The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 10 – Melbourne v Adelaide: The first moment of true glory for long-suffering Dees fans

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!

 

 

Melbourne versus Adelaide

2.10pm, Saturday, June 2

Melbourne Cricket Ground

by MARK FREEMAN

 

ON MATCH MORNING, GRUMPY Age columnist Robert Walls listed five Demons who should be traded for draft picks while they could still play. One of the five, classy midfielder Cameron Bruce, admitted later that he and other players had read it, and even discussed it, before the game. Praise the Lord they did. For on this sunny but cool winter afternoon, an afternoon on which Dees fans soaked up this season’s first ray of true happiness, some of those named played brilliantly.

 

At the bounce the Dees were immediately up and running. When Paul Wheatley found David Neitz on a lead, and the big skipper slotted the game’s first, Dees fans gained an inkling that their boys hadn’t lost heart after their tormenting series of narrow losses over the previous month.

 

Optimism turned to unbridled joy when Daniel ‘Dinger’ Bell provided the clear highlight of the Demons’ season thus far. Within four minutes of the opening bounce, Crow Tyson Edwards bombed long to full-forward Scott Welsh, who, running with the flight of the ball, marked at the top of the goalsquare.

 

Welsh didn’t break stride, and shaped to roost the ball high into the stands. But Bell had shadowed him and launched a perfect tackle. The ball spilled free, the new northern stand roof fairly lifted, and Bell was able to mop up and clear to Brad Green on the flank.

 

This inspirational act signified that the Demons were full of fight. It was also the beginning of a grand day out for Bell. Welsh had in recent years dined out on Melbourne full backs, but Bell held him superbly.

 

The Crows, mainly through Edwards, Simon Goodwin and Jason Porplyzia, hit back to steal a narrow advantage at the first break. The second quarter was a blur of red and blue. It was Melbourne’s best quarter for the season. It started with Bruce, who marked, played on and kicked the goal to put the Dees in front. A minute later, Bruce found Nathan Jones for another.

 

Aaron Davey showed off his brilliant skills with a breathtaking pick-up, turn and full-tilt bolt downfield. Then Green – another Walls’ trade bait – took a superb run-with-the-flight mark to set up another goal. Ricky Petterd showed composure in nailing the next, while Colin Sylvia laid a glorious tackle on Jason Torney for Matthew Bate to capitalise.

 

Russell Robertson, Paul Wheatley and Neitz joined in this goal-fest before the quarter was done. But the best work of all was done deep in defence.

 

Bell earned best-on-ground honours for not allowing Welsh a sniff. It was gutsy, disciplined defensive work. Ably assisted by Nathan Carroll, Bell repeatedly cleared the ball from the Crows’ forward line. Bell even reprised his first-quarter heroics when he again brought down Welsh just metres from goal. Result? Again, no score.

 

The Crows were rattled. Immediately after the resumption from the long break, Robert Shirley ran into an open goal and missed from the top of the goalsquare. Welsh took a screamer, but lined up from 15 metres out and hit the post. The Crows had been six goals down at half-time and needed a big third quarter. This sort of thing wasn’t going to do it for them.

 

Davey, Bruce, Green and James McDonald controlled the midfield, with Jeff White winning the ruck. Bate continued to provide a target at centre half-forward and Melbourne extended its lead to 44 points at the last break. The parched Demons were happily marching up to the well of victory.

 

Within the opening 90 seconds of the final turn, Scott Stevens snapped truly on his left for the Crows’ fifth goal. Six minutes later, Michael Doughty slotted their sixth. Dees fans halted on their march to the well, and squirmed in their seats.

 

The Crows were winning everything. While the Dees constantly stopped and propped and handballed around in panicked circles. Welsh kicked his only goal for the game. The rise to the well of victory became a hill, and Dees fans felt sick in the guts.

 

Moments later, Stevens made it four in a row to the Crows. Three straight kicks in it, about 10 minutes to go. The hill became an escarpment, coach Neale Daniher was scrambling for the rock-climbing gear, and Dees fans were doubled over in pain.

 

There can hardly ever have been a better captain’s goal. Neitz marked on a lead 55 metres out on the southern boundary at the Jolimont end. Close to goal, Russell Robertson and Colin Sylvia flapped about in the Crows’ flood. But big Neita put his head over the ball, pushed off the fence and unloaded from 60 metres. The ball sailed high, long and straight, and a primal scream erupted as the goal umpire stood rigid in the centre of goal. It was through; we were home.

 

With exactly 28 minutes and 19 seconds on the clock, the Demons’ 2007 official trumpeter, Ari Farrar – who had been unable to show off his talents in the nine previous weeks – stood on the second level of the Great Southern Stand and blew the first sweet notes of the old refrain.

 

And Dees fans sang.

 

Melbourne  2.3 10.5 12.10 13.11 (89)

Adelaide  3.1 4.5 5.8 10.12 (72)

 

GOALS

Melbourne: Neitz 3, Bate, Jones, Robertson 2, Bruce, Davey, Petterd, Wheatley.
Adelaide: Porplyzia, Ricciuto, Stevens 2, Doughty, Perrie, Torney, Welsh.

 

BEST

Melbourne: Bell, Green, Bruce, Neitz, Davey.
Adelaide: Edwards, Goodwin, Knights, Doughty, McLeod.

 

MILESTONE

McLean (Melbourne) 50 games.

 

UMPIRES

Margetts, Hendrie, Goldspink.

 

OUR VOTES

Bell (M) 3, Green (M) 2, Bruce (M) 1.

 

BROWNLOW

Bell (M) 3, Green (M) 2, Bruce (M) 1.

 

CROWD

23,657

 

 

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

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