Darcy Parish and Josh Begley celebrate a goal in Essendon’s win over Carlton. Picture: Getty Images
Darcy Parish and Josh Begley celebrate a goal in Essendon’s win over Carlton. Picture: Getty Images

Bombers turn the heat on Blues

CALTON flew Dylan Shiel to Noosa last year in a failed bid to woo him.

Perhaps this October, the Blues should hire a villa in the Bahamas as part of plans to land Greater Western Sydney superstar Stephen Coniglio.

It was excruciating to watch at times, but Essendon cut the head off the snake by shutting out Carlton captain Patrick Cripps in the 41-point win over the Blues at the MCG.

Closely tagged by Dylan Clarke, the Bombers held Cripps to less than 13 possessions for the second time in three weeks, surely sparking conversations at the club about whether the captain courageous needs more of a rest after trying to manfully carry the Blues on his shoulders.

More than anything, Cripps needs onball help, and Coniglio is the dominant ball-winner the Blues can get for nothing as a free agent at the end of the year, after a blistering three-goal 36-possession effort for the Giants on Saturday.

So, it's time Blues' list chief Stephen Silvagni booked that retreat for the end-of-season chat with the hard-nut, if he's still out-of-contract.

The loser of this one was always going to cop the blowtorch and in wet conditions the Blues' midfield-forward connection was again putrid, intensifying the speculation on Brendon Bolton's position after the club made a strong stand on Dale Thomas's pre-game drinking earlier this week.

Essendon’s Dylan Clarke keeps a close check on Patrick Cripps. Picture: Michael Klein
Essendon’s Dylan Clarke keeps a close check on Patrick Cripps. Picture: Michael Klein

Carlton has won only four of the past 40 matches, one of the most torrid stretches in AFL history. And this was their lowest score of the season.

That progress we saw from Carlton over the first six rounds has ground to a halt and now the Carlton train is being robbed by rival teams.

At half-time, three of Carlton's most exciting young stars Charlie Curnow, Sam Petrevski-Seton and Harry McKay all had only five possessions each.

We thought Curnow was one of the league's most prodigious talents and he finally hit his straps in the third term, plucking a nice mark over Michael Hurley to kick a pair of goals.

But four goals from the whole team for the entire game is enough for Carlton fans to think about not turning up again next week. And that's a big problem.

Lion-hearted ruckman Matthew Kreuzer was one of the few who looked dangerous, and Sam Walsh kept running, but the Blues would have wanted to have performed better against an injury-ravaged Essendon.

TIME TO SHINE

The green shoots Bolton talks about were there to see for Essendon.

Darcy Parish had another excellent game after starting the year in the VFL and kicked a gem on the run in the second quarter to help spark the Bombers.

Kyle Langford is another who is coming on in a reworked forward role, and showed his class banging home a similarly important goal running inside 50m when the game was still alive.

Even Jayden Laverde who missed two early set shots threatened in attack as he looks to cement his place.

Matt Guelfi, the peroxide hard-nut, has been a terrific find and livewire Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti was the difference slotting two brilliant crumbing goals to kick away from the Blues in the second half.

He's one of the most accurate finishers on goal in the league, 'Tippa', bagging 19.2 for the season.

Captain Dyson Heppell played arguably his best game of the season and led admirably and Michael Hurley and Cale Hooker helped control the game with their strong marking in defence.

For all the heat on the Bombers last week, they are now only one game outside the eight, with some big names to return from injury over the next few weeks.

Matt Guelfi gets away from Patrick Cripps. Picture: Michael Klein
Matt Guelfi gets away from Patrick Cripps. Picture: Michael Klein

MAKESHIFT MOVE

It's been hard finding silver linings at Ikon Park this season.

But Levi Casboult is quickly becoming one of them.

The full-forward's career was at the crossroads this year but the big man has flourished in his new, and somewhat unexpected role as a full back.

Following in Liam Jones's footsteps, Casboult was good again on Shaun McKernan, often getting a fist or putting on a body spoil to curb the Essendon forward.

He's struggled with his goal kicking accuracy over his career but Casboult's form in the back line over the past month has been a positive.

Jones is still out with concussion.

GUTSY EFFORT

This was courage personified from Petrevski-Seton.

Wearing the long sleeves, the young Carlton midfielder bravely backed back with the flight into a pair of oncoming players and was crunched in the marking contest.

With arms outstretched, Petrevski-Seton was totally unprotected when teammate Lachie Plowman came through and made heavy contact into his back and rib cage.

The No. 5 stayed down for about one minute and didn't have much impact on the match.

But for all the times we highlight when players don't go hard enough, this was exactly the opposite.

Charlie Curnow snaps a goal for the Blues. Picture: Michael Klein
Charlie Curnow snaps a goal for the Blues. Picture: Michael Klein

HARD YARDS

Alex Fasolo is fighting to extend his career.

But the livewire forward might struggle to keep his spot for Saturday's clash against Brisbane Lions.

The former Magpie was called up to play his third game for the year at his new club but had a quiet day deep forward, not that the delivery in attack was much help.

He set up an early Kreuzer goal from a tight angle but was outmarked on occasions when his Blues' teammates sat the ball on his head moving forward.

ESSENDON 2.3 5.4 8.5 11.8 (74)

CARLTON 2.2 2.4 4.8 4.9 (33)

GOALS

Essendon: McDonald-Tipungwuti 3, Laverde 2, Parish 2, Baguley 2, Heppell, Langford

Carlton: C.Curnow 2, Kreuzer, McKay

BEST

Essendon: Heppell, Parish, Hooker, Clarke, McDonald-Tipungwuti, Hurley, McGrath

Carlton: Kreuzer, Walsh, Casboult, E Curnow, Dow

INJURIES

Essendon: Nil

Carlton: Nil

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Power, Stevic, Mollison

Official crowd: 50,423 at the MCG