The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 13 – St Kilda v Richmond: As footy should be

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 Richmond

7.15pm, Saturday, June 30

Telstra Dome, Melbourne



COMING INTO THIS GAME, Richmond and St Kilda had both recorded excellent wins. The Saints had knocked over the Eagles in Perth, a feat rarely managed by Victorian teams, while the Tigers had defeated the woeful Demons at the MCG to record their first win of the season. Robert Harvey, in his 350th game, was the inspiration for the Saints while Nathan Brown, who had endured a difficult two years since breaking his leg, was the inspiration for the Tigers in his first game back from his most recent lay-off.


So it was that the two sides lined up against each other on a freezing Saturday night at the Telstra Dome. My viewing spot was a comfortable couch in front of a warm fire in the wine country of Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.


The Tigers were favourites in my mind, largely because I believed the Saints would be flat after the emotion of Harvey’s milestone game, and because Victorian teams traditionally struggle the week after playing in Perth. The performance of Brown against Melbourne, and the return of Troy Simmonds, the Tigers only real quality tall man, strengthened my opinion. The Tigers had struggled against tall sides all season (they’ve actually struggled against most teams) and Simmonds shaped as the key to redressing the imbalance.


The game see-sawed from the outset. Scores were level at quarter-time and the Tigers led by four points at half-time. The Saints led by four points at three-quarter time before, in the end, the Saints had enough in the tank, despite the previous week’s road trip, to get up by 17 points.


For long periods, the contest was too close to call. Each goal cancelled out the previous goal, and the coaches held their nerve with match-ups. Ross Lyon had been schooling his St Kilda team in a possession game – “Sydney-fying” the Saints, if you like. In this match, however, the Saints threw off the shackles and showed some zest and pace.


The Saints under Grant Thomas often reminded me of Denis Pagan’s North Melbourne teams in the mid-1990s. Under Thomas, the Saints had a tall forward line (Nick Riewoldt, Fraser Gehrig, Aaron Hamill and, when available, Justin Koschitzke) that was supported by a couple of able crumbers and a squadron of midfielders. Such a structure leads to exciting football. In this game St Kilda reverted to the Thomas years and it made for a good spectacle, even if Lyon had justification to feel concerned by the openness of the Tigers’ forward line at times.


Terry Wallace kept things moving, too. The Tigers moved the ball with speed by hand and foot. Their fleet of small men are exciting to watch when on song. Nathan Foley had a good game, as did Jake King. Shane Tuck and Brett Deledio are quality players. With Mark Coughlan expected back, and with Richard Tambling sure to improve, the Tigers’ midfield brigade looks quite promising.


The Tigers were brave throughout. Andrew Raines was too short for Riewoldt, but he stuck with it and, though beaten, was not disgraced. The anticipated struggle between the two true champions, Brown and Harvey, did not quite eventuate. Harvey was excellent, accumulating possessions as he has done for almost two decades. Brown kicked three, but did not have the influence of the previous week.


The third quarter, in particular, was a cracker, as the lead changed half a dozen times. For a neutral fan, this was footy as it should be. I had not expected too much. How pleasantly surprised I was by a display of good, honest football.


It was at the start of the last quarter that St Kilda got the upper hand. The Saints kicked five goals to one in a burst that blew their lead out to 28 points. Leigh Montagna was magnificent, amassing 15 possessions for the quarter. The Tigers clawed a couple of late goals back but class told in the end.


The Saints were impressive in backing up after the Perth trip with another win. On the couch, down the coast, I flicked off the television with the thought that I had been reminded of why this game of ours is great.



St Kilda  5.1 8.7 11.13 17.15 (117)

Richmond  5.1 9.5 11.9 15.10 (100)



St Kilda: Gehrig 5, Riewoldt 4, Gram 2, Hayes, Montagna, Voss, Fiora, Gilbert, Milne.

Richmond: Pettifer 4, Richardson, Brown 3, Foley 2, Edwards, Tivendale, Jackson.



St Kilda: Montagna, Harvey, Hayes, Gehrig, Riewoldt, Gram.

Richmond: Foley, J. Bowden, Richardson, Pattison, King.



Allen, Kamolins, Woodcock.



Montagna (St K) 3, Harvey (St K) 2, Foley (R) 1.



Montagna (St K) 3, Gehrig* (St K) 2, Harvey (R) 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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