After springing a selection stunner, Essendon have thrashed a hapless North Melbourne to claim Good Friday AFL honours with a 58-point win at Marvel Stadium.
Boom recruit Dylan Shiel led a dominant Essendon midfield as the Bombers prevailed 17.14 (116) to 7.16 (58) to post their third-straight win and put the blowtorch on the Kangaroos.
Any doubts over Essendon having their season back on track were put to bed in the second quarter when the Dons piled on five goals in 10 minutes.
The Bombers led by six goals at halftime and extended the margin to 60 points midway through the third term.
Shiel (36 disposals, 10 inside-50s, five score assists), Zach Merrett (39 touches) and Dyson Heppell (32 disposals) had their way against a sluggish Kangaroos midfield, while Orazio Fantasia (four goals) was dynamic up forward.
Joe Daniher booted two majors in his AFL comeback after being named as a shock late replacement for Zac Clarke (calf).
Tough questions are bound to be asked of North Melbourne and 10th-year coach Brad Scott after another insipid performance which leaves the Kangaroos at 1-4.
Essendon's scintillating speed and damaging ball movement were accentuated by a Kangaroos side who too often looked lethargic and unwilling to take risks.
Skipper Jack Ziebell was among the Roos' worst culprits, gathering just six disposals.
"We let ourselves down today. It's nowhere near good enough," Scott said.
"We got killed on the loose ball. We got killed when the ball got outside of us. And the game turned into a defensive-50 transition game ... that's not the way we wanted the game to play."
Arguably the greatest drama came before the opening bounce when the Bombers confirmed Daniher's inclusion, reversing their initial plan to bring him back through the VFL.
The AFL confirmed Essendon would be fined - potentially as much as $20,000 - because Daniher wasn't in the Bombers' 22 or one of four emergencies listed for the match.
Playing in his first game since round seven last season after overcoming groin and calf injuries, Daniher looked rusty at times but had Essendon fans on their feet when he unloaded a stunning set shot from 60m out in the final term.
The Bombers expect to welcome back David Zaharakis (knee) and Devon Smith (managed) for the Anzac Day clash with Collingwood.
"We've come off a couple of good games ... we wanted to see the same level of energy," coach John Worsfold said.
"Our ability to change the speed of the game at times ... it was really hot early. We took a bit of speed out of it and then used the ball well."
Australian Associated Press