The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 12 – West Coast v St Kilda: Pulling one out of the hat for Robert

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!

 

 

West Coast versus St Kilda

2.40pm, Sunday, June 24

Subiaco Oval, Perth

by JOHN HARMS

 

BROOME RISES SLOWLY ON A SUNDAY MORNING. Especially after an afternoon of racing has turned into a boozy lesson at the two-up school and a night of toe-tappin’ country-rock. Everyone’s in holiday mode.

 

Only a handful of stalwarts had made it to the Roebuck Bay Hotel by footy time. They sat in the gentle breeze, which wafted across the water, across the pearl lugger museum, across the veranda of the 1890s pub, and into the huge bar. It might have been 11 degrees at Moorabbin but it was a balmy 26 degrees in Broome.

 

The Roebuck is a sports pub, decorated with the requisite signed memorabilia: an Eagles jumper, a Dockers jumper, a set of Natalie Cook’s bikini-bums, a pair of Danny Green’s gloves. The trophies of the local Towns F.C. fill a large cabinet. The footy tipping scoreboard has all the classic Australian names, like it’s been put there by a tourist bureau.

 

The dozen or so patrons acknowledged Robert Harvey as he ran onto Subiaco for his 350th game. But that soon changed. When he couldn’t clear the footy, and West Coast surged forward to go further ahead, a hungover man waiting for his turn at the pool table added his special comment: “Harvey, you dud.”

 

The early domination of the Eagles livened the joint up. It was quickly obvious this was an Eagles crowd. They were settling in nicely for a few Sunday afternoon sherbets and a shellacking of the St Kilda F.C. Another fan who had been involved in a heavy program of auto-tattooing as a younger man started singing the Eagles song.

 

But a Juddless, Cousinsless, Embleyless Eagles is no powerhouse and St Kilda, led by Harvey himself, started winning the football in the middle and pumping it into a very open forward line. When you have Nick Riewoldt and Justin Koschitzke in there, it’s best everyone else just clears out.

 

The boy from Burrumbuttock was at his best, leading and marking strongly, for two goals. This wasn’t just a hiccup. By halfway through the second quarter the mood of the bar changed. The Eagles were wobbly and looking down the barrel of a fourth loss in six weeks. The pessimists were thinking longer-term wobbly.

 

With the Saints defence resolute, and plenty of possession through the centre, Kosi was licking his chops. He played like he was renegotiating his contract. Or like Robert Harvey meant something to him. In one instance he led so strongly, and with such determination to make the footy his, he powered over and through Riewoldt, to mark. Had he kicked straighter he would have had seven by half- time. As it was, he had four, and the Saints led by 31 points.

 

St Kilda looked home when, just after the resumption, Dal Santo’s long kick cleared Glass and Koschitzke, who were entwined like the helix of a DNA molecule, and rolled. But they had spent a lot of petrol tickets and the Eagles had a sniff. Dean Cox dominated, winning the ruck contests and running around like a rover. Daniel Kerr seemed interested at last. And Shannon Hurn, given a rare opportunity in the centre, looked determined to send a message to his coach.

 

The bar started to fill with fans of both teams. It was as if word went around town that there was a fair dinkum game of footy on. They came off the veranda and out of the TAB. They wandered over from the holiday units. Everything went the Eagles’ way: a text-book run-on which the Saints seemed powerless to stop. The three-quarter-time siren was a godsend. They needed to rejuvenate.

 

At the opening bounce of the final term, Cox palmed brilliantly to Kerr and the ball finished on the chest of the leading Quinten Lynch. “What a beautiful man,” yelled the tattooed fan, jumping from his chair. Lynch kicked accurately and it now looked how far the Eagles.

 

What followed was a demonstration of the appeal of football. So much happening. So many stories. So many possibilities. Buoyant Eagles rampaging and expecting to win. Saints on their last legs determined to hold them out. Playing for Banger. Playing for their season. Desperate acts of defence. Courageous clearances. The ball occasionally bouncing their way. Eagles becoming frustrated, their inflated sense of entitlement working against them.

 

The footy seemed locked in Eagles territory. Until finally Dal Santo, whose second half was superb, sprinted clear, steadied, and put St Kilda 11 points up. The Eagles then had to take risks and turnovers cost them two more goals. The Saints by 23 points in a ripper. Robert Harvey was chaired from the ground. He looked exhausted, jubilant, triumphant. He also looked respectful: of the moment, of his teammates, of the game.

 

At Subiaco the Eagles fans stood and applauded. In Broome they bought another beer.

 

 

West Coast  3.4 4.5 10.7 11.10 (76)

St Kilda  3.3 10.6 12.7 15.9 (99)

 

GOALS

St Kilda: Koschitzke 4, Baker, Milne, Dal Santo 2, Rix, X. Clarke, Gilbert, Riewoldt, Montagna.

West Coast: Braun, Seaby, Lynch 2, R. Jones, Hurn, LeCras, Graham, Cox.

 

BEST

St Kilda: Koschitzke, Dal Santo, Harvey, Montagna, Riewoldt, Gram.

West Coast: Cox, Hurn, Braun, Kerr.

 

MILESTONE

Harvey (St Kilda) 350 games.

 

UMPIRES

Head, Hendrie, Goldspink.

 

OUR VOTES

Koschitzke (St K) 3, Dal Santo (St K) 2, Cox (WC) 1.

 

BROWNLOW

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

 

CROWD

39,401

 

 

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

About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and footyalmanac.com.au. He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three kids - Theo13, Anna11, Evie10. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst three. His ambition is to lunch for Australia.

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