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Carlton have hung to a thrilling three-point win over Port Adelaide, after the Power fought back from 50 points down in the third term.

Charlie Curnow kicked Carlton’s only goal in the final term to seal the win and resign Port Adelaide to their worst start to an AFL season in club history, with a fifth straight loss.

The Blues finished with an “unbelievable” 14. 10 (94) to 13.13 (91) win at the MCG in a game of two halves.

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Carlton were “ruthless” in the opening two terms, as big men Harry McKay and Charlie Curnow kicked six of their side’s 12 goals in an “irresistible” start.

But the game completely “flipped on its head” in the second half as Port Adelaide were able to lock the ball inside their forward 50 and convert.

The Power could have taken the lead in the final term, with Steven Motlop missing his two attempts on goal early, while Robbie Gray couldn’t convert one of his chances.

The inability to find a mark inside 50 hurt the Power in the final term as Carlton’s defenders in Jacob Weitering and Lewis Young stood tall when it mattered.

MATCH REPORT

Carlton stunned a “shell-shocked” Port Adelaide at the MCG, by putting on 12 goals to half-time in a “ruthless” display.

Big Blue Harry McKay caused plenty of problems for the Power defence, with early goals and assists against Aliir Aliir.

“He’s just too big for them Harry,” Fox Footy’s David King said.

But the damage was done in the middle with Port Adelaide forced to roll out debutant Sam Hayes in the absence of injured big man Scott Lycett.

Without Lycett, the Blues are winning the ball from the center 10-6 by half time.

“No goals from clearances last week – they are off to a flyer today with three already from clearance,” King praised.

Commentator Dwayne Russell said it was turning into a “horror show” at the MCG for Port Adelaide, before youngster Mitch Georgiades was able to keep them in touch by the first change.

But a late goal to Charlie Curnow seconds before the quarter time siren pushed the Blues lead out to 25.

The Blues then showed no mercy in the second term, running in another six goals to put the Power to the sword.

“It’s unraveling fast for Port,” Russell said.

When Harry McKay kicked his third from a Zak Butters turnover, it summed up Port’s first half.

Butters had tried to take the game on and butchered his kick to the corridor, coughing it up on the Blues 50m arc.

“I don’t mind Zak Butters trying to do something – he was just traveling at too high a tempo to caress the footy then,” commentator Dermott Brereton said.

“Unfortunately every target was a statue.”

“That’s what it looks like when you’re not sure what the team’s doing,” King added.

“He was looking to the corridor, clearly that’s the plan today, something different from last week.”

But the game completely swung in the second half as Port Adelaide finally found some fight in season 2022, as they stared down a 50-point deficit.

Completely outplayed in the first half, the Power came out firing in the third term, kicking six goals to one to close within 17 points at the final change.

Port could have been even closer had veteran Robbie Gray not put one out on the full seconds from the three quarter time siren.

“Their ability to score once they go inside 50 is the concern (for Carlton),” commentator David King said.

“When they get the ball in space, they can’t go with them Carlton.”

Sam Powell-Pepper gave the Power the best possible start in the last term when he snapped a goal to narrow the margin to just eight, and when veteran Robbie Gray’s “freakish” mark and goal brought the margin to just two, all the momentum was with port.

“If anything can get their season started, it’s a comeback from 50 points down, and they’ve got time to do it,” Russell said.

“Port Adelaide were on the canvas – the referee nearly stopped the fight, and they’re two points down.”

But Port’s ability to find a target inside 50 in the final term hurt when down the other end, Curnow took a great grab and kicked the sealer to end the Power’s epic fight back.

The game went down to the dying seconds before Harry McKay was able to take a mark on the defensive wing and just calm his teammates down.

The win means the Blues are now 4-1 after five rounds while the winless Port continue to struggle in 2022.

THE 3-2-1…

3. PORT ‘CLIMB OFF CANVAS’ IN EASTER EPIC

Port Adelaide fell just short of their first win in 2022, but the Power’s epic fightback was certainly thrilling for footy fans.

Staring down a 50-point deficit in the third term, the visitors finally found a way to lock the ball inside their forward 50 in the third term.

“We saw in that third term, Carlton couldn’t move the ball out of there,” Fox Footy’s David King said.

“It stayed there, it lived there. They built pressure. Six goals three from forward half work. They were averaging 18 points per game from forward half turnovers.

“So to get 39 points in a quarter is just totally off the charts.”

Port Adelaide had never won a game from being more than 41 points down, and they went so close at the MCG on Easter Sunday.

Inaccuracy ended up costing them in the final term, as Steven Motlop sent two shots wide while Robbie Gray could only convert one of his two opportunities.

2. ‘HEROIC’ CURNOW STEERS BLUES

The Blues forward duo of Harry McKay and Charlie Curnow terrorized Port Adelaide’s defense for three quarters.

Aside from the third term where the Power embarked on an epic comeback, Curnow and McKay had their opponents’ measure at the MCG.

In the opening term, McKay had defender Aliir Aliir’s measure, keeping him in two minds about where to position.

“When he comes at the ball, he’s just unstoppable and that’s what you want from your key forward,” Fox Footy’s Cam Mooney said.

“They want to put Aliir Aliir in a position where if he takes a gamble and leaves (McKay), he can be left in no man’s land,” David King added.

By half time, McKay and Curnow had six goals between them as the Blues opened up a 49-point lead.

“They’re just monsters,” Mooney said.

Despite taking just seven marks inside forward 50 in the first half, the tall duo brought the ball to ground.

“To have such focal points that are prepared to stand under the high ball,” King said. “They don’t ask for it to be pretty – just get in as deep as you can.

“Every time it goes in you think, ‘jeez they are going to mark this’.”

Curnow finished the hero for the Blues with his fifth goal of the day the match-winner.

McKay ended up with three goals from his 18 disposals.

1. WALSH GETS HOT EARLY

With skipper Patrick Cripps sidelined by injury, many critics wondered who would step up in the Blues engine room.

But Sam Walsh quickly provided the answer.

The midfielder had 16 disposals in the first term in a remarkable display.

“I love first term players – guys that set up victories,” Fox Footy’s David King said.

“They don’t jump on a soft kill and fatten their stats late in the day.

“He was the fire starter.

“No Patrick Cripps? Up steps their next best.”

Walsh finished with 38 disposals for 400 metres gained, while teammates Adam Cerra and George Hewett also found plenty of ball.

Cerra had 32 touches and four clearances while Hewett collected 33 disposals and had 13 clearances.

Analyst Cam Mooney said Walsh’s performance put questions about his drafting to bed.

“He and (Port’s Connor) Rozee were talked about years ago,” he said.

“Did Carlton pick the wrong guy?

“I think about the last couple of years we’ve seen Carlton actually got the right guy.”

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