Stewart Crameri has kicked seven goals against his old side as the Western Bulldogs thumped Essendon by 87 points.
On a disappointing day for the Bombers, Crameri eclipsed their total score with his career-best personal tally of 7.2 in the 19.13 (127) to 5.10 (40) demolition.
With percentage likely to play a big role as sides jockey for positions in the top eight, the big win could prove pivotal as the Bulldogs storm towards September.
Lachie Hunter continued his fine run of form with a 37-possession performance, but the headline act was the potent Dogs’ forward line that also featured four-goal bags from Jake Stringer and Tory Dickson.
Crameri managed just one goal from two encounters with Essendon last year in his first season with the Dogs, but he enjoyed a day out at Etihad Stadium.
“He’d feel good about that,” Luke Beveridge said.
“He would have lots of people from Essendon who would have been right in his corner as an Essendon player but once you leave that’s all gone and there’s no soft spots, so it’s great for him to come out and do that.
“It didn’t really work out for him and us early (this year) but to his credit he went back to VFL level. It took a few weeks to be selected (for AFL) but we’ve seen the fruits of him putting his head down and working hard right now.
“It would be nice to think that he’s got a fair bit more in him, and we think he has, in the back end of the year.”
There was little evidence of what was to come in a dour first quarter under the closed roof that yielded just one goal, to Crameri, as both sides engaged in an ugly display of possession-heavy circle work.
But Beveridge managed to straighten up his Bulldogs, who came out and kicked the first four goals of the second term on the back of a more direct and daring approach.
The Bombers didn’t venture inside their attacking 50 for the first 15 minutes of the quarter as the Dogs opened up a 32-point lead, with Mitch Wallis important on the ball and Crameri and Stringer doing the damage up forward.
Stringer kicked three goals in a devastating seven minutes as the Bulldogs took the game away from Essendon to lead by 39 points at halftime and then 70 points at three-quarter time.
The Bombers had few winners in a largely lacklustre display, but Dyson Heppell was valiant with 32 touches and nine clearances, while Brent Stanton gathered 34 possessions and kicked a goal.
A dejected James Hird found few positives in the performance that dropped his side to a 5-12 record.
“I thought we played well in the first then after that our game dropped away considerably,” Hird said.
“It was a very disappointing result. Our players got dictated to and we didn’t stand up in the contest when we needed to.”