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Black night for Blues as Power run rampant

Highlights: Port Adelaide v Carlton The Power and Blues clash in round 22
Chad Wingard and the Power were back to their best on Friday night  - ${keywords}
Chad Wingard and the Power were back to their best on Friday night
PORT Adelaide has kept its top-four hopes alive with a percentage-boosting 103-point annihilation of Carlton at Adelaide Oval on Friday night. 

The Power kicked 10 unanswered goals either side of half time in the 20.20 (140) to 5.7 (37) demolition, with its 14th victory of the season seeing it temporarily leapfrog Fremantle on the ladder into fourth spot. 


The home side increased its percentage from 126.5 to 132.4 with the win, which could prove crucial ahead of its final-round clash with Fremantle next weekend. 

The 14-6 Dockers have a percentage of 128.8, and meet the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba on Sunday afternoon. 

The match was played in front of the largest home-and-away crowd in Port Adelaide's history, with 52,505 fans packing into Adelaide Oval on a balmy night in the South Australian capital. 

Robbie Gray (31 possessions and four goals) and Chad Wingard (19 possessions and three goals) did the damage for the Power when the match was briefly a contest in the first half, while Justin Westhoff and Jake Neade added three goals apiece. 


Gray now has an unassailable lead over suspended Fremantle star Nathan Fyfe and injured Sydney Swans midfielder Josh Kennedy in the AFLCA Champion Player Award, with Port coach Ken Hinkley confirming after the game that he would give Gray the maximum five votes for his display. 

Half-back Jasper Pittard (24 possessions) and winger Jared Polec (24 disposals) were prominent, captain Travis Boak (27 touches) and Hamish Hartlett (27 disposals) formed a commanding midfield, and Matthew Lobbe ruled the ruck.

The Power's sole concern was key forward Jay Schulz, who was dazed late in the last quarter when his head hit the ground after a marking attempt.

Port's victory was its largest against Carlton, eclipsing an 89-point win in 1998.

Carlton, which had been gallant in recent narrow losses against top-four aspirants Fremantle and Geelong, was comprehensively out-classed by a ruthless Power outfit, which conceded a solitary goal in each of the first three quarters. 

The Blues came to Adelaide with confidence after pushing Geelong to the brink last week and with five wins in their last six visits to the city, but fell to 7-14 for the season with their heaviest defeat of the year. Their score of 5.7 (37) was their lowest against the Power.

Carlton's woes were compounded by an injury to Marc Murphy. 

The Blues' captain was substituted out of the game midway through the second term after sliding to take a mark in the middle of the ground and banging his head hard into the turf as Port's Cam O'Shea dived in to contest the ball.

Murphy was taken to hospital for precautionary scans, which revealed concussion but no structural damage.

Carlton had few winners on a bleak night. Full-back Sam Rowe battled gamely against the tide, while Bryce Gibbs gathered 29 disposals.

The Power set up their match-winning lead with a superb second quarter, holding Carlton goalless after the opening minute of the term and racing to a 50-point lead at the main break, a margin that could have been much more but for their errant goal-kicking. 

Gray was everywhere for the Power in the first half with 16 possessions and two goals, while Wingard also ran riot as Carlton spent much of the term pinned deep in its defensive 50. 

The Power kicked eight of their nine first-half goals from Carlton turnovers, as the Blues withered under the heat brought by a rampant Port defensive effort. 


"It was exciting to watch the boys play," he said.

"I felt over the last three or four weeks we were building back into some really strong form, and it was just good tonight to see it get reinforced by actions."

Carlton coach Mick Malthouse said his "desperately tired" side was simply overwhelmed by the Power. 

"We were terrible, but Port were outstanding," he said.

"And Port are coming into a finals series. They ... will worry the life out of a lot of sides."

Jake Neade was a livewire on a night when the Power had plenty to smile about. Picture: AFL Media

PORT ADELAIDE    5.6   9.12  16.15   20.20 (140)
CARLTON                1.2   2.4     3.7      5.7 (37)

GOALS
Port Adelaide: Gray 4, Neade 3, Westhoff 3, Wingard 3, Schulz 2, Ebert, Boak, White, Monfries, Hartlett
Carlton: Waite, Gibbs, White, Casboult, Yarran

BEST 
Port Adelaide: Gray, Boak, Wingard, Hartlett, Westhoff, Carlile
Carlton: Gibbs, Wood, Rowe, Judd, Carrazzo 

INJURIES 
Port Adelaide: Nil
Carlton: Murphy (concussion)

SUBSTITUTES 
Port Adelaide: Matt White replaced by Andrew Moore in the third quarter 
Carlton: Marc Murphy replaced by Kane Lucas in the second quarter 

Umpires: Margetts, Nicholls, Schmitt

Official crowd: 52,505 at Adelaide Oval