Demons down Port, return to top of AFL

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Dynamic duo Clayton Oliver and Christian Petracca have propelled Melbourne to a 31-point dismantling of Port Adelaide.

The pair had 64 disposals between them as the Demons reclaimed top spot with a 12.14 (86) to 8.7 (55) AFL win on Thursday night at Adelaide Oval.

The eye-catching Petracca (33 possessions, seven clearances) also kicked three goals while Oliver's 31 touches featured 11 clearances.

"It has been a bit of a theme for us, to really start to be more aggressive and get some heat on the ball," Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said.

"To the players' credit, they were outstanding in being able to execute that."

Petracca and Oliver put on a midfield masterclass as teammate Tom McDonald slotted three goals - the sixth time he's booted three or more in 16 games this season.

His teammate Kysaiah Pickett also kicked three majors to rediscover touch while recalled forward Ben Brown (10 disposals, four marks) was lively in the first half.

Port's former captain Travis Boak (25 disposals, eight clearances) and Ollie Wines (33 touches) continued their fine form.

Winger Karl Amon (28 possessions, eight inside 50s) was influential and emerging attacker Mitch Georgiades briefly sparked Port hopes with a two-goal cameo and soaring mark.

But the Power's premiership credentials have taken another hit from a genuine contender.

Of Port's five losses, four have been to flag fancies - the Western Bulldogs, Brisbane, Geelong and now Melbourne.

The Power slip from fourth to fifth and the gap may widen with Brisbane (third) and Geelong (fourth) favourites to create breathing space with wins over St Kilda and Carlton.

And compounding Port's problems, comeback kid Zak Butters was substituted from the game with a right knee injury.

Port coach Ken Hinkley said the 20-year-old playmaker, missing since round four because of ankle surgery, may have suffered ligament damage.

"He has given his knee a bit of a sprain, it looks like maybe his medial (ligament) .. we will wait and see," Hinkley said.

Butters exited in the third quarter, when the Demons' McDonald rallied his troops.

Melbourne led by 26 points in the second term but the Power then snuck within nine after a Georgiades burst - he took a spectacular high pack mark and potted two goals.

But influential Demon McDonald then retorted with two majors in three minutes, giving the visitors a valuable 22-point three quarter-time lead.

Melbourne aces Petracca and Pickett then again took centre stage, scoring goals to effectively quash any thought of a Port revival - the home side didn't score a major until Charlie Dixon's post-siren strike.

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