The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 11 – St Kilda v North Melbourne: Way too many chips

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!



St Kilda versus Kangaroos

2.10 pm, Sunday, June 10

Telstra Dome, Melbourne



THE LOUDEST NOISE I’VE EVER HEARD at a football match came when the final siren blew at the North Melbourne versus St Kilda Preliminary Final of 1997. The collective scream of relief and elation from Saints fans was startling, even within the context of a finals match. We North supporters were spoilt; we’d enjoyed a flag the previous year. The 1997 season was a bronzed moment within golden years, as the Roos again made Grand Finals in 1998 and ’99. But that night in 1997 was, for most Saints fans I know, the greatest moment in their football lives.


A decade later and these clubs met in far more humble circumstances for this Round 11 match. Both had been spanked by 10 goals the previous week and the pundits mused over which team would be less punch-drunk.


From the start, North appeared less bruised. The Kangas were quick to attack. Adam Simpson and Corey Jones kicked truly in the opening minutes. With North’s most improved backman, Josh Gibson, forced out during the week because of an accident in his bathroom (insert lame “cleaned up” or “close shave” gag here), it was surprising to see his defensive colleague Glenn Archer playing forward. Dean Laidley was asking much of Firrito, Petrie and Pratt in holding their more celebrated opponents, respectively, Riewoldt, Gehrig and Milne.


An out-sized Firrito pushed Riewoldt in the back at the 10-minute mark, leading to the Saints’ first major. The match-up appeared ominous. It was, however, to be Riewoldt’s only goal of the day.


Despite the best efforts of St Kilda’s Montagna and Hayes, it was North’s midfield stalwarts, Harvey and Rawlings, who were more effective in their delivery. Jones kicked two more goals for the quarter and the Kangas led by 17 points at the first break.


The second quarter was a term of wasted opportunities for North and haphazard frustration for the Saints. Enigmatic North forward Lindsay Thomas has been earning himself the unwanted tag of “behind-sneak”; he kicked three behinds in the term. Archer, Grant and Hale also missed chances. While the admirable Hayes took it on himself to give the Saints a sense of direction, his forward line appeared distracted at best, flat-footed and clumsy at worst.


A four-minute burst of clean footy in time-on saw the Saints kick two goals and North one, but it was an uninspired crowd that left its seats to eat, drink, and smoke at half-time.


If the nibbles and entrée to this game had been drab, then the main course was appalling. No meat, no spice, merely a plate of chips. Little chips across the backline, chips around half-back, and chips zig-zagging through the centre. The third quarter was played by teams bereft of confidence and zeal, teams unwilling to kick long and put faith in their forwards. A set shot from Gehrig at the two-minute mark and a running punt from Andrew Swallow five minutes later brought the only goals of the term. The remaining 20 minutes offered only ugly, cluttered football; the kind of footy that drives children away from the game towards soccer, the rugby codes and, dare I say it, reading books. Ones without pictures. It was that bad. North led by 22 points at three-quarter time.


Thank goodness for dessert. The bounce at the start of the final quarter brought blessed relief. Both sides threw a little caution to the windless afternoon, kicked directly and, lo, found space. St Kilda had the run of the ball and fresher legs. Goals to Gram and Koschitzke brought the margin back to eight points and, suddenly, the match had life. While a weary North shared the ever-heavier load across its team, a vibrant Saints quartet led their team’s charge home. Milne, Dal Santo, Hayes and Sam Fisher played courageously. North snatched back the momentum, however, through mid-term goals from Lower and Hale. A goal at the 18-minute mark by St Kilda’s James Gwilt was matched within a minute as Corey Jones kicked his fourth to assure North of victory.


The clubs have now met 142 times for two draws and 70 wins apiece. Given the mediocrity of this game, it’s only this statistic that lends their next encounter any sense of anticipation.




St Kilda  1.3 4.5 5.7 8.10 (58)

Kangaroos  4.2 7.8 8.11 11.14 (80)



Kangaroos: Jones 4, Archer, Hale, Lower, McIntosh, Simpson, Sinclair, Swallow.
St Kilda: Gehrig 2, Attard, Gilbert, Gram, Gwilt, Koschitzke, Riewoldt.



Kangaroos: Harvey, Petrie, Pratt, Jones, Archer.

St Kilda: Dal Santo, Montagna, S. Fisher.



Laidley (Kangaroos) 100 games as coach.



Margetts, Allen, Sully.



Harvey (K) 3, Petrie (K) 2, Dal Santo (St K) 1.



Jones (K) 3, Montagna (St K) 2, Archer (K) 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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