Essendon humbled by unbeaten Crows in upset of round

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 April, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 April, 1996, 12:00am

Adelaide consolidated their best start to an AFL season by belting highly-fancied Essendon by 96 points at Football Park.

The Crows shot to the top of the AFL ladder with their fourth successive win, humiliating the Bombers 23.23 (161) to 9.11 (65). The Jarman brothers were again prominent - Andrew kicking five goals and Darren setting up many with his deft skills - while ruckman David Pittman showed he was again ready to assume solo ruck duties in the absence of Shaun Rehn. Geelong charged to a 31-point first-term lead, then withstood a determined last-quarter fightback to beat West Coast by 18 points at Subiaco yesterday.

With the blistering pace and deadly accuracy of wingman Peter Riccard creating countless opportunities, the Cats showed class and character to win 16.10 (106) to 12.16 (88) and move into fourth spot. Sydney scrambled a one-point win over Richmond in a thriller yesterday at Waverley Park. In a nail-biting last quarter in which the lead changed five times, the Swans came from 21 points down at the last change to win 10.11 (71) to 9.16 (70). Brisbane showcased another two young stars at the Gabba while ending North Melbourne's unbeaten run.

The Bears rejoiced in a six-goal haul by Justin Leppitsch and a 23-possession effort from fellow rookie Jason Akermanis to win 18.7 (125) to 14.11 (95). Reigning premiers Carlton snared the points against Melbourne at Optus Oval, but compounded injury woes when captain Stephen Kernahan aggravated a hamstring. Carlton won 21.7 (133) to 12.14 (86) but had to suppress a Melbourne third-quarter fightback before running away easy winners. Kernahan, who kicked four first-half goals, was returning to the team after missing last week with his hamstring injury.

Frustrated Fitzroy coach Mike Nunan virtually accused his players of not earning their pay cheques after St Kilda trounced the struggling Lions by 85 points at Waverley. The Saints, the only other winless club before this round, dished out the Lions' 18th consecutive loss, coasting to a 24.16 (160) to 11.9 (75) win. AFL newcomers Fremantle learnt there is one place you do not let discipline lapse - at Victoria Park, in front of Collingwood fans.

The Dockers had been holding their own until early in the second quarter when young defender Scott Chisholm let wily Magpie Mick McGuane needle him into giving away a free kick which resulted in a goal. From then, Collingwood ran amok, kicking nine of their 14 goals to stitch up the match 14.14 (98) to 8.13 (61). Hawthorn showed the grit of old by clawing back a 28-point deficit midway through the last term to snatch a draw with Footscray at Whitten Oval. The gallant Hawks kicked four goals from the 15-minute mark to parallel Footscray's 8.9 (57) final score.