The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 1 – Adelaide v Essendon

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 Follow the season!


Adelaide v Essendon
12.40pm, Sunday, April 1
AAMI Stadium, Adelaide

by John Origlasso


Essendon travelled to AAMI Stadium for this match against Adelaide. I travelled to the Essendon Football Club Social Club at Windy Hill. When faced with signing in, I wrote Geoff Blethyn, completing the “y” with a flourish. It’s remarkable how a 36-year-old will amuse himself.


In the week leading into the game, Kevin Sheedy had shaken down cameramen for their credentials and photographed people watching training. “Footy espionage is growing again,” he told the media. I half-expect to see photos of people of interest in the social club. Instead the bar was sparsely decorated: the framed silks of jockey Greg Childs, some Bomber premiership photos, and standard Australian booze-resistant social club carpet.


Bomber skipper Matthew Lloyd wins the toss. First cheer of the day. It could be a good year. With less than five minutes gone, Lloyd runs into the open goal. Now it is their year. Most in the bar are out of their seats, fists pumping, high-fiving. One awkward high-ten needs some work. Scott Lucas, Essendon’s 2006 club champion, is giving Adelaide centre half-back Scott Stevens the merry run around.


The mob is exuberant. No-one has anticipated this flying start on foreign soil against the 2005 minor premiers. When Adam McPhee clears from defensive fifty, a bloke yells, “Well done, Rod Stewart!” Adelaide plays piggy-in-the-middle, using handball to clear stoppages, working back into the match. Damien Peverill’s indecision results in a turnover and a Crow goal. A fan exclaims, “Peverill, just run forward, you f*****g idiot!”


Essendon’s newfound leg-speed becomes apparent in the second quarter. In Rocky 2, Rocky Balboa finds the leg-speed to overcome Apollo Creed by chasing chickens. Sheeds, not one for chasing chickens, has drafted speed in the form of Alwyn Davey and Leroy Jetta. They are important. Adelaide’s flow is disrupted. Their strength of running the lines, which usually begins at half-back through McLeod, Mattner and Johncock, is circumvented. The Crows look frustrated. They can’t string together clean possession, and they’re missing simple shots. Meanwhile, Lucas dominates. James Hird hunts the ball, winning vital centre clearances.


The Bombers’ back six benefit from the presence of thirty-something recruit Mal Michael. Dustin Fletcher looks particularly pleased, as if he’s going to personally thank Sheeds and the list management team. He enjoys an uncommon freedom. He directs traffic. The Dons’ defenders switch the ball, challenging Adelaide’s defensive shape. The pressure is telling. After half-time, fewer Crows back themselves. But Essendon have their own problems. The mob groans when Jobe Watson kicks the ball 30 metres backwards. One wag turns to his mate: “At least it went straight.”


In the early minutes of the last quarter, Adelaide cuts the margin to two goals. They keep coming. Nathan Bock crosses the forward fifty. He’s pressured from behind and kicks out on the full. A fan yells: “He’s a show chicken.” (I knew poultry was involved in this somewhere.) Lucas kicks his seventh. The coverage cuts to images of Crows fans leaving. “Go home you maggots!” Another fan yells: “Percentage, Bombers.”


The mob counts down the last five seconds and then erupts into, “See the Bombers fly up…” There is excited chatter. “What about Lloydy!”, “No injuries”, “Yeah, wedges here”.


As I reach the door, one chap says to his mate: “Good win”. It is neither question nor statement, just something that feels nice to say.


They smile, as if they’ve just signed into the social club as a bespectacled Bomber forward.


Adelaide 3.4 5.9 7.14 10.14 (74)
Essendon 5.1 8.3 12.8 16.9 (105)

Bock 3; Burton, Thompson 2; Perrie, Knights, Van Berlo.
Essendon: Lucas 7; Lloyd, Jetta 2; Welsh, M. Johnson, Lovett, Hille, McPhee.

Thompson, Johncock, Mattner.
Essendon: Lucas, Fletcher, Winderlich, Hird, Monfries, Davey.

Shirley (Adelaide) 100 games.

Griffin (Adelaide), Davey, Jetta (Essendon).

Farmer, Kennedy, Avon.

(E) 3, Thompson (A) 2, Davey (E) 1.

(E) 3, Thompson (A) 2, Peverill (E) 1.



Check out other Round 1 reports HERE.


If you want a printed copy of the 2007 edition of the Footy Almanac, they can be purchased HERE.


Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


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