Brownlow Medal favourite Tom Mitchell has continued his barnstorming AFL season, leading undermanned Hawthorn to a 72-point demolition of lowly Carlton.
The Hawks looked vulnerable before Sunday’s match at Etihad Stadium when Mitchell’s midfield colleague Jaeger O’Meara added to their injuries.
He was a late withdrawal with a hip problem.
But the Blues were kept scoreless in the first term and the Hawks made sure there would be no repeat of Saturday’s shock Gold Coast win over Sydney, easily winning 18.16 (124) to 7.10 (52).
Mitchell should score another three Brownlow votes after dominating with 46 disposals and two goals.
Luke Breust also went a step closer to All Australian selection, kicking five goals, and fellow forward Paul Puopolo kicked four – three of them in the last quarter.
First-year Hawk James Worpel made the most of his AFL recall with an impressive game in the midfield.
Apart from O’Meara’s late withdrawal, the Hawks also suffered a massive blow last week when James Sicily was sidelined because of a broken wrist.
Ben McEvoy and Shaun Burgoyne are also injured and Cyril Rioli has retired.
But they kicked the first five goals on Sunday to ensure Carlton would never be in the hunt.
The one blight in a strong first quarter was when defender Daniel Howe belted Patrick Cripps in the opening minute.
Howe is certain to be suspended for the incident.
After only kicking one goal in the first half, Carlton rallied and managed to outscore Hawthorn in the third term.
Carlton’s Cameron Polson provided the game highlight when his speculative snap spectacularly bounced at a right angle in the third quarter and went through for a goal.
It was a leg break to rival Shane Warne’s ball of the century and the Hawks defenders were left looking as bemused as Mike Gatting.
But the damage was done for the Blues, whose defensive work through most of the first half was appalling.
Hawthorn also bulldozed them in the last quarter, kicking seven goals to two.
Young guns Patrick Cripps and Charlie Curnow showed again they are Carlton’s future, while Ed Curnow was solid in his shutdown role on Hawks playmaker Isaac Smith.
Key defender Jacob Weitering continued Jarryd Roughead’s uneven form, keeping the Hawks captain quiet.