The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 10 – Carlton v Western Bulldogs: Pessimism doesn’t always please

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!



Carlton versus Western Bulldogs

2.10pm, Sunday, June 3

Melbourne Cricket Ground



MY SEVEN-YEAR-OLD SON, HUGO, HAD NEVER SEEN THE BLUES WIN. “Have we got a chance today, Dad?” he asked on the tram to the ’G. “No mate,” I replied. “We don’t match up. They’re fast, skilful, poised – and they’re playing for a spot in the eight.”


Good fatherly advice, I would have thought. But in this Homerfied era, it’s, doh, obvious that Dad doesn’t know best. This game became a Carlton v. Footscray clash from the past, only the roles were reversed. Where a rampaging Carlton would come unstuck against a scrappy Doug Hawkins-led Dog pack, the arrogant Western Bulldogs fell to a Carlton kindergarten fleet.


An early bad sign for the Dogs: my Bulldogs-supporting girlfriend, Jo, pointed to her team’s red, white and blue uniform. She says teams wearing virtually all white struggle to have the same impact as in their normal jumpers.


I agree: how can you be hard at the footy when you look like an umpy? The first quarter was basketball: seven goals each. Hugo enjoyed seeing the Blues stay in the contest; Andrew Carrazzo, Jarrad Waite and Marc Murphy made that possible. The Dogs, on the other hand, licked the bowl when they wanted to, led by Daniel Cross, Adam Cooney and Daniel Giansiracusa (“Guido” to Jo, her brother and his three Bulldogs-supporting mates).


In the second quarter, the hand-in-back rule was prominent as was the Dogs’ midfield, with Cooney, Matthew Boyd, Scott West and Shaun Higgins getting plenty of it. The Blues were still working hard via Murphy, Waite, Carrazzo and Kade Simpson, while Setanta “Carlos” O’hAilpin was front man for a reasonably in-tune band of defenders.


Half-time and the Bulldogs led by 15 points. Too close for my liking. I’d come expecting, even needing a big Carlton loss. During the half-time break in this piece, take your eyes off the Auskickers for a second and I’ll explain.


In the first half, I stood up five times and used language fit for Big Brother Up Late, and punched the seat in front when Brendan Fevola wasn’t paid a free. I’m an instant idiot, just add football. I give the umps and the opposition mouthfuls of “eff” and letters earlier in the alphabet. I’m the reason why families don’t go to the footy and why the AFL has sanitised the game. Despite this, I was trying not to give Hugo a licence to swear, while also trying to make a good impression on my new girlfriend, her brother and his mates.


I got a relaxing latté, graciously declined Jo’s brother’s beer, and predicted the basketball would continue: final score Dogs 24 goals, Blues 17. But Carlton, led by Matthew Lappin (four goals for the third quarter), made the Dogs look stupid and took a 19-point three-quarter-time lead.


“Are we a chance mate?” I asked Hugo.
“Yep,” he said. “I think so.”
On my hastily scrawled stats sheet, West was getting a bit of it, but Guido, Jason Akermanis, Luke Darcy, Nathan Eagleton – even Brad Johnson – were a bit quiet. The Bulldogs defence, usually fine for running and bouncing, had been shown up for not spoiling and belting.


“I don’t think we can hold your stars for a whole game,” I told Jo’s brother. He was non-commital. In fact, the Bulldogs supporters around me seemed to think this one had got away.


Conforming to my club’s new culture, I told Hugo we’d lose. But when the Dogs got within three points before I’d time to put my orange peel under the seat, I was looking distinctly un-Homer-like. Peter Street, looking more like a goalpost than the four at either end, stilted in and kicked a goal. Jo’s brother and his mates group-hugged and Jo kissed me on the cheek.


I’d told her to do that any time it looked like I might lose the plot. It’s what the psychologists call external locus of control. But she couldn’t do it when my head was jumping up with the rest of my body every two minutes of the last quarter, complaining so vigorously about umpiring decisions that when he got home Hugo said to his older sister, ‘You should have come – Dad uses the f-word. Heaps!’.


Carrazzo, surely only recruited by Carlton from Geelong for his name, was outstanding in the midfield, as were Waite and Jordan Bannister. Kouta, asked by Pagan to cut in just for the last quarter, led the Dogs’ stars a merry dance. But Guido, West, Eagleton and Cooney kept the Dogs alive. Not according to their supporters, though. I heard someone say, “Last year we’d have won games like this”. Now that’s a losing culture.


And they did lose. The Dogs, expecting someone to finish off the Blues all day, didn’t get round to doing it. And, for once, the Blues’ chains of handballs didn’t fall away like Houdini’s; they held their marks; and, incredibly, they even got effing frees right in front. The Dogs’ supporters, including my – I’m pleased to report – not ex-girlfriend, shook my hand. Hugo and I sang the song together for the first time and I explained how, at the footy, it can be really hard to hear what barrackers are actually shouting.




Carlton 7.2 10.5 18.8 21.12 (138)

Western Bulldogs 7.3 12.8 14.13 19.14 (128)



Carlton: Lappin 5, Fisher, Waite 3, Murphy 2, Walker, Bentick, Whitnall, Blackwell, O’hAilpin, Fevola, Scotland, Bannister.

Western Bulldogs: Johnson 3, Eagleton, Giansiracusa, Cooney, Higgins 2, Hahn, Gilbee, Power, Griffen, Akermanis, Hargrave, Robbins, Street.



Carlton: Carrazzo, Waite, Bannister, Lappin, Simpson, Murphy.

Western Bulldogs: Cooney, Giansiracusa, West, Morris, Cross, Boyd.



Thornton (Carlton) 100 games, Griffen (Bulldogs) 50 games.



Kennedy, Stevic, Woodcock.



Carrazzo (Carl.) 3, Waite 2 (Carl.), Lappin (Carl.) 1.



Carrazzo (Carl.) 3, Waite 2 (Carl.), Cooney* (WB) 1.







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

Leave a Comment