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The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 12 – Sydney v Collingwood: Two vastly different tales

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!



Sydney versus Collingwood

7.15pm, Saturday, June 23

ANZ Stadium, Sydney



OCONNOR: Baby, it’s cold outside. But I have a date with shy, retiring Bloods fan Cam Noakes at The Rose Hotel in Fitzroy, so I rug up and head off for the St Georges Road tram. A night of romance is in the offing: cheap beer, steak, and Sydney and Collingwood on the big screen.


It’s my job to set up base camp while Noakes finishes his Amateurs column for The Sunday Age. I slip on to the remaining stool at the bar, and plonk down my wallet, phone, keys, and the bits of my brain that are surplus to football-watching. The $12 scotch fillet screams at me from the blackboard and I answer its call. I’m prying the last bits of it from my teeth when Noakes arrives.


NOAKES: Quite simply, we win, we zoom up the ladder to fourth; we lose, we’re stuck in tenth. What to do? What to do? Well, ducky, I guess we may as well book us a ticket on that express train straight to finals territory, straight to double-chance territory, straight to where we belong. Who is up there keeping our spot warm for us? How nice of them. Suckers.


And won’t it be nice to use my beloved friends from Collingwood as a springboard into the upper echelons of the ladder? Baha! Collingwood! They don’t even live in Collingwood any more. Working-class yuppies, that’s what they are these days.


Wait a minute. Am I counting my chickens here? Nah. It’s Collingwood. Now, what to wear? Something bold, I think. Should I wear the scarf? No, too much. And what was with that stupid picture in The Age of Shane Wakelin dressed as the Man With No Name? He was wearing a poncho!


OCONNOR: I gather from his cocky demeanour and bright red QBE jacket that he’s confident of a Swans victory. Just about everyone else in town thinks the same way, including me. The Swans’ forward pack has been uncharacteristically out of touch, but Collingwood are without four of their preferred back six. Bustling Barry Hall, Hustling Mickey O’Loughlin and Rustling Ryan O’Keefe are headin’ for a hoedown at Homebush. Or so popular opinion has it.


Collingwood has thrown 19-year-old former Gaelic football prospect Martin Clarke into its already inexperienced back half for his first game. Mick Malthouse is determined to keep rolling the youth dice, and the Irish, after all, are said to have a bit of luck on their side.


Noakesy has barely taken a sip of his first Abbotsford stout before Dale Thomas has the Pies’ first on the board after a long set shot. Ben Johnson is busy early, and his long bomb to Anthony Rocca catches Leo Barry napping. Goal No.2 has the Pies out to a 14-point lead, and the pro-Pie bar in full voice. Tyson Goldsack and Wakelin have the Hustling (O’Loughlin) and Bustling (Hall) jobs respectively, and win some early moral victories.


Collingwood’s only major error for the term is conceded by Brodie Holland while on the bench. He gives away an unusual 50-metre penalty by slowing down the ball’s return after it has crossed the boundary. Luke Ablett converts the opportunity, but the Magpies are in control of the midfield. Scott Burns, on top in his hard-nut duel with Brett Kirk, finds Scott Pendlebury late in the term and the quarter-time margin oozes out to 16 points. More ominously, the scoring shots are 8-2 in the Magpies’ favour.


NOAKES: God, we’ve been so bad this year… and we start so slowly. Look at ’em all – smug bunch. What are you looking at, pal? I bet ya didn’t even notice that we picked it up about halfway through… did ya, mate? Shhhh. Don’t look at him. Don’t look at any of ’em. If only we could score. That’ll change, soon. It has to change. We’ll crack ‘em like coconuts in a minute, don’t worry. Oh, and how I’ll let that sweet, sweet milk dribble down my chin. Good golly Miss Molly, we can’t get any worse and it’s only a couple of kicks… Just keep cool and wait. We’ll run over the top. I could use a fag.


OCONNOR: If the Swans were hesitant in the first quarter, they are downright dreadful in the second. Marks are spilt, targets missed, and when they do get the ball, to quote Ron Barassi, they move like “slow melting concrete”. Rocca kicks two early goals to set the tone, and when Thomas adds another midway through the quarter, the scoreline reads 42-7. Noakes orders another Abbotsford and lights up a fag.


NOAKES: “Do I like this? No, I do not,” said the fish in the pot. Speaking of pots, “Do you want one, MOC?” Good, a cheap shout. What’s that? A goal. Finally. Nice work, Ryno. That’s silenced them, hasn’t it? I might just let out a “Carn the Bloods”, and see how that goes down. Just to let ’em know we’re still sniffing around… just to let ‘em know that 29 points doesn’t frighten us.


“Go Bloods!”
Ha, that’s better. But, man, it would help if Hall could get a touch.
“Get a freakin’ touch, Hall.”
He shouldn’t have that column in The Age. He’s putting too much pressure on himself.


OCONNOR: Twenty minutes into the third quarter, I know we’ve got ’em when I turn around to see Noakes about to tuck into four pale, white dim sims. The margin is out to 40 points, and the dimmies (briefly) outnumber Swans goals. They look sicker than Sean Dempster, who requires some assistance after running into a high Rocca shepherd. I make a mental note to order some Free Rocca T-shirts for the inevitable campaign.


With the game and the dimmies done and dusted, the Swans finally take a lead from Adam Goodes, who has run and contested hard all night. A flurry of goals reduces the margin to 20 points and lead a few diehard Swan fans in the bar to dare to believe they’re still in it. But the last word goes to Thomas, who caps off a fine night by snapping his fourth goal, from the pocket, after more uncertain Sydney defending.


The margin ends up at 19 points, but the victory has been far more comprehensive than that. The Magpies’ intensity and risk-taking has thrown the Swans off balance. To add some cream, the Irish experiment has delivered some early positives. Clarke has picked up a clanger-less 20 possessions, and no doubt adds a nice brogue to the after-match rendition of Good Old Collingwood Forever.


NOAKES: Hmmm. I think I can safely say that wasn’t good. Such a flattering margin. Are we that bad? Is it over? Could we be? Should we be? What do I say to MOC? Should I be gracious? Should I say, “You played well, mate”? Nah, he knows it anyway.


I’m surprised how much we miss Tadgh Kennelly. Now, what do I say to MOC? Ummm… “How bad were Melbourne last night?”



Sydney  1.1 2.1 3.4 8.9 (57)

Collingwood  3.5 6.11 8.13 10.16 (76)



Collingwood: Thomas 4, Rocca 3, Pendlebury, Cloke, Didak.

Sydney: Hall, O’Loughlin 2, O’Keefe, Ablett, Everitt, Goodes.



Collingwood: Thomas, Burns, Wakelin, H. Shaw, Cloke, O’Bree.

Sydney: Goodes, Fosdike, O’Keefe, Kirk.



Clarke (Collingwood).



Vozzo, Margetts, Ryan.



Thomas (Coll.) 3, Burns (Coll.) 2, Goodes (S) 1.



Thomas (Coll.) 3, Goodes* (S) 2, Burns (S) 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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