The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 13 – North Melbourne v Western Bulldogs: Glenn’s day

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!

 

 

Kangaroos versus Western Bulldogs

2.10pm, Sunday, July 1

Melbourne Cricket Ground

by CHRISTOPHER RIORDAN

 

AS MUCH AS YOU MIGHT HAVE TRIED to avoid the hype, there was no way around it. Archer, the Shinboner of the Century, was reaching a significant milestone and his club wanted to celebrate. And why not? Archer is indelibly linked to the North Melbourne Football Club, as premiership coach Denis Pagan used to call it. The Duck lost his tarnish and Stevo slipped away quietly, but Arch is still there. He reminds us of a great era, but the adulation he has received has never changed him.

 

I’ve seen better players at Arden Street. Malcolm Blight was the most gifted by a mile. Schimma plied his trade as a determined champion while most focussed on Keith Greig on the opposite wing. Wayne Carey was as good as they get. But Archer has other qualities. He helps us realise that Australian football is a team game; a game requiring courage, stamina, skill and selflessness. As an opposition supporter said, he’s the “tough bastard who isn’t a bastard”. Archer’s teammates adore him and his opponents respect and fear him while acknowledging his qualities on and off the field.

 

This occasion meant plenty to Kangas fans. The Flemington Junior Football Club’s under-12C team was impatient on this day as their hosts, Port Colts, had started the game late. Most players and supporters were preparing for the dash to the ’G to pay homage to North’s No.11.

 

I snuck off early via the light rail to see the impressive guard of honour and Archer’s grand entrance.

 

What a reception!

 

“Bloody hell,” I thought. “It’s hard not to barrack for the Roos at times like this.” This was a day when your love of football goes beyond mere partisan support.

 

But it was also a big game for the Dogs. They’d lost Daniel Cross, Ryan Griffen, Nathan Eagleton and Robert Murphy in the previous two rounds, but welcomed back their own ageing hero, Chris Grant.

 

The opening was always going to be emotional. But none of us could have predicted just how decisively North would dispatch the Doggies in the first quarter.

 

Under leaden skies and on a ground rated “dead 5 or slow 6” by a radio boundary rider, Rodney Eade tried to second guess Dean Laidley’s tactics. For mine, these games of ducks and drakes are fraught with danger. While, among other unexpected positional moves, Scott West languished up forward, dragging Brady Rawlings back with him, Hamish McIntosh fed a ravenous Roos running corps that bombed the ball to their forward line, where Drew Petrie did the rest. Honestly, it was that simple.

 

Emotion led the Roos through an incredible first 20 minutes, during which their oft-maligned No.20 kicked an astonishing six goals and ignited the ’G in a Boys’ Own Annual performance. Petrie did the lot, and after every soar or snap for a goal, the North players would flood to Archer as if to say, “These are for you”.

 

As impressive as North were, the Bulldogs were terrible. They’d been criticised for a game plan that wouldn’t survive in the finals. After abandoning that plan, they replaced it with indecision and frustration.

 

Luke Darcy had another shocker. He was a liability in the ruck, where McIntosh treated him with contempt. When Peter Street rested, North cashed in. Sam Power showed great endeavour – this sounds like the under-10s – but, given two chances to make a difference, he failed. How did the Tiges miss him in the draft?

 

Malcolm Lynch suffered second-up syndrome. Even Chris Grant made critical errors. Nevertheless, fightbacks from poor starts have become commonplace this season and, at several stages of the match, the situation looked retrievable. Poor kicking and bad decision-making blew away these chances. How the Bulldogs missed Cross.

 

The second and third quarters kept promising a battle, but it never really happened. Again in the final quarter the Doggies had a sniff, but Brent Harvey showed them how to convert and seal a win.

 

Game over. Bring out the dais and roll on the celebrations! Arch deserved it.

 

 

Kangaroos 8.2 12.5 15.6 17.9 (111)

Western Bulldogs 4.4 6.7 8.13 11.19 (85)

 

GOALS

Kangaroos: Petrie 7, Jones, Harvey, McMahon 2, Rawlings, Wells, Sinclair, Brown.

Bulldogs: Johnson, Giansiracusa 3, Ray, Grant, Gilbee, Hahn, Higgins.

 

BEST

Kangaroos: Petrie, Harvey, McIntosh, Jones, Rawlings, Simpson.

Bulldogs: Boyd, Cooney, Akermanis

 

MILESTONE

Archer (Kangaroos) 300 games.

 

UMPIRES

Vozzo, Farmer, Wenn.

 

OUR VOTES

Petrie (K) 3, Harvey (K) 2, Boyd (WB) 1.

 

BROWNLOW

Harvey (K) 3, Petrie (K) 2, Boyd (WB) 1.

 

CROWD

39,433

 

 

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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