The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 12 – Geelong v Brisbane: A blustery day at the Cattery

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!




Geelong versus Brisbane Lions

1.10pm, Sunday, June 17

Skilled Stadium, Geelong



FIRST WEEKEND OF THE PRE-BREAK SPLIT ROUND: 21 degree sunshine, shorts and thongs, beer from cans; $2 for The Record and genuinely interesting articles; walked the dog round the boundary. Obviously not an AFL match.


In a close, willing contest, the away team showed more desire, but the hosts made more of fewer chances to stay eight points clear at the siren. In division two of the recently reorganised AFL Queensland competition, Noosa to Coolangatta is as far as you can travel.


That was Saturday. Silly me wanted more. I flew back to Melbourne to follow the Lions to Geelong on the Sunday. First, I gave John the baby scarf and teddy I had bought for his new son Luca at the Lions shop at the Gabba. (A Latinate Luke Power? Or was he named for Luca Toni, the centre forward in the Italian team that stole the 2006 World Cup from the Socceroos?)


For a decade, Geelong Road seemed paved with gold for the Lions. After the merger of Fitzroy and the Bears, Brisbane did not lose to Geelong for seven years, and won five consecutive matches down there, even in the Lions’ wooden spoon season of 1998. By the flag hat-trick year of 2003, many Cats fans raised the white flag as soon as the Lions strode onto Kardinia Park with, “Ooh, they’re sooo big!”.


Things changed in 2004, when Geelong beat Brisbane on a cold, wet day at the Cattery and got within 10 points in a Preliminary Final. It was clear then that the rise of Gary Ablett Junior, Bartel, Ling, Chapman and various Coreys meant that the Cats no longer had to rely solely on their defence led by Scarlett and Harley. They were basically two key forwards from a flag. Despite the hyped recruitment of Brad Ottens, that remained the case in 2006, when the Round 1 thrashing of the Lions at Skilled Stadium proved to be a false dawn for Geelong. The 5.8 (38) registered by the Lions that opening day of the 2006 season was, however, a depressing warning of an easy life for Gabba scoreboard attendants.


By Round 12 of 2007, I could only hope for an honourable defeat, like Noosa’s the previous day. But halfway along the Geelong Road, a deceptively bright winter morning was obliterated by horizontal sleet from Macquarie Island. When would the Lions find a goal?


Not in the first half. Kicking with the blizzard in the first quarter, the Lions scored 0.2 (2). Brisbane’s increasingly threadbare attacking strategy of leaving Jonathan Brown alone in the forward fifty was exposed when Matthew Egan repeatedly outpaced him to loose balls. On the rare occasions when strength became relevant, Matthew Scarlett and Tom Harley left their own distant opponents to help Egan spoil. Against the easing wind, the Lions added two behinds in the second quarter; one, to Brown near half-time, was their first set shot. In the middle, Ling got the better of Simon Black, and only Nigel Lappin could compete with the large pack of young Toms.


Unable to string more than two passes together on the ice rink, the Lions spoilt like volleyballers, tackled like rugby leaguers, and milled around stoppages like little leaguers. Geelong looked at Brisbane’s hand and ultimately raised the bet. Both teams laid over 100 tackles, unthinkable even two years ago; five Lions and four Cats were in double figures. No player in the eight other AFL teams that played over the weekend matched these stats.


Not surprisingly, three of the ruckmen in this match at Geelong also topped the pops for hitouts on this weekend, while the backlines featured four of the competition’s top five spoilers. Not necessarily value for your $20 at the ground, but eye-popping for Stan the Statistician pressing his Foxtel red button on Stradbroke Island.


Brisbane’s manic negativity restricted Geelong to two goals until five minutes before half-time. Playing for a scoreless draw and an away point works for many inferior soccer teams, but even in total slop, it’s self-defeating in the AFL. Brisbane’s dyke burst twice more. The Cats went to the rooms at the main break with a five-goal lead despite scoring only 4.8 (32).


In the third quarter, the Lions remembered to kick long and not always to Brown, and surprised themselves with four goals. A relative avalanche, those goals might have rekindled the contest, but not with this wind, not with this opponent. A goal to Brown, kicked off the ground, five minutes into the last quarter was soon forgotten. Drummond, Adcock and Brennan could no longer plug the gaps opened by Gary Ablett and Joel Selwood, and exploited by Steve Johnson. Like Dinsdale Piranha, the final margin of 50 points was cruel but fair.




Geelong  1.4 4.8 6.11 12.13 (85)

Brisbane Lions  0.2 0.4 4.5 5.5 (35)



Geelong: S. Johnson 3, G. Ablett, N. Ablett, Bartel, Chapman, Mackie, Mooney, Stokes, Varcoe, Wojcinski.

Brisbane: Brown 2, Hadley, J. Macdonald, Patfull.



Geelong: G. Ablett, J. Selwood, S. Johnson, Egan, Ling, Bartel, Scarlett.

Brisbane: Lappin, Drummond, Brennan, Adcock, T. Selwood.



Milburn (Geelong) 200 games.



Proud (Brisbane).



Stevic, Allen, Kamolins.



G. Ablett (G) 3, Selwood (G) 2, Lappin (B) 1.



Johnson (G) 3, Harley (G) 2, G. Ablett (G) 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. I remember this game well, as I saw the Geelong wave for the first time where they would run together so that the ball carrier had multiple handball options. I thought at the time that Geelong were on the way to a strong final series.

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