The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 11 – Melbourne v Collingwood: A poor end to a nervy long weekend

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 Collingwood

2.10pm, Monday, June 11

Melbourne Cricket Ground

by MATT OCONNOR

 

I WORRIED ABOUT THIS GAME ALL LONG WEEKEND. Twice this year already, Pie fans like me have turned in on a Friday night with the four points safely tucked under the pillow. Waiting until Monday to lose them is the opposite experience. We had headed to the Mornington Peninsula hills with friends to eat, drink and be merry. I ate, drank and fretted.

 

I worried about our backline without James Clement, Simon Prestigiacomo and possibly Heath Shaw, who was under a corky cloud. I worried about a resurgent Melbourne, who would be able to play with the gay abandon that a shot season can sometimes produce. I worried about our recent Queen’s Birthday record: three losses in the previous three years. I worried about bad umpiring, inaccurate kicking, Paris Hilton getting parole. By Monday morning, I was a nervous wreck.

 

I had even tried to insure against a Melbourne win by taking out a five-pronged multi-bet on Friday night. The first three legs saluted after Essendon, Sydney and Western Bulldogs survived some hairy moments. But the fourth leg was Fremantle to beat the 27-point line against Richmond, and, being Fremantle, they failed by a goal. They have let me down before and I fear that they will do so again. I headed up the Frankston freeway on Monday morning with a dead TAB ticket and a deep sense of foreboding.

 

As it turned out, the older Shaw, Rhyce, was the late withdrawal, giving Danny Stanley the honour of being Collingwood’s sixth first-timer in 2007. The game began in misty rain, and the early tone was set when Jeff White smashed the first bounce toward the Demon fifty. Brock McLean, Travis Johnstone and Nathan Jones assumed the chief squirrel roles, and the Magpies’ rickety backline was immediately creaking. James McDonald and Ben Johnson traded early goals, but my fears were confirmed in one horrible Magpie moment half way through the first term.

 

It went something like this. Robertson back-pedalled and marked a slightly wayward Demon shot at least half a metre over the goal line. I speak with some authority on this as our vantage in the AFL Members’ area lined us up squarely with the city-end posts. Harry O’Brien crashed to the ground in the contest and immediately clutched his right shoulder. As he was not in any condition to stand the mark, Robertson was able to re-enter the field of play and dribble through an easy goal, instead of being faced with a tight shot from the boundary. Our noble Brazilian was escorted from the field with a bone in his shoulder region set at an obviously unnatural angle.

 

And so began the Robbo Show. I must admit to harbouring a soft spot for the athletic Demon forward. I picked him up cheaply in my fantasy team a couple of years ago, and loved the way he could string goals together in a hurry after periods of invisibility. He thrives on confidence, and you know he’s reaching boiling point when he starts hurling himself at the footy as if there’s a swimming pool beneath him.

 

Stanley got the dirty job after O’Brien disappeared into the rooms, and Robbo added a couple more as the Demons pushed out to a five-goal lead. Matthew Bate and Jones worked in space to create scoring opportunities while Mick Malthouse shuffled deckchair defenders on his whiteboard. Johnson helicoptered through his second just before the siren to keep me from heading to the car.

 

The margin at quarter-time was 27 points, and in one sense the story could end there. Yes, the Pies did work their way back into the game as Dane Swan, Scott Burns and Brodie Holland started to win their share of clearances. And, yes, Travis Cloke up forward and Heath Shaw down back did start to dominate their domains.

 

But as far as I was concerned, the rest of the afternoon was just a calamitous game of catch-up that was destined to fail. Cloke missed one from shot-put range in the second term, and Melbourne effortlessly transported the kick to Robbo at the other end for goal number four. Things then got all prime-ministerial as Stanley picked up Bruce and Fraser out-wrestled Nathan Carroll in the square to mark and goal.

 

The second half was dominated by Kevin Bartlett’s absurd hands-in-the-back rule, with a few over-officious deliberate-out-of-bounds rulings chucked in for good measure. It wasn’t the umpires’ fault. They were only complying with the AFL’s new approved version of mandatory sentencing. I was so incensed by the last break that I barely realised we were within a kick.
With admirable consistency, I had refused to get my hopes up. The Robbo Show played to an enraptured Punt Road end in the last quarter. Goals five and six within the first three minutes gave the Dees a handy break, and his seventh goal after the siren put some icing on the Queen’s Birthday cake.

 

We lost by 13 points. Just like I knew we would.

 

 

Melbourne  6.6 8.9 9.14 13.16 (94)

Collingwood  2.3 6.5 9.11 11.15 (81)

 

GOALS

Melbourne: Robertson 7, Bate 2, Davey, Godfrey, Johnstone, McDonald.

Collingwood: Cloke, Johnson 3, Davis 2, Fraser, Medhurst, Lockyer.

 

BEST

Melbourne: Robertson, McLean, Bate, Holland, McDonald, Jones.

Collingwood: H. Shaw, Johnson, Holland, Burns, Cloke.

 

MILESTONE

Malthouse (Collingwood) 550 games as coach.

 

DEBUT

Stanley (Collingwood).

 

UMPIRES

Grun, Jeffery, McLaren.

 

OUR VOTES

Robertson (M) 3, McLean (M) 2, H. Shaw (Coll.) 1.

 

BROWNLOW

Robertson (M) 3, McLean (M) 2, Johnson* (Coll.) 1.

 

CROWD

70,660

 

 

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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