Essendon have gained an important morale boost at the expense of fierce AFL rivals Carlton, easily beating them by 60 points.
In their first hitout of a season full of uncertainty, the Bombers took full toll of the Blues’ inexperience and cantered to a 1.13.8 (95) to 1.3.8 (35) NAB Challenge win on Sunday at Ikon Park.
Carlton were hosting Essendon at the ground for the first time since 1992 and it quickly became an anti-climax for the Blues.
On a perfect late-summer afternoon, 18,718 fans saw the Bombers kick nine unanswered goals from three minutes into the first quarter until seven minutes into the third.
The Blues were missing captain Marc Murphy as well as fellow front-liners such as Bryce Gibbs, Patrick Cripps, Matthew Kreuzer, Andrew Walker and Dale Thomas – and it showed.
When the game was in the balance Essendon dominated at the stoppages and Carlton made life even harder for themselves with continual turnovers.
Early in the third term, two Blues players spoiled each other.
While it is far too early to judge David Parkin’s comment last week that Carlton’s list is weaker than Essendon’s, it was an ideal start for the Bombers.
Carlton had billed this game as a blooding of the kids and No.1 draft pick Jacob Weitering immediately showed why he warranted that selection.
The key defender had the better of Joe Daniher when he played on the Essendon forward and immediately looked comfortable as an AFL player.
Prominent father-son pick Jack Silvagni came on in the second half and nearly kicked a goal with his first possession.
Essendon’s top draft pick Darcy Parish, the No.5 selection, also had a solid game.
The Bombers played four of the 10 replacements who are filling in for the dozen who are missing the season because of doping bans.
Ryan Crowley spent plenty of time in attack and kicked a goal on the final siren.
Fellow replacements Jonathan Simpkin, Sam Grimley and Sam Michael also had ample game time.
Stand-in captain Brendon Goddard was solid with three goals before he suffered a head knock in the third term.
Eleni Goulftsis, the AFL’s first female field umpire, took the opening bounce of the match.
She was rotated off for the third term and showed she deserves more senior opportunities.
Essendon’s Nick Kommer could be on report for an incident on the wing in the second term where he made high contact with Weitering.