The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 11 – Adelaide v Geelong: A pure display of brilliance

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 versus Geelong

12.40pm, Sunday, June 10

AAMI Stadium, Adelaide



FOOTBALL PARK IS HARDLY A HOUSE OF PAIN FOR MOST VISITORS. For the two West Australian teams and the 10 Victorian clubs, it’s their shortest road trip. It’s tougher, I admit, for Brisbane and Sydney, but all their trips are tough.


After Round 11, both Adelaide and Port have lost as many games as they have won at home this year (if you include the Showdown as a nominal home game for both clubs). The season ticket-holders don’t like this at all. It’s the single most worrying sign that, finally, an unhealthy swag of Melbourne-based clubs has caught up with the demands of modern football.


In the past, the South Australian clubs merely had to blanket one or two of the playmakers in the opposition, deny the ball to their rival’s key forwards, run all day with superior fitness, and watch the Victorian teams crumble before their eyes.


Two weeks before this match, Geelong made the Port pretenders look lazy and inept. On this day, against Adelaide, we saw one of the better games of the season.


There was no doubt that Adelaide would treat this affair with the seriousness it warranted. After becoming Melbourne’s first scalp the week before, many were so convinced that Adelaide would win they complained about its predictability.


This was the mother of all contests. Imagine, if you can, 18 players running through the corridor of a hotel, opening doors one at a time with 18 players behind them, slamming those doors shut. Imagine a crowded corridor, with multiple doors being opened and shut at the same time and imagine this happening at breakneck speed for two solid hours.


Adelaide used tempo football rarely and, when they did, it gave all of us time to sit down, turn our overload of sensations into thought, notice the lack of wind, see which players were bending over drawing breath, gripping the bottom of their shorts as if they were trying to hang onto the sense of things.


Geelong are so good at the moment for many reasons.


They have an evenness of personnel in the midfield. Jimmy Bartel, James Kelly, Joel Corey, David Wojcinski and Andrew Mackie are the team men, the linkmen; and Bartel is the best of them. He stays centreside from the contest… or so you think. Suddenly, he’s receiving the ball in the back pocket, and shooting out the handball. You have no idea how he gets himself into those perfect positions nearly all the time. He’s like Chris Judd or Andrew McLeod, but works under the radar. He reads the play and thinks quickly. He is an obtrusive ball- magnet in the James Hird mould.


The Cats have an explosive variety of forward options. Cameron Mooney is a proud territorial forward – like Fraser Gehrig except Fraser is an angry man subject to periods of sulking; quite like Barry Hall, except Mooney lacks that physical intimidation; a bit like… No, it’s a mistake to compare. Mooney is his own firework, waiting to be lit. Steve Johnson is another aggressive forward, handy around the packs, and Nathan Ablett, blanketed in this match, is a work in progress. Brad Ottens is the forward you want in your team in the last quarter when everyone is tired.


They have a mean defence. Matthew Scarlett was nearly best on ground. His defensive intelligence was as good as Nathan Bassett’s up the other end. With Tom Harley, Cameron Ling and Paul Chapman, this is a very good team.


And that says nothing about the X-factor, one Gary Ablett junior. He is the perfect combination of speed, strength and the smarts – the highest evolved AFL player, capable of bursting through the middle, intelligent delivery, sharking the packs in the forward zone, aggressive tackling, brilliant team plays out of less than nothing. He’s high and low, inside and outside, early and late and, as a watch-me blond, my current bet for the Brownlow Medal.


There was barely a kick in it all day. It was one of those games where every contest was enthralling and where there was far too much detail to even begin to report. Order the DVD of this game for Christmas and enjoy every single second of it.


Adelaide flattered themselves slightly by walking away with only a seven- point loss. Geelong’s 2.9 in the second quarter could easily have been 6.5. To Adelaide’s credit, despite losing Goodwin in the first quarter (for six weeks) and Ricciuto in the last quarter to blurred vision, and Johncock with a gammy leg, they hung in against the odds, attacked and counter-attacked and played their part in a brilliant contest.


Geelong are purring along nicely and must be thinking about a Grand Final. At the moment, like 1997, Adelaide will have to work hard to stay in the eight. The Crows’ soccer and rugby skills are fine but their inability to kick goals is
a big worry.



Adelaide  3.4 5.5 8.6 9.8 (62)

Geelong  2.2 4.11 7.13 9.15 (69)



Geelong: Mooney 3, Ling 2, Johnson, Kelly, Ottens, Stokes.

Adelaide: McGregor 3, Van Berlo 2, Bock, Johncock, Thompson, Stevens.



Geelong: G. Ablett, Bartel, Milburn, Ling, Corey, Scarlett, Blake, Mackie, Harley, Mooney.

Adelaide: Bassett, McGregor, Van Berlo, Knights, Thompson, McLeod, Shirley, Mattner, Edwards, Hudson.



Head, Ryan, McInerney.



G. Ablett (G) 3, Bartel (G) 2, Bassett (A) 1.



G. Ablett (G) 3, Bartel (G) 2, Thompson (A) 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

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