Carlton’s Marc Murphy was fired up for revenge and spearheaded his AFL side’s 16-goal demolition of Essendon on Saturday at the MCG.
The Blues kept themselves in the hunt for a place in the finals with their 24.12 (156) to 8.12 (60) victory in a spiteful round-21 clash in front of 59,381 fans.
Carlton improved their win-loss record to 11-9. The Bombers are also on 11-9 after suffering their fifth consecutive defeat and their soft-tissue problems have continued with injuries to key defenders Dustin Fletcher and Jake Carlisle.
Injury-plagued forward Jarrad Waite, in just his ninth game for the season, booted five goals for the Blues while Murphy had 37 possessions.
Murphy had said after Carlton’s five-goal loss to Essendon in round four that he couldn’t wait to play the Bombers again. The Blues were smarting over the tackle by Essendon’s Sam Lonergan which left midfielder Andrew Carrazzo on the sidelines for seven matches with a fractured shoulder.
Carrazzo was another key contributor with 18 possessions and a solid defensive role on Essendon skipper Jobe Watson.
Carlton kicked five goals to Essendon’s two in Saturday’s opening term.
Blues utility Bryce Gibbs sparked an all-in melee at quarter-time with a heavy tackle on Essendon’s Dyson Heppell as the siren sounded on the wing.
Mitch Robinson’s tangle with Essendon’s Carlile is one of several clashes that could come under scrutiny from the match-review panel.
The Bombers subbed out two-time All-Australian Fletcher, 37, with a hip-flexor muscle injury during the first quarter.
Carlton went on a rampage in the second term, winning the centre clearances 10-2 and kicking 10 goals to Essendon’s four to power ahead by 52 points at halftime.
Essendon lost a second tall defender when Carlisle limped off in the third term with what appeared to be an ankle injury.
The Blues surged further ahead with a five-goal third quarter to Essendon’s solitary major to Brent Stanton as Carlton took a 79-point advantage into the final term.
Essendon also managed only one goal in the final term to Carlton’s four, which included Murphy kicking his second goal after the final siren to cap off a brilliant performance.
Essendon face Richmond and premiership contenders Collingwood in the final two rounds while Carlton play Gold Coast and St Kilda.