Highlights: Carlton v Port Adelaide
The Blues and Power clash in round 8
Heath Scotland in action during his 250th game
At the end we were still thereabouts, but that was a little bit of good luck more than anything else
CARLTON was forced to overcome its own wastefulness, but it eventually held on against a dogged Port Adelaide to win by 18 points at Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Blues led from start to finish but their major opposition was their own inaccuracy, kicking 8.10 in the first half before kicking away to win 16.13 (109) to 14.7 (91).
Port Adelaide kicked three of the last four goals to cut the final margin but its third straight loss was soured by a likely suspension for playmaker Hamish Hartlett.
The young star's frustrations boiled over as the Power lost their grip on the match, landing a series of blows on Carlton captain Marc Murphy, including a forearm to the head in the third quarter.
While comfortably recording their fourth win in five games – and their sixth in seven clashes against the Power – the Blues would be concerned with their inability to convert, particularly in the first half.
Murphy was superb in his 150th game, providing the class that was too often missing from his teammates, playing mostly as a forward and kicking three goals in the first half including a brilliant dribbled goal from the boundary.
The skipper pushed into the midfield and finished with 23 possessions and was probably best on ground in his milestone game.
Veteran Heath Scotland (16 possessions and two goals) was a strong performer in his 250th game, while Andrew Walker capped off a successful afternoon for the milestone men with 20 touches in his 150th.
The Blues were dominant in the midfield, holding an advantage in clearances (36-32), contested possessions (145-123) and inside 50s (50-40), and they finished the game with 28 scoring shots to 20.
Carlton coach Mick Malthouse was relieved his side's inaccuracy didn't cost it the match.
"We took a lot of marks in our forward 50 [that] we didn’t capitalise on," he said.
"We missed a couple of very easy shots. Sometimes you get paid back at the end, which we didn't but we could've.
"They are a very, very good running side and I can understand why they've won their five [games]. They’re going to cause some real damage to sides over the next 14 weeks."
Alongside Murphy, Chris Judd, Kane Lucas and Mitch Robinson were key playmakers, while Ed Curnow held Port skipper Travis Boak to 16 touches.
Robbie Gray battled hard in the midfield to finish with seven clearances and two goals while Andrew Moore made the most of his opportunities in attack, kicking three goals.
Power coach Ken Hinkley said he was frustrated with his team's lack of composure.
"At the end we were still thereabouts, but that was a little bit of good luck more than anything else," he said.
"Carlton left us in the game a little bit at times when they missed some shots.
"Our composure I reckon showed up a little bit and our ability to handle a bit of pressure from a mature side.
"We didn't handle that the way we need to, but that's a learning curve for us."
Jeff Garlett was well held by Dom Cassisi in the first half, but he responded to kick three goals after the main break, holding his own with sidekicks Eddie Betts and Chris Yarran unavailable.
Another bright note for the victors was the debut of Troy Menzel, who started as the substitute and replaced key forward Jarrad Waite at three-quarter time.
Malthouse said there was no issue with Waite, who was returning from a one-game suspension for headbutting, and "someone had to come off".
Carlton's Simon White dives to tackle Power forward Robbie Gray on Sunday. Picture: AFL Media
CARLTON 5.4 8.10 13.12 16.13 (109)
PORT ADELAIDE 3.1 7.2 9.3 14.7 (91)
Carlton: Garlett 4, Murphy 3, Scotland 2, Robinson 2, Bell 2, Bootsma, Waite, Armfield
Port Adelaide: Moore 3, Schulz 2, Gray 2, Carlile, Boak, Westhoff, Wingard, Redden, Ebert, Monfries.
Carlton: Murphy, Judd, Lucas, Robinson, Curnow, Garlett, Henderson
Port Adelaide: Moore, Cornes, Wingard, Gray, Wines, Jonas
Port Adelaide: Cassisi (left hamstring)
Carlton: Troy Menzel replaced Jarrad Waite at three-quarter-time.
Port Adelaide: Kane Mitchell replaced Paul Stewart in the third quarter.
Umpires: Farmer, Schmitt, Findlay
Official crowd: 29,936 at Etihad Stadium.