AFL

Top-of-the-ladder Crows down Bombers

Adelaide have left Essendon's AFL finals hopes in tatters, downing the Bombers by 43 points in an Etihad Stadium shootout.

The top-of-the-ladder Crows led at every break on Saturday night and survived a Cale Hooker-inspired Bombers comeback to post an 18.15 (123) to 12.8 (80) victory.

Gun forwards Josh Jenkins and Mitch McGovern booted three goals apiece while Matt Crouch (35 disposals, seven clearances) was dominant in the middle.

Adelaide had powered their way to a comfortable lead before Hooker turned the game with a huge second half.

The reinvented key forward booted two goals in quick succession midway through the third quarter to rouse the crowd from their slumber.

Former skipper Jobe Watson, who earlier in the week announced he would retire at the end of the season, brought the house down moments later when he kicked truly on the run.

AAP