Port Adelaide dynamo Robbie Gray orchestrated a 103-point belting of Carlton on Friday night to keep the Power’s top-four ambitions alive.
Gray was a standout in Port’s thumping 20.20 (140) to 5.7 (37) win before 52,505 spectators – a record crowd for an AFL game at Adelaide Oval.
Port’s victory was their largest against Carlton, eclipsing the 89-point margin of 1998.
And the Blues were restricted to their lowest score against the Power, who rose to fourth on the ladder on percentage from Fremantle.
The Dockers can take that spot back by beating Brisbane on Sunday before a showdown against Port in Perth in the last round for the pivotal position, which gifts a double-chance in the finals.
Gray amassed 31 disposals and kicked four goals, leading the rampage against a lacklustre Carlton, who lost their captain Marc Murphy to concussion.
Murphy was knocked out when his head thumped into the turf in a low marking contest with Port’s Cam O’Shea midway through the second term.
But the result was entrenched by the time Murphy was taken off on a stretcher – Port already led by 43 points after an early assault triggered by Gray.
The nippy utility was instrumental as the Power kicked 5.6 to 1.2 in the opening term – he booted two goals, set up another and collected 10 disposals for the quarter.
Gray remained influential while teammates Chad Wingard, Jake Neade and Justin Westhoff each slotted three goals.
Port 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.
In stark contrast, the Blues barely had a winner: fullback Sam Rowe battled gamely against the tide and Bryce Gibbs gathered 29 disposals.
Carlton, who could lose their 13th spot by the end of the weekend, were powerless to halt Port, who piled on 10 unanswered goals in the second and third quarters.
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.