The scoreboard proclaimed Hawthorn 31-point winners, but neither Alastair Clarkson nor Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley left UTAS Stadium with any better idea of where their sides rate in the competition.
Sitting in eighth spot on percentage alone, the Hawks are yet to win back-to-back games but haven't been beaten by more than six goals, while the Power sit a spot further back and have been equally inconsistent.
A slow start again hurt the Power in Doug Nicholls round, with 40 minutes and five Hawthorn goals elapsing before the unlikeliest of sources - 202cm debutant Peter Ladhams on the run from 45 - delivered the visitors' first point.
Hinkley agreed the first quarter cost his side dearly.
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"It was really clear early that they were up and about and hunting us a little bit more than we were hunting them back, and that's a poor thing for us because our starts haven't been super for most of the year," Hinkley said.
"We spoke about that as a group of players that we need to make sure we're better and ready to go right from the very start because that's where games are won and lost and we saw that today.
"We didn't really make much ground for the rest of the game - after the first quarter it was a nil-all draw nearly, and that's what happens in AFL football sometimes."
Robbie Gray was Port's best after returning from a broken hand, collecting 27 touches and a goal in a typically classy display, while midfielder Matt Broadbent and defender Dan Houston were good with ball in hand.
Ladhams' maiden AFL goal - a beautifully threaded set shot in the final term - was met by an old-fashioned all-in hug, but there was otherwise little to celebrate in a Power performance marred by cheap turnovers inside defensive 50.
"We caused ourselves some heartburn didn't we?" Hinkley said.
"We caused ourselves a lot of damage on the scoreboard and Hawthorn were good enough to finish it.
"We gave over turnover goals in their forward 50. That's when you pay a significant price and we did that a number of times today."
Despite securing four points, Clarkson was equally uncertain about where his side was placed heading into a trip to Brisbane next week.
Jack Gunston's fourth major - reminiscent of a well-placed striker's dink after rounding the keeper - and Paul Puopolo's open-goal sealer provided moments of class, but the Hawks were at other times plagued by decision and execution errors.
The four-time premiership coach said he couldn't say if his side was good enough to make the eight - or indeed the top four.
"We haven't been significantly out of the games we've played," Clarkson said.
"We've lost a couple that have been really tight, we've fallen over late in games due to some injuries we've had to cope with.
"So it's really hard to get a read for the football community and even for us as a footy club to know where we're at - are we a little bit better than that or are we lucky that we're 5-5? I don't really know, I wish I did."
Jaeger O'Meara, James Worpel, Liam Shiels and Tom Scully all collected 20-plus touches in a dominant midfield performance, while high-profile recruit Chad Wingard enjoyed his most prolific outing in brown and gold.
Adelaide discard Ricky Henderson collected a career-high 37 possessions and like Claude Monet, appears to be hitting his peak after the age of 30.
"Henderson's playing some good footy for us - he's an important ball-carrier," Clarkson said.
"He's tough and hard and he's been able to accumulate the ball and dispose of it pretty well for us in recent weeks.
"We're pleased with the way he's performing, and Scully's getting better by each game he plays for our club, getting used to the way we play and the system with which we play."
Hawks defender Jack Scrimshaw left the ground late in the third term after a knock to the knee, while Gray played out the game despite receiving a rogue finger to the eye.
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