Pearce sinks his boot into Essendon

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 April, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 08 April, 1996, 12:00am

Brilliant Carlton half-forward Brad Pearce piled on four vital goals in the third quarter to give Carlton to an unassailable edge over Essendon at the MCG yesterday.

Pearce typified the talent at Carlton, whose odds for winning back-to-back Australian Football League premierships have shortened, finishing with five goals in the 15.11 (101) to 10.12 (72) result.

Never hesitant in backing his judgment, Pearce ripped apart the Essendon defence with an inspiring burst aided by Brownlow medallist Greg Williams and dashing half-back Anthony Koutoufides.

The Blues' win was blemished by a hamstring injury to captain Steve Kernahan, who had marked and kicked inspirationally before breaking down.

Essendon are still a top-class side and will be looking for overdue improvement from young star James Hird and mercurial defender Gavin Wanganeen in future weeks.

In yesterday's other game, visitors Fremantle surprised Sydney at home with a five-goal second quarter to take control and win comfortably 13.22 (100) to 9.17 (71).

In the weekend's biggest upset, Brisbane re-emphasised their arrival as an AFL force by crossing the country to score their first-ever win over the West Coast Eagles.

The Bears, losers in 14 previous encounters with the Eagles, shook off repeated challenges to win 16.7 (103) to 11.11 (77) at Perth's WACA on Saturday night.

Brisbane had the benefit of a highly skilled, two-pronged forward line in the fully recuperated Alastair Lynch and the spring-heeled Darryl White, who both kicked four goals.

Once almost invincible at home, West Coast's slide back to the field was aggravated by knee injuries to captain John Worsfold and Guy McKenna.

The position of two-time AFL premiership coach Alan Joyce is in jeopardy following Footscray's second successive thrashing on Saturday.

Joyce, who took Hawthorn to two premierships, was hauled before the Bulldogs' board after a 131-point thrashing by North Melbourne at the MCG.

Informed sources have not ruled out his replacement later this week by assistant coach Terry Wallace.

Joyce's predecessor, Terry Wheeler, was sacked two rounds into the 1994 season after a woeful start to that season.

After the match, Joyce declined to comment on his own future but admitted that 'shellackings of the first order' in the past fortnight had placed the club's future in danger.

A directionless Footscray - reeling from an 87-point hiding by Brisbane in the first round - had no answer for the slick Kangaroos, who kicked 15 goals to one in the first half to romp in, 26.12 (168) to 5.7 (37).

Brilliant North captain Wayne Carey showed complete recovery from a broken hand to lead from the front with six straight goals.

Richmond were more effective in blustery Waverley conditions in ensuring Hawthorn's continued decline with a 14.14 (98) to 6.15 (51) victory.