K rock Football

Blues spoil Bombers’ party

CARLTON has spoiled arch-rival Essendon’s 150th-anniversary celebrations, recording a 26-point AFL victory to continue the Bombers’ horror season.

In front of 65,440 fans, Essendon put on a memorable pre-game show at the MCG as captain Dyson Heppell delivered a stirring address to players in a circle full of Bombers legends of the past 50 years.

But not even the emotion of a historic occasion could help Essendon pull off a giant upset as the 16th-placed Bombers stumbled to 2-10 this season.

Essendon lifted after Carlton slammed through the first three goals of the game but the Blues powered ahead by kicking 5.3 to 2.2 in the second quarter.

In an uninspiring final quarter, both teams went goalless after the Blues led by 28 points at three-quarter-time.

Carlton had too much class in the midfield, and up forward with twin towers Harry McKay (three goals) and Charlie Curnow (two), and ran out winners 12.8 (80) to 7.12 (54).

At 9-3, the Blues are surging towards their first finals appearance since 2013 but their injury list continues to grow.

Already without star fullback Jacob Weitering, midfielder Adam Cerra (hamstring) was subbed out in the first quarter against the Bombers and replaced by Matthew Cottrell.

Utility Jack Silvangi and midfielder Matt Kennedy looked sore at the end of the third quarter but were both able to return to the field in the final term.

Essendon was hit by the late withdrawal of key midfielder Andrew McGrath (groin) and was further impacted as fellow onballer Darcy Parish was subbed out in the third quarter with a suspected calf injury.

Comeback kid Sam Docherty was again one of Carlton’s best as he pushes his claims for All-Australian selection in his first season back after recovering from testicular cancer.

Adam Saad haunted his former club, with the dashing defender earning boos from Essendon supporters for every one of his 19 possessions.

The struggling Bombers will be back on the Friday night stage next week when they face red-hot St Kilda at Marvel Stadium, while the Blues will tackle Richmond at the MCG for the second time this season.

(C) AAP 2022