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Last year was no fluke: gutsy Port downs Carlton

Highlights: Carlton v Port Adelaide The Blues and Power clash in round 1
Justin Westhoff of the Power is taken high by Andrew Walker of the Blues during the 2014 AFL round 01 match between the Cartlon Blues and Port Adelaide Power at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on March 16, 2014. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Andrew Walker collects Justin Westhoff high during Port's win against Carlton
There's no question they blew us away in the last quarter ... you don't need to know a lot about football to see that they dominated
Mick Malthouse
PORT Adelaide's hopes of replicating its fairytale 2013 season are off to a flying start after a fast-finishing 33-point win over Carlton at Etihad Stadium on Sunday night.
 
After a see-sawing first half between last year's beaten semi-finalists, the Power kicked 11 goals to four to win their season opener for the fifth time in six years.

The final score was 18.12 (120) to 12.15 (87).
 

There were doubts around the Power's ability to repeat last year's incredible rise up the ladder from 14th to fifth, but Sunday night's emphatic finish suggests coach Ken Hinkley has his team primed. 
  
Brisbane Lions recruit Jared Polec was exceptional and added another dimension to the midfield, finishing with 24 possessions, six inside 50s and a long running goal in a standout performance.
 
Midfielders Ollie Wines (28 possessions, 11 clearances and two goals), Kane Cornes (30 and 12 marks) and captain Travis Boak (23 and five clearances) also stood up in front of a crowd of 24,640 for the rare Sunday night fixture.    
 
"It's one game and it's the start of the season, but it's the way we wanted to start the season," Hinkley said after the match.
 
"If you look at our season 12 months ago it was a significant game to start with.
 
"We've probably advanced our club to the point where we were playing a higher ranked team in round one and we were able to come away with a strong win, which was pleasing."

Carlton burst out of the blocks to take a 22-point lead at quarter-time but the game turned on its head after the first change.
 
Talented tall Justin Westhoff, who started as a loose man in defence, was sent forward and kicked two goals in a minute, finishing with four for the quarter, alongside 10 possessions (five contested) and six marks.
 
The Blues responded with a brief cameo from Jarrad Waite, but they lacked a consistent forward presence.

 
"There's no question they blew us away in the last quarter ... you don't need stats and you don't need to know a lot about football to see that they dominated," he said.
 
"But the same side last year, we ran over them to make the finals … that's the way it is.
 
"We've just got to get time into some of our blokes who haven't had the lead up that perhaps a lot of other players have had."
 
In the midfield, Bryce Gibbs (23 possessions and two goals) and Kade Simpson (25 and six clearances) led the way with early support from Tom Bell (15 and four tackles).    
 
It was a mixed Carlton debut for ex-Magpie Dale Thomas, who finished with 16 possessions and one goal.
 
The dynamic midfielder prevented Carlton's first goal with his head, but his first kick in a home and away match for the Blues was a goal.
 
Sydney Swans recruit Andrejs Everitt kicked his first goal for the Blues four minutes later as Carlton burst out of the blocks.
 
With the home team 22 points clear at the first change, it took a star turn from Westhoff to turn the tide with the Port Adelaide key forward unstoppable in the second quarter.
 
Andrew Walker caught the 27-year-old high with a bent left forearm in a marking contest that is likely to be assessed by the Match Review Panel.
 
Walker was later reported for rough conduct for throwing Power forward Angus Monfries over the boundary and into the advertising boards.
 



Justin Westhoff and Andrejs Everitt fly for the ball during the Blues-Power contest. Picture: AFL Media

CARLTON                  4.4     8.8     11.13     12.15 (87)                
PORT ADELAIDE     1.0     7.5      11.7      18.12 (120)     
 
GOALS
Carlton: Ellard 2, Curnow 2, Gibbs 2, Waite 2, Thomas, Everitt, Yarran, Garlett
Port Adelaide: Westhoff 5, Gray 4, Wines 2, Hartlett 2, Schulz 2, Ebert, Polec, Butcher
 
BEST 
Carlton: Gibbs, Simpson, Henderson, Curnow, Murphy
Port Adelaide: Polec, Westhoff, Wines, Gray, Cornes, Wingard, Boak
 
INJURIES 
Carlton: Nil
Port Adelaide: Cassisi (calf)
 
SUBSTITUTES
Carlton: Troy Menzel replaced Tom Bell in the fourth quarter
Port Adelaide: Matthew Broadbent replaced Dom Cassisi (calf) in the fourth quarter
 
Reports: Andrew Walker (Carlton) reported for rough conduct against Angus Monfries (Port) during the fourth quarter.
 
Umpires: Luke Farmer, Brett Rosebury, Nick Foot
 
Official crowd: 24,460 at Etihad Stadium
 
Twitter: @AFL_Nathan

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs