The Footy Almanac 2007 Grand Final – Geelong v Port Adelaide: A dismal end

The first printed edition of The Footy Almanac came out in 2007, before we had a website. In the absence of a real 2020 season, we will be publishing the 2007 pieces for the first time ever on www.footyalmanac.com.au. Follow the season!

 

 

Geelong versus Port Adelaide

2.30pm, Saturday, September 29

Melbourne Cricket Ground

JOHN KINGSMILL

 

I HAVE SEEN MORE JOY IN A FUNERAL PARLOUR than I saw in the Port changing rooms, thirty minutes after the 2007 Grand Final was done and dusted. Most of the players stayed out of view of the fifty or so media pack there for the Sunday papers. A handful sat slumped against the wall, their knees drawn up against their bodies, heads in their hands. The Cornes clan were gathered in one corner – Graham and Nicole (who, as a struggling ALP candidate for Boothby had reasons for her own tears) and their children; and Kane and Chad with their solemn WAGS. In the middle of this red-eyed scene, Kane held his son, 12-month old baby Eddy who is waiting to be old enough to endure heart surgery.

 

Eddy was the focus of the clan and for good reason. He wore a smile from ear to ear and that smile grew with every movement, with every stimulus. He was a little sun, shining through a room of dark clouds. Midway through the third quarter, a single tear tracked its way down coach Mark Williams’ cheek. By conference time, Mark was composed and gracious in defeat as the Victorian press challenged him about his pre-match bravado. At full strength Geelong was the superior team, he told them, and he had played the only card he could.

 

A woman up the back with a southern Californian drawl asked him what his exact emotions were once he realised the game was beyond his control. “I was bored,” Mark said. “If the game had been close and we had lost, I may have felt anger or disappointment. But I had tried every possible move and nothing was working. I wanted the game to finish and everyone to go home.”

 

I was glad he identified boredom as an emotion. Teenagers know a lot about boredom; they feel it when their world is too small. It’s this emotion that spurs them to create a bigger stage through crime, art or sometimes sport.

 

At the Geelong conference, coach Mark Thompson and Norm Smith Medallist Steve Johnson, shared the work. Bomber deflected some aggressive and rude questioning about the renewal of his contract. He then kept that topic alive by describing how he and his squad sat down last summer “when I was inches away from being sacked” to devise a plan to win this Grand Final. With a quivering lip, he gave the impression that his journey had been a lonely one and that the group had done it in spite of the board, not for them. Steve Johnson, suspended by the players for off-field indiscretions earlier in the season, had had a similar epic journey to end up winning two medals.

 

Johnson confirmed that once Port started playing tempo footy in time-on in the first quarter, the Geelong players knew they would win. A year ago, many thought tempo footy was killing football. This year, Geelong killed tempo footy stone dead with full-out attack. To make sure the beast was truly buried, they stamped on its grave kicking another six goals in the last quarter of a Grand Final when they were already 15 goals up.

 

The Herald Sun called it THE GREATEST CREAM OF ALL but is Geelong the greatest team of all? In the current 16-team format, Port leads the competition with most games won over the last eleven years, albeit narrowly and in spite of a basket-case percentage. Port has won many close encounters since they entered the competition but have also endured many thrashings.

Geelong’s victory, as massive and as magnificent as it was, has been achieved in a period of rapid change. Last year’s top four (West Coast, Sydney, Adelaide and Fremantle) were bundled out of the race with barely a squeak between them. This year’s top four (Geelong, Port, Kangaroos and Hawthorn) came from 10th, 12th, 14th and 11th respectively.

 

There has been a generational shift in 2007, with the retirement of a staggering number of key players from the last decade. We know you can only play those who turn up but, no matter how you look at it, Geelong’s wonderful accomplishment has been achieved in a soft, transitional year. They’ll need another cup next year to establish the value of this one.

 

There was only one hard luck story in this year’s finals. After a tough six-quarter road trip against a still strong West Coast the week before, Collingwood nearly caused the upset of the century by falling only one kick and a few seconds behind the rested Geelong in the Preliminary Final .

 

Adelaide and Sydney have no grounds for complaint in their elimination finals while Hawthorn and the Kangaroos showed they weren’t ready for the real thing, and may not be next year either, as Brisbane slowly rebuilds.

 

 

Geelong                5.7          11.13    18.17    24.19 (163)

Port Adelaide  2.2           4.3           5.5           6.8 (44)

 

GOALS

Geelong: Mooney 5, Chapman, S. Johnson 4, N. Ablett 3, Bartel 2, Ottens, Byrnes, G. Ablett, Rooke, Ling, Mackie.

Port Adelaide: Tredrea, S. Burgoyne 2, C. Cornes, Logan.

 

BEST

Geelong: S. Johnson, Chapman, Scarlett, Corey, Mackie, Enright, Ling, Harley, Ottens, Mooney.

Port Adelaide: K. Cornes, C. Cornes, P. Burgoyne.

 

MILESTONE

Pearce (Port Adelaide) 50 games.

 

UMPIRES

McBurney, McLaren, McInerney

 

OUR VOTES

Johnson (G) 3, Chapman (G) 2, Scarlett (G) 1.

 

NORM SMITH

Steve Johnson (G)

 

CROWD
97,302

 

 

For more Round by Round reports of the 2007 season click HERE

 

Printed copies of The Footy Almanac 2007 can be purchased HERE.

 

 

2007 Footy Almanac

Comments

  1. David Zampatti says

    It was a shame – especially as for the past two years we’d watched pulsating grand finals in a heaving Australian bar in Pacific Beach, San Diego. We’d opened our own joint downtown in 2007, and invited just about everyone in SD ( thanks Darren Bennett) to watch the greatest day of the world’s greatest game with us.

    Took a fair bit of explaining, that did…

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