Carlisle stars in Essendon's big AFL win
Essendon coach Mark Thompson admits even he was surprised by Jake Carlisle's best-afield performance in the thumping AFL win over Collingwood.
Carlisle took 19 marks around the ground and kicked four goals, leading the Bombers to a 64-point upset of the Magpies on Sunday at the MCG.
The 16.7 (103) to 5.9 (39) win meant Essendon jumped from 10th to seventh, one spot above Collingwood and the first time they have been in the top eight since round four.
This season, Thompson has experimented with Carlisle as a key forward, rather than playing him in defence.
The tactic has attracted plenty of criticism because of the Carlisle's inconsistent form.
Lately, Carlisle has had more licence to play at either end when necessary and everything clicked on Sunday.
"He was fantastic - I've never seen it coming, didn't expect it," said Thompson, who has defended Carlisle staunchly.
"But obviously the coaches have been doing good work with him .
"It wouldn't have mattered where he played today, he just had one of those days."
While Carlisle's performance stood out, the Bombers had no passengers as they destroyed the slumping Magpies.
Essendon fell away badly at the end of the last two seasons, but Thompson is upbeat about their prospects this time.
"Who knows how far we can go?," he said
"Anyone would be silly to try and predict that with Essendon.
"You'd think by the fourth year, we'd finally work it out (and) I think we have.
"We're still running, we still have legs.
"I'm very confident we'll be right."
Essendon beat the 'Pies without Brendon Goddard, who was suspended last week, and injured stars Jobe Watson and Michael Hibberd.
Thompson said Watson could return from his leg injury in three weeks' time.
While Essendon are surging, Collingwood have lost four of their last five games.
"At times when you looked across the field, it looked like Essendon had 20 blokes ... and we had 15," Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said.
"We were pretty-well dismantled.
"We've made a massive withdrawal from what we've been trying to build."
Buckley said they now had to show the same grit and endeavour that followed the heavy round-one loss to Fremantle.
Magpies key forward Travis Cloke went scoreless, but Buckley revealed he had been ill.
And Buckley also pointed out team-mates up the field did not make it easy for Cloke with some terrible ball use.
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