The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 10 – St Kilda v Geelong: Jimmy Bartel’s taken to show and tell

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!

 

 

St Kilda versus Geelong

5.10pm, Sunday, June 3

Telstra Dome, Melbourne

by JOHN HARMS

 

WHEN I WAS A KID Sunday nights were for Disneyland and chicken noodle soup and toasted cheese sandwiches. In those days all six VFL games were played on Saturday afternoon. You got footy over and done with. And while you never missed the replay that evening, and World of Sport on Sundays, there was plenty of time for picnics and visiting rellies and reading Dr Seuss books. Not anymore. Footy stretches across the weekend. These days Sunday nights are for footy.

 

Or so more than 40,000 fans thought. The Saints members turned up for their home game on Sunday night, and stacks of families filled the general admission area on level three. No worries that it was a school night. The kids were clearly doing research: gathering stories for show and tell.

 

I prefer footy from ground level. Being above the play makes the game look easier than it is. But while you’re up there you can see the players who make good decisions. In this match they were mainly wearing blue and white. Cats fans applauded the return of their skipper, Tom Harley, who hadn’t played since the opening round. He was given a roving role in defence, the key posts being taken by Matthew Scarlett (on Fraser Gehrig) and Matthew Egan (on Nick Riewoldt).

 

But defence wasn’t the key element in the Geelong plan. The team attacked from the outset, playing on almost recklessly at times, and sending a clear message to the grandstand that they still had licence to take risks. The Saints’ approach was quickly evident: to push players into defence.

 

The Cats wanted the ball to beat them there. Often it did. At one stage Cameron Mooney led and marked. His momentum took him onto his left side. He kept going. He wheeled and banged a scrubber 25 metres further down field. It bounced. But the speed of the entry created such chaos that Steve Johnson won the footy and Matthew Stokes kicked a cavalier goal.

 

Despite form that had Jim Bartel as second favourite for the Brownlow, it was difficult to detect his opponent. Gary Ablett had no trouble detecting his: Steven Baker had latched on and was giving himself only enough room to swing his arm.

 

If anyone exemplifies the free-spirited approach of Geelong it is speedster David Wojcinski, whose dashes through the centre have been team-lifting. Taking possession near the centre, he burst clear. He stepped off his left foot to beat the first tackler and off his left again to beat the second. By this time he was on the boundary line. The crowd called for him to keep going. He took a bounce. And another. And he launched from fifty for one of the goals of the season.

 

The Saints rallied. Jason Gram attacked off the half-back line and Luke Ball and Lenny Hayes had plenty of the footy in the midfield. Egan and Riewoldt were sharing the points in their tussle until Riewoldt guided home a 40-metre set shot from deep in the pocket.

 

Three goals clear early in the second quarter, the Cats started to play profligate footy — as if the game were won. Chappy got hungry, and missed twice, and Andrew Mackie attempted a barrel on the run from 65. The ball came to rest near the point post. In a game as dynamic as footy, a stationary footy is beautifully surreal.

 

The Saints mounted their charge. Riewoldt ran everywhere, marking on the half-back flank, then seconds later taking a chest mark in front of Egan. He looked like he was going to rip the game apart. Bomber Thompson tried Harley on him, but the old Cat Tom couldn’t keep up. With a couple minutes to half-time Riewoldt marked 10 metres out on a slight angle. Remarkably, an accurate kick would have levelled the scores. The Cats looked under pressure. Riewoldt’s attempt hit the post. It seemed to deflate every Sainter in the stadium. Goals to Brad Ottens and Mooney in the next 90 seconds deflated them even more.

 

After the break the Cats snapped back into their first quarter form: players hard at the footy (like Max Rooke), working for each other, selecting good options. Cameron Ling blanketed the classy Nick Dal Santo (who may have been carrying an injury). Egan got on top of Riewoldt. Gary Ablett was characteristically creative. Mooney took a speccie, hit the ground running, and drilled one through.

 

The Cats added a few more after the sting had gone out of the game to win by 10 goals. The Saints weren’t as bad as that. They just didn’t take their opportunities and they ran out of legs.

 

In the train going home, a Geelong mum looked as tired as the St Kilda team. But her kids were full of victory’s energy. “What about Moon’s mark?” “What about Max?” “What about Wojack?”

 

They had plenty for show and tell.

 

 

 

St Kilda  4.1 7.6 9.8 9.11 (65)

Geelong  7.2 10.5 15.8 19.11 (125)

 

GOALS

Geelong: Ling, Mooney 3, Ottens, S. Johnson, Wojcinski 2, Rooke, Corey, G. Ablett, Stokes, Bartel, N. Ablett, Varcoe.

St Kilda: Riewoldt, Gehrig 2, Blake, Montagna, Milne, Ball, Gram.

 

BEST

Geelong: Ling, G. Ablett, Bartel, Egan, S. Johnson, Wojcinski, Chapman.

St Kilda: Gram, Riewoldt, S. Fisher, Koschitzke.

 

MILESTONE

Tenace (Geelong) 50 games.

 

UMPIRES

Ellis, Pannell, Ryan.

 

OUR VOTES

Ling (G) 3, G. Ablett (G) 2, Bartel (G) 1.

 

BROWNLOW

Bartel (G) 3, Blake (G) 2, G. Ablett(G) 1.

 

CROWD

42,188

 

 

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

 

About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and footyalmanac.com.au. He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three kids - Theo13, Anna11, Evie10. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst three. His ambition is to lunch for Australia.

Comments

  1. We forget how important Wojo was to that Cats team.

    Very good win that one.

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