It took a clutch set shot in the dying minutes for Essendon to snatch a win from the SUNS at Metricon Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The SUNS led at both the quarter time and half time breaks, but a surging third quarter by the Bombers brought them back into the contest.
A valiant fourth term by the SUNS had them ahead with just over a minute left on the clock, however the set shot from Cale Hooker in the last minute dashed the hopes of SUNS fans at the death.
“We’re heartbroken in a way but also proud of our effort as well,” midfielder Anthony Miles told SUNS Media post-match.
“You never want to lose but to be in the game with a minute left, those ones can fall either way and unfortunately we were on the wrong side of it.
“Everyone is hurting but you’ve got two choices.
“You can drop the bottom lip and let it affect the next four rounds or you can take the positives out of it and get back on the horse and really springboard into the next four weeks.”
The SUNS were long odds coming up against the Bombers, but defied expectations to be in a position to win the game deep in the final quarter.
Miles said it was reaffirmation that the SUNS are building a sustainable brand of football which stands up to the rigours of playing finals-bound teams.
“They’re a really quality side, they’re probably going to play finals this year,” Miles said.
“We knew they’d come and we probably matched it with them in the first half of the third quarter but they got on top of us (after that).
“The fight and the heart to come back in the last quarter and put our noses in front, I’m super proud of this group.
“Internally we’ve known that (our brand of football stacks up).
“We’re a young group, a developing group, and we know internally that’s what we expect and I think we showed that tonight for sure.”
The SUNS have another opportunity to continue its competitive streak against 6th-placed Collingwood this weekend.
“It’s going to hurt for a day or two but we’re really looking forward to jumping back on the bus,” Miles said.
“We love getting away together, we’re a really close group so getting down to Melbourne will be great.”