HALFWAY through the second quarter on Saturday evening, the thought of an emphatic and significant percentage-boosting victory would have been the furthest thing from Port Adelaide's mind.
Then trailing a depleted Carlton side by 23 points, the priority for Ken Hinkley would have been helping his team claw its way back into the contest, not the possibility of a barnstorming 95-point win and the idea of setting up the ideal platform to work its way into top-two contention by season's end.
POWER v BLUES Full match coverage and stats
But such is the scoring power of the premiership hopefuls, and such was the sorry state of an undermanned and dispirited Blues side at the Adelaide Oval, that a remarkable run of 19 consecutive goals was inevitably around the corner.
Port Adelaide had 12 individual goalkickers and simply did as it pleased after half-time, holding Carlton without a goal for the final 84 minutes of the contest – and for the entirety of the second half – to bring down the curtain on another hapless Blues season, and almost certainly on the coaching tenure of David Teague.
Travis Boak (31 disposals, one goal), Karl Amon (30 disposals, seven clearances) and Ollie Wines (30 disposals, seven tackles) were among the best in the utterly dominant 21.14 (140) to 5.15 (45) win.
Charlie Dixon (five marks, four goals) did the bulk of the damage up forward, while Aliir Aliir (19 disposals, eight marks) was impenetrable down back.
But this was as much about a dismal Carlton afternoon as it was about Port Adelaide's show of strength. Even with an extensive injury list watching on from the sidelines, it was brutal and indefensible from the Blues.
And yet it didn't appear to be heading that way from the outset. Despite the weight it was carrying from a dark week for the club, it was actually Carlton who brought the effort and the intensity in the game's early stages. Marc Murphy, playing in his 300th and final match, had nine touches in the first quarter alone as the Blues shot into a surprise lead.
Port Adelaide looked a side desperate to be sparked into life and a quickfire double from Carlton youngster Josh Honey gave them that warning. The hosts' deficit was 23 points when it finally put together its strongest period of football for the half, stringing together six consecutive goals in the next 18 minutes.
That was a sign that the Power had gone to a new level and the Blues, for all of their early fight, couldn't cope with the increased tempo of the match. Where the visitors were once staring at a sizeable advantage to take into the second half, they ultimately trailed by 15 points at the main break.
After a relatively slow start by his lofty standards, Boak was the man helping to pick up the pace. He had a big say as Port Adelaide added four more unanswered goals in the third term, stretching its run to 10 straight majors as Hinkley's rampant side extended its lead well beyond 40 points.
The Power smelt blood in the water. It also sensed the opportunity to close a percentage gap on the in-form Cats that was shortening with every consecutive goal. Nine more majors, including a fourth for Dixon and a third for Robbie Gray, did just that and piled the misery on their woeful opponents.
As Port Adelaide eyes up the prospect of a home qualifying final – and potentially silverware by late September – Carlton is once again staring at a summer of turmoil.
Aliir builds his All-Australian case
If last week's Showdown Medal-winning performance wasn't enough to firmly put Aliir Aliir's name on the minds of the Therabody AFL All-Australian selectors, he continued his fantastic finish to an impressive first season at Port Adelaide on Saturday. Playing on Charlie Curnow, he once again used his innate ability to read the footy in flight in order to get in the way of virtually every Carlton foray forward. Aliir finished with 19 disposals, eight marks and 14 intercepts in yet another standout display. Recruited to the club in exchange for a future second-round selection last season, Aliir has now emerged as arguably Port Adelaide's most important player heading into this year's finals series.
It's 300 and out for Murphy
After a 16-year Carlton career, Saturday's clash was Marc Murphy's 300th and final game for the Blues. The former club captain put on a show early, winning nine disposals and three clearances in the opening term alone. He dovetailed nicely with a player he'd taken under his wing at Ikon Park, Sam Walsh, with the youngster collecting 30 disposals, five clearances and six tackles himself amid another busy afternoon for the fellow No.1 selection. Murphy's influence waned as the game went on, as did the impact of almost every Carlton player, as his night – and his career – finished in unwanted circumstances.
Lycett the only concern on Power's cruisy night
Everything went to plan after half-time for Port Adelaide on Saturday evening, except the loss of ruckman Scott Lycett to a worrying knee injury. Lycett appeared to tweak his knee in the second quarter, but lasted until the final change before he was eventually replaced by medical substitute Sam Mayes. In his absence, Peter Ladhams took the bulk of the ruck work. While the Power say Lycett's substitution was only precautionary, any injury is a concern heading into September.
PORT ADELAIDE 2.2 8.6 12.11 21.14 (140)
CARLTON 2.6 5.9 5.12 5.15 (45)
Port Adelaide: Dixon 4, Gray 3, Marshall 2, Georgiades 2, Fantasia 2, Bergman 2, Boak, Lycett, Rozee, Ladhams, Mayes, Houston
Carlton: Honey 2, McGovern, Kennedy, Casboult
Port Adelaide: Boak, Aliir, Amon, Wines, Bergman, Byrne-Jones, Rozee
Carlton: Walsh, Kennedy, Murphy, Dow
Port Adelaide: Lycett (knee)
Carlton: Cripps (quad) replaced in selected side by Durdin
Port Adelaide: Mayes (replaced Lycett)
Carlton: Petrevski-Seton (unused)
Crowd: TBC at the Adelaide Oval