Bombers stun Blues for best start since 2000

ESSENDON 3.6  8.11  12.17  15.19 (109)
CARLTON 4.4  4.7  5.12  11.13 (79)
Goals: Essendon: S Crameri 5 A Davey 3 A Monfries B Stanton D Fletcher D Zaharakis J Melksham M Hurley P Ryder. Carlton: E Betts 4 B Gibbs B McLean C Judd J Garlett M Murphy M Robinson S Hampson.
Umpires: Brett Rosebury, Dean Margetts, Matthew Leppard.
Official Crowd: 73,172 at MCG.

Essendon has scored a massive upset AFL win, beating Carlton by 30 points on Saturday at the MCG.

Captain Jobe Watson and Brent Stanton were outstanding in the midfield and Stewart Crameri kicked five goals as the Bombers won 15.19 (109) to 11.13 (79).

While the two sides had started the season with three wins, the Blues were the strong favourites and Essendon were $8 outsiders.

But early injuries to Andrew Carrazzo and Jeremy Laidler put Carlton off balance and Essendon's pressure from the start was outstanding in front of 73,172 fans.

It has set up an absorbing Anzac Day clash between Essendon and Collingwood next Wednesday at the MCG.

This is Essendon's best start to the season since their last premiership in 2000.


A week after their thumping win over Collingwood, this loss is a slap in the face to the Blues and a stern reality check for a team expected to make the top four.

Apart from Carrazzo and Laidler, teammate Jeff Garlett also suffered a toe injury.

But Essendon key forward Michael Hurley, one of their most important players, continued their early-season run of soft tissue injuries when he hurt his hamstring.

Carlton had a disastrous start to the game when Laidler was caught in a tackle in the first minute and re-injured the knee he hurt during the pre-season.

Carrazzo, who was best afield in last weekend's massive win over Collingwood, then had to come off the field with a shoulder injury.

Laidler was able to come back onto the field, but was clearly below full fitness, while Carrazzo went straight to hospital for tests.

The Blues rallied to lead by 11 points during the opening quarter and had a four-point lead at the first change.

But Essendon were working harder and quickly took the lead in the second term.

The Bombers stunned Carlton, kicking 5.5 to three behinds in the second quarter for a 28-point lead at halftime.

Veteran full-back Dustin Fletcher, the oldest player in the league, delighted the Essendon fans with a booming 50m goal.

Still, it was not all Essendon's way, with Hurley limping off late in the second quarter.

Hurley had been superb in the second term as Essendon took control.

The Blues rallied after halftime, with Eddie Betts kicking the first goal of the third term, but they blew a number of chances.

Inevitably, the momentum swung back Essendon's way and the Bombers kicked the last four goals of the term for a 47-point lead at three-quarter time.

With the match under control, Essendon spent much of the game slowing down play and conserving as much energy as possible ahead of Anzac Day.

That opened the door slightly for the Blues, who kicked five goals to one.

But immediately after Carlton captain Chris Judd goaled to reduce the margin to 24 points, Angus Monfries replied at 20 minutes to ensure the win.

Marc Murphy was best for the Blues and Eddie Betts kicked four goals.



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