CARLTON goes into Sunday night’s match with plenty of confidence, having won seven ofits past eight games against Port Adelaide, including both encounters lastseason. While the Blues will miss injured champion midfielder Chris Judd, theywelcome prized recruit Dale Thomas from Collingwood. Port Adelaide’s recentrecord at this venue is disappointing, its five-point win over St Kilda inround 17 last year breaking a run of eight consecutive defeats. But the Powershowed dramatic improvement under coach Ken Hinkley in 2013 and this shapes asa tight, enthralling contest between two of last year’s finalists.
WHERE AND WHEN:Etihad Stadium, Sunday, March 16, 7.40pm
TV AND RADIO: Click here for the broadcast guide
LAST FIVE TIMES
R23, 2013, Carlton 15.14 (104) d Port Adelaide 15.13 (103) at AAMI Stadium
R8, 2013, Carlton 16.13 (109) d Port Adelaide 14.7 (91) at Etihad Stadium
R10, 2012, Port Adelaide 14.15 (99) d Carlton 6.9 (45) at AAMI Stadium
R11, 2011, Carlton 16.15 (111) d Port Adelaide 7.7 (49) at AAMI Stadium
R8, 2010, Carlton 17.16 (118) d Port Adelaide 14.8 (92) at AAMI Stadium
THE SIX POINTS
1. Carlton defeated Port Adelaide twice in 2013. The Blues won by 18 points in round eight at Etihad Stadium and by one point in round 23 at AAMI Stadium. In round 23 the Blues needed to win to play finals, coming from 32 points down at half-time and 29 at the final change.
2. The Blues were a long kicking side in 2013. They ranked second with 1532 long kicks while Port Adelaide ranked last with 1121.
3. Carlton has dominated Port Adelaide recently, winning seven of the past eight games between the teams.
4. The Blues took more contested marks than any other team in 2013, averaging 13 a game. By contrast Port Adelaide ranked 17th with nine a game.
5. Carlton does not enjoy playing at Etihad Stadium. In 2013 the Blues lost five of nine games and since 2011 have won only 12 of 27.
6. In 2013 Port Adelaide’s average score was 92 points a game – its highest since 2008.
Prediction: Carlton by 12 points