They looked faster and more dangerous going forward, and much more assured in defence, where Michael Hurley and Cale Hooker mopped up almost at will. Hurley had taken Alex Fasolo to the cleaners in the first half. The Blues shifted Charlie Curnow to Hurley after the break. Curnow kicked two third-term majors to keep Carlton’s flame flickering, but against the midfield excellence of Dyson Heppell and Darcy Parish, the Blues’ moves were in vain.
Essendon youngster Dylan Clarke was playing just his second game, and first in more than a year. His inclusion proved to be inspired. Clarke was given the job of running with Blues skipper Patrick Cripps. Having been stopped in his tracks by Greater Western Sydney’s Matt de Boer in round nine, Cripps was nullified for the second time in a fortnight, comprehensively beaten by the close-checking Clarke.
With Cripps well held, the rest of the inexperienced Carlton midfield failed to stand up as needed. Playing just his second game of the year, Matthew Kennedy was particularly underwhelming. One Blue who deserved a tick however was Ed Curnow. The veteran was charged with stopping Essendon prime mover Zach Merrett, and performed the role well.
Just the Tippa the iceberg
If a four-goal margin in a low-scoring game wasn’t enough for Essendon fans to know this was going to be their day, then the identity of the man who put them that far ahead should have provided plenty of comfort.
Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti had just five disposals to half-time, but he kicked a major shortly after the long break to extend the Bombers’ lead to 24 points. The small forward didn’t kick a goal in any of the Dons’ six defeats so far this season, but he had 16 goals in side’s four wins heading into round 11. A second goal later in the quarter further sunk the Blues, and helped ensure McDonald-Tipungwuti’s record as Essendon’s barometer in 2019 remained in tact. He dribbled through another three minutes into the final term.
Jack of it
It took Jack Silvagni until his 11th AFL game to play in a win. It came in a 3:20pm Sunday afternoon game against Essendon at the MCG. The father-son recruit would have been hopeful of history repeating when he arrived at the same venue this time around for what was his 50th game. It wasn’t to be.
Playing forward, Silvagni was very quiet, although he had plenty of company on struggle street for Carlton. It left him atop an undesirable list. The third-generation Blue has just seven wins from his half-century. That left him with the lowest winning percentage of any current AFL player to have played 50 or more games. He replaces teammate Charlie Curnow as the possessor the dubious honour.
Other young Blues Sam Petrevski-Seton and Jacob Weitering are also among the handful of current players with 50 or more games and winning percentages of less than 20 per cent. Silvagni’s record also underscores just how far this great club has fallen. Grandfather Sergio played in 27 wins in his first 50 games, which came in the last 1950s and early 60s, while Jack’s dad Stephen – these days Carlton’s list chief – played in an imposing 39 victories in his first 50 matches. How many years will Jack need to reach that tally of wins?
2.3 5.4 8.5 11.8 (74)
2.2 2.4 4.8 4.9 (33)
GOALS – Essendon: McDonald-Tipungwuti 3, Parish 2, Laverde 2, Baguley 2, Heppell, Langford.
Carlton: C Curnow 2, McKay, Kreuzer.
BEST – Essendon: Heppell, Hurley, Hooker, Clarke, Parish, McDonald-Tipungwuti, McKenna.
Carlton: Kreuzer, C. Curnow, E. Curnow.
UMPIRES: Stevic, Mollison, Power.
CROWD: 50,423 at the MCG.
D. Heppell (Essendon) 8
M. Hurley (Essendon) 8
C. Hooker (Essendon) 8
D. Clarke (Essendon) 8
D. Parish (Essendon) 8
Daniel is an Age sports reporter