance to watch their team in their home state.
The victory flew in the face of the Bulldogs' poor record of just one win in six visits to Launceston - dating back to Hawthorn's premiership year of 2008.
But, like the pre-game entertainment from the Bad Dad Orchestra, on this occasion they just kept hitting all the right notes.
Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said he could see what it meant to his team to end a five-year finals drought.
Having not won a post-season contest since their dramatic 2016 premiership, Sunday's win over Essendon in Launceston had been a long time coming.
Asked what meant most to him, Beveridge said: "The satisfaction in the players' eyes and looks on their faces and the understanding that our supporters would get an enormous lift out of that.
"I'm relieved that we got the win and satisfied to see the joy and happiness on people's faces.
"I'm so happy for the players. We have not won a final for a while and everyone felt the pressure and to come through that is a great experience for us all."
Beveridge attributed the 49-point win to "an even consistent contribution from all our players" and admitted his team "scored by stealth" at times in the Tasmanian rain.
The coach reserved special praise for young Cody Weightman whose four free-kick goals proved pivotal when the contest was still in the balance.
"He was brilliant - in the air, on the ground - and obviously kicked straight and round corners. He's come on in leaps and bounds and I'm rapt for him in such a big game. He's such a good player and a great young fella and so important in how we do things."
Beveridge was reluctant to discuss his team's battleplans, but excited by the prospect of more finals.
"My philosophy on internal themes is you don't really talk about them unless you win the whole thing. The critical thing is that players drive some of it. They drove the emotion today and drove the spirit and our second half was enormous.
"It's encouraging as we look ahead to a very formidable opponent in Brisbane in Queensland but our guys have been unbelievable on the road this year so travel will not concern us and we'll look on it as an opportunity."
Bombers captain Dyson Heppell was magnanimous in defeat and said his club had much to be proud of from a challenging season.
"It's a tough one to sink in. We felt like we gave ourselves a real opportunity and came in with a lot of belief," he said.
"It's flattening - the guys are extremely disappointed. I thought we were outstanding in the first half and stood up to the heat. They just showed the next level above, they are an outstanding outfit the Bulldogs and showed what we have to build on.
"I'm so proud to play for Essendon footy club and the connection and care that runs deep throughout our members and supporters and I can't thank them enough for their amazing support and we'll be back bigger and better next season."
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