x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Essendon set the standard with one-sided rout of poor Carlton

The Bombers' 69-point thrashing of Carlton to open round 13 was about the only real surprise result of the weekend.

Essendon's 69-point thrashing of Carlton to open round 13 was about the only real surprise result of the weekend. The Bombers' second-half training drill, where they kicked 13 goals to the Blues' dismal two, led to the two swapping places on the edge of the top eight and began a round of results that would bring some predictability to proceedings. The big Sydney forward Barry Hall added to the predictability when he was offered a two-match ban for a punch to the chin of Adelaide's Ben Rutten during the Crows 16-point win on Saturday.

It is not for this column to suggest that a lower penalty would be appropriate, given the guernsey Rutten was wearing. The Swan's coach, Paul Roos, summed up the club's chances of appealing the suspension when he spoke of "discussions" the club would have with its wayward forward as to his future; one that, given his past indiscretions, looks to be very bleak indeed. Also on Saturday, Collingwood took full advantage of Fremantle's disappointment in its heroic failure against Geelong last week, belting the Dockers by 84 points.

The disappointing Eagles won their match against the more disappointing Hawks by 20 points, and Melbourne lost by 55 points to Brisbane. On Sunday, it was more of what you would expect. The Bulldogs came off a bye in disappointing fashion, then managed to take the points with an unconvincing 22-point win over the Kangaroos. The Cats made it win number 13 for the season when it beat Port Adelaide by 34 points, and St Kilda did the same, beating Richmond by 56 points.

But after next Sunday, a draw aside, only one team will be without a loss when the Saints and Geelong tussle for top of the ladder. pstafford@thenational.ae