A rampant Carlton maintained its sweeping run of home victories after recording its fifth from its six home games so far this year.
On paper, the match against Newcastle Breakers - last week's winners over runaway Ericsson Cup leaders Perth Glory - seemed as if it might pose Carlton some difficulty.
Optus Oval's surface, however, is grass, and despite an even first half, Carlton went in one goal up after a 44th minute Alex Moreira goal, then stormed home in the second to record a comprehensive 3 - 0 win.
Newcastle and Carlton had each probed for weaknesses in the other's formation and seemed equally as unsuccessful in the quest. But with the half almost over, Moreira - scorer of a hat-trick in Carlton's previous home game - showed his deadliness in front of goal when he headed in from close-range. The bulk of the credit belongs to Marco Bresciano who had started the move mid-way inside his own half with a direct and powerful run down the middle, riding challenges along the way.
It looked as if he had attempted to evade one challenge too many, but retained the ball, then found Con Anthopoulos making a supporting run wide down the right. Anthopoulos' cross was perfectly flighted for Moreira.
Newcastle should have taken the lead just eight minutes before. John Buonavoglia, who was to prove a handy provider of Newcastle's best moments with his speedy runs down Newcastle's left wing, had again eluded and out-sped his markers. His pass inside was to where Sang-Chul Yoon lay in wait. Yoon attempted to finesse three Carlton defenders closing him down when an early shot was the better option, and when it was finally unleashed, passed harmlessly wide.
"We were playing some good football," said Breakers' coach Lee Sterry after the game, "(At half-time) we should have led 1-0 from Yoon. We put him in front of the goalkeeper, I told him 'Shoot at him' - he wants to touch it three times in front of goal six yards out. That's just crap."
On the occasions I've seen Carlton play this year, they get better as the game goes on, and this match was to prove no exception.
Nine minutes after the re-start, Carlton were two up. This time it was Bresciano with a left-foot finish from near the 18 yard line after Joe Tricarico had carried the ball up the right wing. With no options forward and inside, Tricarico slipped it back to Bresciano whose placed shot went wide of Bob Catlin and inside the far post.
Carlton's most fluid play came from this point in the match. Andrew Marth had found himself in space throughout the game, and his combinations with Tricarico, Lubo Lapsansky, and Bresciano snuffed out any Newcastle contemplation of getting back into the contest. Carlton was able to move the ball, maintaining possession, and so frustrate the Breakers' attempts to put some together some moves of their own.
Moreira confirmed there was to be no joy for Newcastle with his second - Carlton's third - in the 65th minute. A smartly cleared ball was played forward by Lapsansky to where Moreira was able to outrun his marker to fire a neat shot low to Catlin's right.
Late in the game, Buonavoglia then substitute Brad Wieczorek hit the frame of the Carlton goal with Adrian Cagalj beaten, but they were to depart the ground with not even a consolation score.
Carlton coach Eddie Krncevic was happy with a good team performance "It was pretty hard to chose man-of-the-match," he said. "You could go through the whole team."
"I'm very happy with three points, it takes us up to fourth. Next week is a hard game against Marconi, but if we can take three points, the way that things are panning out with other teams playing each other, we can end up second very, very quickly."