Adelaide put a dent in Carlton's push to play in the grand final with a three-point win at AAMI Stadium while Essendon hit the winner's list by thumping the Greater Western Sydney Giants by 91 points in Canberra.
Adelaide forward Taylor Walker kicked five goals as the Crows burst Carlton's pre-season bubble with a three-point victory on Friday night.
Walker's haul included two super-goals as Adelaide triumphed 4.11.7 (109) to 2.13.10 (106) at AAMI Stadium to inflict Carlton's first defeat this pre-season and under new coach Mick Malthouse.
The Crows were sparked by Walker and dual club champion Scott Thompson, who collected 26 disposals, while Bernie Vince and David Mackay were also prominent.
Carlton's Kane Lucas booted three goals, teammate Dennis Armfield capped a fine game with two majors while Brock McLean was a standout with 24 touches and two goals, including a super-goal.
Adelaide laid the platform for their victory with a dominant third term which returned six goals to Carlton's two.
The scoring spree came after smooth passages of play in a free-flowing opening, with the scores locked at 2.7.4 (64) apiece at halftime.
And both teams booted two super-goals in the second quarter as Carlton's McLean and Marc Murphy and Adelaide's Walker and Sam Jacobs all scored nine-pointers.
Crows forward Walker also potted two regulation goals in the opening half for the home side, who were largely propelled by on-baller Thompson's 17 disposals by the main break.
The Blues, who trailed by two goals at quarter-time, also had plenty of the ball with McLean prominent and Lucas scoring three goals for the half.
The third quarter proved decisive with Walker adding another super-goal to help Adelaide craft a five-goal advantage at the last change.
But Adelaide stopped to a near walk in the final quarter and didn't score as Carlton kicked four unanswered goals to creep within three points.
But the Crows, who lost forward pocket Ian Callinan - who suffered a knock on his left knee and was substituted out of the match at quarter-time - held on to win.
Meanwhile, the Bombers at least got some winning form to take into their Round 1 clash in Adelaide against the Crows by thumping the GWS Giants by 91 points in Canberra.
The Bombers were simply too good for the Giants, winning 1.16.14 (119) to 0.4.4 (28) and lifting their cup campaign to two wins from four matches.
The win will be a big relief for coach James Hird, who earlier in the week said it would be unrealistic to think the doping allegations engulfing Cronulla in the NRL would have gone unnoticed by his players.
The result of the whitewash in front of a crowd of 8044 at Manuka Oval was never in doubt, with the Bombers racing to a 37-point lead at quarter-time and extending each break.
Utility Brendon Goddard had the visitors off to a flying start, scoring the only super goal of the match halfway through the first quarter.
The news only became worse for the Giants when Callan Ward, who was one of the best performers in last week's loss to Brisbane, was taken off after suffering a head knock.
Essendon's goals were shared across the board, Patrick Ryder leading the way with three.
Goddard and Brett Stanton (26 possessions) were solid for Essendon, while Jobe Watson (31 possessions and two goals) would have also given Hird plenty to smile about.
Sam Frost was the standout on the other side of the ledger with two goals and Toby Greene was the busiest for the Giants with 21 possessions.
It's a disappointing end to the Giants' pre-season campaign, having won just one match out of four after losing to Carlton and Brisbane in the final minute of each match.
Both teams have failed to qualify for the NAB Cup finals and will play yet-to-be-confirmed practice matches next weekend before the 2013 premiership begins on March 22.