Mitch McGovern celebrates a goal during round 12, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

CARLTON has shaken off a poor record at Adelaide Oval to post a commanding 36-point win over fellow top-four fancy Port Adelaide on Thursday evening.

It's just the side's second win at the venue in 11 years, and its first win over a South Australian side.

An immense fourth quarter, in which they doubled their goal tally for the game, saw the Blues run away 16.11 (107) to 10.11 (71) winners over the Power.

POWER v BLUES Full match coverage and stats

After a quiet start to the game, Carlton captain Patrick Cripps (22 disposals, two goals) made a massive statement to open the final term, slotting two big goals to stretch the margin after the lead swung back and forth six times in the first three quarters.

In stark contrast to the previous 90 minutes, Carlton became super-efficient coming out of centre stoppages late, finding four quick goals thanks to that clearance control, putting the Power on the back foot. Much of this was a result of Tom De Koning's (28 hitouts, eight clearances, one goal) superb work in the ruck, who was impressive all evening.

Sam Walsh (33 disposals, 13 tackles, eight clearances) was tireless, while Nic Newman's (29 disposals, eight marks) impact was consistent throughout the game.


It wasn't simply the Blues' ability to get it forward that was so damaging, but the speed with which the ball was going inside 50. That speed opened the attacking arc wide, offering plenty of composed opportunities at goal.

The Power did enjoy some serious attacking muscle out of the midfield for large patches, by way of Zak Butters (23 disposals, five clearances) and Jason Horne-Francis (22 disposals, 10 clearances). The latter's impressive run through stoppages became a feature as the game wore on, with no Blues able to go with him.

In a seriously hot contest, pressure on the ball carrier and attempts to force the opposition into smaller and smaller pockets of space was evident from both sides.

Port Adelaide's ability to squeeze the Blues, combined with its host of intercepting defenders, made life especially difficult for Carlton's forwards. Rarely did they enjoy a clean run at the footy, and the visitors' ball use going inside 50 was at times rushed and panicked.


This forced Carlton to get creative inside 50, assisted by the contested marking strength of Charlie Curnow and De Koning, but also the ability of players like George Hewett and Brodie Kemp to either offer a neat link or hit the scoreboard themselves.

Curnow (three goals, seven marks) was immense, competing beautifully in the air and slotting goals from all areas, and often made his teammates forward 50 entries look better than they necessarily were.

Being able to tick the scoreboard over when things weren't quite as neat as they'd like meant the Blues were in a position to pounce when they hit the accelerator after the final break.

This wasn't the case for Port Adelaide, however, with a dominant second quarter respawning the side's conversion issues that have hurt it this year, kicking just one goal from seven scores. But one player's who had no problems kicking majors rather than minors was Mitch Georgiades, who kicked four goals to take charge of the Power's attack.

Holding the ball?
After an adjustment to the interpretation of holding the ball was made during the week, Thursday's clash was the first look at the impact it would have on the competition. While players certainly looked to get rid of the football with a little more efficiency throughout the match, there wasn't a significant increase in free kicks for holding the ball. The adjustment, however, was clear in the case of the player with the footy having one arm restricted, the new interpretation came into play, with two paid in the opening half against Carlton's Charlie Curnow, and Port Adelaide's Kane Farrell.
A quiet night for Dixon
Returning to the side after being managed last week, Port Adelaide key forward Charlie Dixon was subbed out of the game during the third quarter after a return of just one disposal and two tackles. Instead, it was 22-year-old Mitch Georgiades taking control inside 50 for the home side, remaining the stay-at-home forward and getting on the end of repeat forward entries. Georgiades' four goals, reminding Power fans that he is the one to own the club's attack for the long term.
Wines the ruck
Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley opted to go into the game with one recognised ruck – Ivan Soldo – and relied not on Charlie Dixon, but veteran midfielder Ollie Wines to offer Soldo a chop out. While Wines attempted to compete in the air, he really did his damage on the deck, forcing a change in mindset from the Carlton onball group and helping the Power get the ball in the hands of damaging duo Zak Butters and Jason Horne-Francis.

PORT ADELAIDE          3.2    4.8    7.9     10.11 (71)
CARLTON                     3.2    5.5    8.10   16.11 (107)
Port Adelaide: Georgiades 4, Burgoyne, Soldo, Horne-Francis, McEntee, Finlayson, Marshall
Carlton: Curnow 3, Williams 3, McKay 3, Cripps 2, De Koning, Kemp, Cincotta, McGovern, Acres
Port Adelaide: Butters, Horne-Francis, Georgiades, Wines, Drew
Carlton: Cripps, Curnow, De Koning, Newman, Walsh, Williams
Port Adelaide: Nil
Carlton: Nil
Port Adelaide: Jeremy Finlayson (replaced Charlie Dixon in the third quarter)
Carlton: Jack Carroll (replaced Orazio Fantasia in the last quarter)
Crowd: 40,532 at Adelaide Oval