ESSENDON 2.5 6.6 7.8 8.12 (60)
CARLTON 5.3 15.4 20.9 24.12 (156)
A stunning second quarter, dominant displays across the board and another couple of Essendon injuries were the major stories from Carlton’s demolition of a 96-point victory over Essendon.
It had the atmosphere of a final, and just like the last one these two teams battled in, the scoreboard followed a similar trend.
But a final currently looks unlikely for Essendon as a result of Carlton’s supreme performance.
It was tight early on, with both sides kicking early goals, giving the impression that with a spot in the eight on the line, this was going to be a hard-fought contest.
However, to define it as a contest after the 15-minute mark of the first quarter, which was approximately when Dustin Fletcher re-injured his adductor spoiling a ball in the backline, was difficult to say the least, as the Blues slammed home four goals in eight minutes to lead at quarter time.
And from there, the navy blue wave completely swamped the Bombers. Despite them kicking four goals for the quarter, Carlton bettered it with ten – their best second quarter for the year.
Jarrad Waite had kicked two, Levi Casboult had kicked two, Kade Simpson, Marc Murphy and Brock McLean chipped in from the midfield and the Blues were ruthless in their attack.
The Dons’ prime movers in Jobe Watson, Brent Stanton and David Zaharakis were being well and truly restricted – although Watson finished with 29 possessions – which allowed just about all of the attack to go Carlton’s way.
Although captain Chris Judd wasn’t as influential as normal, Murphy, Simpson, McLean and Bryce Gibbs were all dominant through the midfield, and with Jake Carlisle joining Fletcher on the injury list, Essendon’s backline simply couldn’t stand up to the constant flux and pressure.
It allowed Jarrad Waite to kick five goals, something not seen by Carlton fans for a while, in what becomes a real boost for their still-genuine finals aspirations.
With the discovery of another target in Levi Casboult’s three goals, Jeff Garlett and Andrew Walker’s form with three each, and three goals also from both Simpson and McLean, Carlton ran riot.
It was easily enough and more to inflict Essendon’s fifth loss in a row and now sees Carlton leapfrog them on the ladder, and in a much better position to push for a spot in the top eight, all but ending Essendon’s once-guaranteed finals hopes.
Essendon: Crameri 2, Ryder 2, Watson, Lonergan, Stanton, Hurley
Carlton: Waite 5, McLean 3, Simpson 3, Walker 3, Garlett 3, Casboult 3, Betts 2, Murphy 2
Essendon: Watson, Hocking, Heppell, Stanton, Lee, Hibberd
Carlton: Murphy, Waite, McLean, Simpson, Gibbs, Yarran
Essendon: Fletcher (adductor), Carlisle (ankle)
Essendon: Leroy Jetta replaced Dustin Fletcher in the first quarter
Carlton: Tom Bell replaced Andrew Carrazzo in the final quarter
Umpires: McBurney, Farmer, Schmitt
Official crowd: 59,381 at the MCG