CARLTON 10.9 (69)
PORT ADELAIDE 13.12 (90)
Kade Simpson's 300th game will be remembered as yet an other noble defeat with Port Adelaide winning a hard-fought contest at the MCG.
The Blues left it all on the park for their much-loved veteran in his milestone match, but the visitors outlasted their plucky opponents to claim a trying 21-point win.
Simpson was simply inspiring, mopping up everything across half-back in his typically resilient manner to finish with a game-high 37 disposals in another vintage display.
But it wasn't enough, with Port Adelaide walking away 13.12 (90) to 10.9 (69) victors.
Charlie Curnow started the game in eye-catching fashion, wreaking havoc as the Blues made a fighting start.
There was no stopping the gifted Blues youngster early, with the 21-year-old proving he's just as good at ground level as he is in the air on his way to a four-goal outing.
The recently re-signed Curnow twice crumbed the pack expertly for his first two majors of the afternoon, before adding a third before quarter-time having daunted the Power into giving away a free kick close to goal.
But the superior quality of Port Adelaide was bound to come to the fore eventually, with Gray providing the spark after the Power had trailed at the first change.
He kicked two goals in as many minutes to start the second quarter, adding to his earlier snapped effort, as the Power piled on five unanswered goals to claim the ascendancy.
The burst came amid a period when midfield bulls Ollie Wines and Tom Rockliff began matching Carlton's industry on the inside, and Wingard provided some moments of quality on the outside, as Port Adelaide surged to a handy 19-point lead at half-time.
Yet just when the game appeared to be Port Adelaide's, Carlton came again.
As the heavens opened in the third quarter, Port Adelaide's scoring dried up. The Power were held scoreless for the entire term, as Carlton quickly reduced the deficit to two points.
But the comeback proved short-lived.
Having peppered the goal for large periods to start the final term, Steven Motlop, Charlie Dixon and Wingard all converted within three minutes of each other to eventually give Port Adelaide some breathing space.
The momentum swing proved the ultimate difference, with a tiring Carlton unable to respond as Port Adelaide momentarily lifted itself back into the AFL's top four.
Speaking after the match, Carlton coach Brendon Bolton praised the way his side attacked the game in honour of Simpson's milestone match.
"In all of Carlton's history, there's only ever been five," Bolton said.
"Split that up, it's about one every 30 years. There are 1200-odd players, or thereabouts, that have played for Carlton and only five (have played 300).
"We slowed the week down, appreciated that Simmo has been inspiring people for 16 years, today is the day we tried to inspire Simmo."
Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley agreed his side wasn't convincing in the win, but was pleased it was able to kick clear in the final quarter.
"We weren't overly impressive, we know that, but then you get a bit disrespectful to the opposition because there were a couple of players out there that were pretty good for them," Hinkley said.
"Always in this caper, you're just happy to get the four points and look for some positives, you look for some growth and that's what we'll do again this week."
Carlton: Matthew Wright split his head open in the dying stages of the game, but otherwise the Blues walked away unscathed. Jacob Weitering went to the rooms at three-quarter time, but didn't seem hampered by any injury and played out the match.
Port Adelaide: Jasper Pittard left the game with his tracksuit on after being hampered by hamstring tightness. He's likely to be assessed during the week, having missed the majority of the second half due to the injury.
Carlton travels to the Gabba to face Brisbane, where the Blues have lost four straight games against the Lions. Port Adelaide hosts St Kilda at the Adelaide Oval, with the Power unbeaten in their past six matches against the Saints.
Carlton: C. Curnow 4, Murphy, Cripps, Pickett, Phillips, Dow, Kennedy
Port Adelaide: R. Gray 3, Westhoff 2, Marshall 2, Wingard 2, Thomas, Motlop, Dixon, Boak
Carlton: C. Curnow, Simpson, Cripps, Murphy, Rowe, Jones
Port Adelaide: Westhoff, Wingard, Rockliff, Powell-Pepper, Houston, Hombsch
Port Adelaide: Pittard (hamstring tightness)
Official crowd: 26,562 at the MCG