Carlton caretaker coach David Teague has taken another step to securing the job full-time with the Blues’ upset 27-point AFL win over Adelaide.
The 13.9 (87) to 9.6 (60) win on Saturday at the MCG and will have even greater ramifications at Adelaide, with the Crows losing four of their past five and putting them in danger of dropping out of the top eight.
By contrast, the resurgent Blues have won five out of seven since Brendon Bolton’s sacking at the start of last month.
Carlton has won three in a row for the first time since early in 2016.
It was also a good night for St Kilda, with interim coach Brett Ratten leading his men to a 19-point win against Melbourne.
The Saints won 15.13 (103) to 13.6 (84), giving Ratten two from two since Alan Richardson stepped down.
The earlier Carlton win was another nail in Adelaide’s hopes of a finals finish.
Blues midfielder Patrick Cripps starred with 39 disposals – 24 of them contested – and 19 clearances. Adelaide only had 29 clearances as a team.
Key defender Liam Jones also continued his outstanding form by shutting out Josh Jenkins, while ruck-forward Levi Casboult played out of his skin with three goals and 10 hitouts.
The Crows made big selection calls for this game, particularly the axing of much-loved forward Eddie Betts.
His replacement Tyson Stengle kicked the first goal of the game with a clever snap.
Adelaide opened with two of the first three goals as maligned captain Taylor Walker led superbly.
But Sam Petrevski-Seton won possession with a massive defensive play and, within seconds, Carlton had goaled midway through the opening term.
The Blues led by four points at quarter-time and as the long-suffering Carlton faithful found full voice, their team surged.
Carlton kicked three goals to one in the second term for a 16-point lead and should have been further ahead, with 15 scoring shots to nine.
Crows midfielder Rory Sloane led their third-quarter fightback. After Carlton blew the lead out to 28 points, two Adelaide majors kept the contest tight.
But a late goal to veteran Carlton defender Kade Simpson was crucial and they led by 22 at the last break.
Josh Deluca’s goal within 30 seconds of the restart was the worst-possible result for Adelaide.
Two goals brought them again to within 16 points, but Will Setterfield capped his fine game with a snapped goal at 21 minutes to kill off the contest.
Brisbane Lions put Hawks finals chances in doubt
The red-hot Brisbane Lions have extended their AFL winning streak to six matches, putting a serious dent in Hawthorn’s flickering finals hopes with a 27-point victory in Launceston.
The Lions kicked seven of the final nine goals of Saturday’s match to win 13.9 (87) to 7.18 (60).
Having not played finals since 2009, resurgent Brisbane will finish round 19 entrenched in the top two on the ladder and with three of their remaining four home-and-away matches at the Gabba.
Rugged winger Mitch Robinson and ball magnet Lachie Neale were among the best players for the Lions. Brisbane have won their past four matches on the trot against the Hawks, including two triumphs at the University of Tasmania Stadium.
The Hawks dominated general play in the opening term but inaccuracy in front of goal meant they led by only three points at quarter-time.
Promising young forward Mitchell Lewis was the main culprit as he missed two easy set shots.
The second quarter was a low-scoring affair, with Brisbane skipper Dayne Zorko slotting a clever goal 11 seconds before the halftime siren to put the visitors ahead for the first time.
Kicking into the wind, the Lions broke the match open with four unanswered goals late in the the third quarter to lead by 22 points at the final break.
They went on with the job in the final quarter, extending the margin to 27 points at the final siren.
The Hawks slip to an 8-10 record and will need to win all of their remaining four games to remain in contention for a finals berth.
Charlie Cameron, Cam Rayner, Allen Christensen and Zorko booted three goals apiece for Brisbane, while Irishman Conor Nash and the evergreen Shaun Burgoyne slotted two apiece for the Hawks.
Burgoyne, 36, played his 372nd match on Saturday, tying Adam Goodes for the most games by an indigenous player in VFL/AFL history.
Eagle notches 600th goal
West Coast forward Josh Kennedy has crashed through the 600-goal barrier with seven majors in the Eagles’ 49-point AFL win over North Melbourne.
Kennedy booted five first-half goals to help inspire his team to the 18.13 (121) to 10.12 (72) win on Saturday in front of 54,376 fans at Optus Stadium.
The 31-year-old had been on the receiving end of retirement calls in recent weeks after a rare form slump.
But the two-time Coleman medallist showed he still had plenty more to give, with his strong marking and accurate goalkicking proving crucial in the victory.
Kennedy started the day on 594 career goals, and he received a standing ovation when he nailed his 600th major early in the third quarter by bouncing off two opponents and snapping truly.