Essendon VFL has succumbed to a 49-point loss to Carlton in its round three match at Windy Hill on Saturday.
Despite having the home-ground advantage, the Bombers were ultimately outskilled by the Blues, who were able to maintain a strong lead and eventually take home a 14.17 (101) to 8.4 (52) win.
The opening minutes looked promising for the Bombers, with defender Patrick Ambrose earning a free kick inside 50 before the first bounce and converting for the game’s first major.
Senior-listed Bomber Alec Waterman added a second unanswered goal soon after.
Although Carlton’s pressure was strong, Essendon continued to move the ball well through the midfield and in its forward half, with Nick O’Kearney having an impressive first term with a goal and 11 touches.
The Dons had established a hopeful lead by the end of the first term, outscoring Carlton five goals to two.
The second quarter quickly saw the tables turn, with Carlton producing five unanswered goals. The Dons’ momentum and pressure they had established in the first term seemed to have diminished as Carlton took control of the game.
Essendon's forwards struggled with only two goal opportunities from Waterman and Danny Younan, which both went out on the full.
The Dons remained goalless throughout the second term and entered the main break on the other end of the scoreboard, with Carlton claiming a 23-point lead.
Going into the second half, Essendon was looking to replicate the success it had in the first term. Things were looking hopeful as the Dons were finally able to get back on the scoreboard thanks to early goals from Sam Conforti and Jake Hobbs.
O’Kearney continued to be highly influential in midfield, but it wasn’t enough as the Dons were plagued by poor decision-making that resulted in turnovers for the opposition.
The Bombers' bad luck continued with Tom Cutler, James Harrold and Josh Tynan sustaining injuries and deemed unable to continue playing.
Although Essendon was able to pick up its game in the third term, three goals wasn't enough to take back the lead from the Blues, who managed to maintain control of the game and further extend their lead.
The Dons were well and truly outclassed in the fourth quarter, struggling to make any defensive impact on the Blues in their forward half.
The ball barely saw the Dons’ attacking 50, and while they suffered another goalless quarter, Carlton was able to procure three goals which ultimately enabled it to cleanly run away with a 49-point win.
The Bombers will have a bye next week before returning to Windy Hill to take on Frankston at 2:05pm on May 16.
ESSENDON 5.1 5.1 8.2 8.4 (52)
CARLTON 2.5 7.12 11.15 14.17 (101)
Goals: Hobbs 2, Ambrose, Conforti, Cootee, O’Kearney, Smithson, Waterman
Disposals: O’Kearney 36, Atley 23, Cahill 23, Conforti 23, Smithson 18, Ambrose 17, Dunkley 16