The Carlton Blues dominated the Brisbane Lions in the final three quarters to win 154-63, the lone Easter Thursday AFL hit out at the Gabba in Queensland.
The first quarter was a fantastic affair and saw Carlton stay in front for much of the period despite quiet outputs from star midfielders Mark Murphy and Chris Judd.
Carlton kicked the game's first couple of goals. Last week's substitute Kane Lucas gathered the ball and snapped a close one in traffic and Matthew Waite was awarded a free kick after being held as he led for the ball.
33-year-old Bulldogs recruit Ben Hudson replied, grabbing the ball out of the air and toe-poking a kick through the posts.
Judd ran unmarked through the middle and hit a leading Waite who turned around and unselfishly delivered a ball to Betts. He made no mistake from the better distance and his set shot put Carlton ahead 19-7.
Daniel Merret took a hit in the back in a marking contest and kicked an unmissable goal from 10 meters out, and Carlton failed to respond when Betts, Curnow and Robinson each missed shots on goal.
The misses all came during an excellent period of Carlton defense where they refused to allow Brisbane past the center square. Robinson marked his second consecutive interception as the Lions tried to get out of their back 50. He launched it inside and found Waite who marked and goaled his second to put Carlton up 28-13.
An excellent final five minutes by Brisbane saw them fight themselves right back into the match. Lester flirted with a throw when he tapped on a ball to an unmarked Redden who balanced and delivered from 45, directly in front. Rich added another after a 50 meter penalty put him within striking distance.
With the lead at just three points, Murphy goaled, running from the center bounce to deep inside 50, and fought through traffic to gather and goal. But in the final moments of the quarter Brisbane completed a brilliant run across the ground, ending with a nice mark to Lester who replied in style. Carlton remained in front at the first break 37-35, but their early dominance had been negated by a great Brisbane comeback.
The second quarter lacked the excitement of the first, but Judd finally awoke from a two possession first quarter to kick the term's opening goal. Hanging ahead of a boundary line pack he was able to run free and goal when Garlett pushed a handball above and over the Brisbane defense. Judd got better as the quarter progressed, racking up double-digit possessions in the second. Zach Tuohy kicked a second straight from a free kick to put the Blues ahead by 10 when he caught Jared Polec holding the ball.
The edge and excitement of the first quarter had mostly died by the midway point of the second as players looked tired and spent. That was until Eddie Betts rose above a defender, balanced on his shoulders momentarily and took what will surely be one of the marks of the year.
Carlton got their third unanswered goal when Hanson was awarded a weak free kick from a boundary throw-in. However, it took all of five seconds for the Lions to respond. A soccer off the ground from the ensuing ruck contest fell into the arms of Lester to bring the score back within single digits.
Brisbane wouldn't kick another major but the Blues scored two to finish off the quarter, one a free kick to Betts and the other an amazing right-side boundary line effort from Murphy, giving the visitors a 69-48 lead at the half.
The floodgates opened in the third quarter with four Carlton goals all being scored in the first half of the period. Garlett kicked a couple, and Waite and Simpson also added two more allowing Carlton a 50 point lead. The action died off for a while until Betts took another outrageous mark above a marking pack with two minutes remaining. His kicked his second as a result.
Merret got his second of the game with a soccer off the ground to start the fourth quarter, but big games from Murphy, Judd and Andrew Carrazzo separated the two sides after that tight quarter-time margin. The superstars combined to kick a brilliant fourth quarter goal; Murphy slapped on a ball travelling out of bounds next to the right side behind post, Judd gathered it and kicked running across the goal.
Garbage time goals to Judd, Simpson, Waite, Scotland and Garlett further increased the lead and Carlton completed an 18 goal to two run from quarter-time onwards.
Major goal kickers included two apiece for Merret and Lester while Carlton got multiples from Judd (3), Murphy (2), Simpson (2), Waite (5), Betts (2) and Garlett (3).