The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 11 – Carlton v Port Adelaide: The return of the regal Blues

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 Port Adelaide

7.10pm, Saturday, June 9

Telstra Dome, Melbourne



SOME WORDS JUST GO TOGETHER. German efficiency. Dutch cheese. Nylon stockings. And, of course, Carlton arrogance. While it’s easy to despise Collingwood and Essendon, my theory is that there’s always been a grudging respect for Carlton. Most people associate Carlton’s arrogance with the recent regime of John Elliott, but in reality the Blues’ connection with the silvertails of Melbourne society goes well back in time.


The domineering figure of VFL football in Melbourne for more two decades, from the 1950s to the ’70s, was Sir Kenneth Luke, a solid Carlton man. His successor as VFL president, Sir Maurice Nathan, was another blueblood Blue-boy – and a former Melbourne lord mayor to boot. Even Carlton’s home ground conjures up images of royalty: Princes Park, a home for the nobility situated on no less than Royal Parade.


Carlton versus Port Adelaide was shaping up as a serious test for me. My objective was to make contact with some real Carlton peoples – that silent army of suburbanites who have slipped under the radar of many football observers and do not hail from the upper classes.


Before the game, I met up with a Blues family who have been there through thick and thin. Talk before the game was impressive – pure football. Tactics, strategy and statistics topped off with a dose of superstition. As the players ran out onto the ground, the supporters’ confidence plummeted as the Carlton club song stopped playing during the players’ warm-up lap. For many supporters, this would have been enough to give up and go home. But not tonight.


I had joined the Carlton crew right up in the public seating area ($18) in the upper reaches of the Dome. Bidding farewell to my Sherpa guide, I made base camp eight rows short of the summit. In fact, I was so close to the ceiling that a decision to open the roof during the course of the night may have proven hazardous. From so high up, I could swear I saw two Swiss yodellers warming up on the other side of the stadium.


But the pure and absolute joy of this match overtook any discomfort. Carlton played as if they had no restrictions. They were loaded up in the forward line, with quality players in Jarrad Waite and Ryan Houlihan commanding attention and diverting Port Adelaide’s defence away from Brendan Fevola. The ball was also coming in frequently through sustained attacking play from midfielders such as Adam Bentick, Marc Murphy and Andrew Carrazzo.


Carlton slotted home six goals in 10 minutes in the opening stanza. By quarter-time they had eight. Waite in particular was jumping around like an unbroken colt. Carrazzo and Bentick were getting plenty of the ball. Andrew Walker was on song and Houlihan flashed in for early goals. The Port Adelaide defence looked frazzled; there was heated discussion among the backmen in teal. And the Blues were kicking to contests – oh, such delirious heresy.


Port Adelaide had a long period of dominance early in the second quarter but failed to capitalise. The Power missed several shots and were punished, with Fevola kicking a superb 55-metre long bomb. More Port misses were followed by goals to Brad Fisher and Walker, both of whom made the most of spilled marks from large packs. The Blues led by six goals at the half and it had all been through old-time football, incredibly bold stuff – they dashed through the middle and aimed for a big target up forward.


As Carlton warmed up for the third quarter, nobody would have expected the onslaught that followed. Carlton ticked off nine goals for the quarter as an unsavoury fact became clear: Port Adelaide had conceded defeat. Some of the efforts from Port players were distinctly half-hearted and Carlton raced forward at will. With the Blues’ midfield ticking over and forwards converting, the science of football looked very simple. By three-quarter time it was all over.


The Port Adelaide scoreline improved in the last quarter mainly through full-forward Justin Westhoff, a cult figure in the making. But the Blues could afford to coast. Carlton fans can no longer assume the invincibility that they once took for granted. They’re back in the real world and, for the time being, it’s a pleasant mix: good footy, good people and a distinct lack of silvertails. While they’re still short of that old Carlton arrogance, I have to admit there were some defiant words from my Carlton friends that chilled me at the end of the night: “Watch out.”


They were words that sort of go together when you consider these feisty young Blues.



Carlton 8.3 11.5 20.5 22.9 (141)

Port Adelaide 4.3 5.8 9.12 14.18 (102)



Carlton: Waite 4, Houlihan, Fisher 3, Whitnall, Fevola, O’hAilpin, Bannister 2, Murphy, Walker, Simpson, Carrazzo.
Port Adelaide: Westhoff 4, Rodan, Gray 2, P. Burgoyne, C. Cornes, S. Burgoyne, Lade, Tredrea, Cassisi.



Carlton: Carrazzo, Waite, Bentick, O’hAilpin, Walker, Houlihan, Scotland, Wiggins.
Port Adelaide: Lade, Westhoff, Salopek.



Bannister (Carlton) 50 games.



Goldspink, Hendrie, Woodcock.



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



Carrazzo (Carl.) 3, Simpson (Carl.) 2, Walker (Carl.) 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


  1. John Butler says

    A forward line based around Waite and Fevola. Great potential, but also great potential to go missing, especially at that stage of Fev’s career. Throw Lance into the mix, probably not a lot of chasing of opposition defenders going on, also.

    To this day, we struggle to match up Westhoff.

    Still, it’s a while since we scored 41 points.

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