Hawthorn have handed Essendon the biggest defeat of their nightmare AFL season, thumping the listless Bombers by 108 points at Etihad Stadium.
Even with Hawthorn stars Luke Hodge and Sam Mitchell out due to injury, the depleted Dons were lambs to the slaughter against the reigning premiers in a 23.13 (151) to 6.7 (43) horror show on Friday night.
With 12 of their best players serving anti-doping suspensions, Essendon were always going to struggle this year, but there was an air of resignation about John Worsfold’s side as they slumped to their 10th loss in a row.
Perhaps making matters worse, Alastair Clarkson won’t be thrilled with aspects of his Hawks’ performance in a largely lacklustre affair.
Jordan Lewis led the way with 36 possessions for Hawthorn.
Grant Birchall and Liam Shiels were also prominent, while Jack Gunston, Paul Puopolo and Luke Breust each kicked four goals in the percentage-boosting win.
For the Bombers, David Zaharakis continued his fine season under difficult circumstances with 33 disposals, and Zach Merrett was also influential.
The Bombers started brightly enough, with Joe Daniher – who fought bravely all night – kicking his side’s opening two goals.
But that spark was quickly extinguished by the Hawks, who slammed through the next eight goals unanswered to lead by 30 point at quarter-time and 58 at the main break.
The third quarter lowered the bar even further in terms of spectacle, with turnovers coming from both sides in front of the crowd of 27,567 – the lowest for a clash between the two teams at the venue.
The margin was 76 points as the final term got underway, with the Hawks adding junk-time goals seemingly at will before the final siren put the contest out of its misery.
MORE TO COME