The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 14 – Essendon v Geelong: A rich night of Geelong domination

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!

 

 

Essendon versus Geelong

7.40pm, Friday, July 6

Telstra Dome, Melbourne

by JOHN HARMS

 

A LOT OF BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE were having (very expensive) after-work drinks at the Must Wine Bar in Perth’s Mt Lawley on Friday evening. We were on tour in Western Australia. I was rather envious that some were still lunching. One shaven-headed beau, in the sort of fawn suit only Brendan Fevola can get away, with called for the cheese. Again. At sunset, mind you. And the blue was so aromatic that the less sophisticated (like me) were checking their shoes.

 

As I was negotiating the price for a round of Crownies and a Margaret River sav blanc, the open-white shirt with bling was mid-brag. “I got $2.54,” I overheard him say. In Melbourne that would have been $2.54, Essendon, and I’d have said that was about a dollar under the odds. But in Perth that refers to some insider- trading-margin-lending-mining-company share price, to be sold by the start of Round 15 for another nice earn.

 

When we crossed the road to the Queen’s Hotel I was concerned a serious footy-loving patron would divulge the real-time Geelong score. I was intending to watch the match “live” at 8.30pm, when in Melbourne the result would have been well and truly settled. I didn’t need to worry. The revellers were interested in Geelong and Essendon in the way that the ruling class was interested in the casualty list during the war, and before long we’d had the steak burger and chips, a cheap red, and were back in an ancient Northbridge motel for the opening bounce.

 

I wasn’t missing Geelong’s chance to register a ninth successive win, especially against the Bombers, who had plenty to play for themselves: consolidating an unlikely spot in the eight, James Hird’s 250th, and Adam Ramanauskas’s emotional return after a second serious bout of neck and shoulder cancer.

 

The match certainly had appeal. When Paul Chapman took advantage of a Dons’ error and kicked truly, a voice surprised me from the back of the room. “Chappyyyyyy,” said The Handicapper in that way two mates greet at the races. “He’s so reliable.” She was to come in and out of the game, a bit like Brad Ottens, all night.

 

The Cats employed the play-on style that has served them so well all season, and with Essendon taking them on, the footy pinged around as if the Dome was the Addams Family pinball machine. With Matthew Lloyd suspended, Kevin Sheedy posted Andrew Welsh at full-forward, a move that seemed to catch his protégé Bomber Thompson off guard. It took the Cats’ coaching staff most of the first half to get the match-ups right. Eventually Tom Harley was put on Welsh. By that stage the Bombers’ wild card had kicked two, missed a sitter, and given a couple away, including an instinctive handball to debutant Tom Hislop.

 

The teams went goal for goal. But the Bombers were on top. They were solid in defence, getting drive from Adam McPhee, Jobe Watson and Andy Lovett through the middle while Scott Lucas and Welsh were doing well up forward. Gary Ablett, Jimmy Bartel and Steve Johnson just couldn’t get going. In days past, a few fumbles and hesitations were enough to nudge this bunch of Cats into a cavern of self-doubt, but it seems of the many things this team has learnt this year, the most important is how to hang in there. Which they did until things started to turn. James Hird limped off with a torn calf muscle; Alwyn Davey broke his arm when he fell awkwardly in a tackle; then successive errors from Dustin Fletcher cost the Bombers a goal.

 

The contest remained tight after the main break, Watson leading the Bombers’ resilient effort in the face of the Geelong challenge. The Handicapper popped her head up from her copy of The Monthly, but seemed unperturbed. Ablett and Chapman won the footy, and Cam Mooney was given numerous opportunities, the majority of which he converted to behinds. The prospect of an upset remained; it depended on the Cats’ ability to deal with the pressure.

 

The question was answered very quickly. Geelong exploded after three-quarter time, and with a depleted bench (and Paddy Ryder and Hislop looking proppy), that was it. Matthew Stokes snuck away to snag two quick goals and from then on it was a procession. Chapman won the footy through the centre and up forward. Mooney took his tally to 3.7. He could have kicked eight. Ling chimed in with a couple at the end. Suddenly the margin was 50 points. The Bombers were gallant, beaten as much by injuries as the efforts of their opponents. Had it been 22 on 22 in the second half, the game would have gone down to the wire, and we’d now know a little more about this Geelong team. On face value they deserve to sit atop the ladder.

 

I considered returning to the Must for a celebratory Jamieson’s, but I wasn’t sure I had the funds to purchase it.

 

 

Essendon  3.4 6.9 11.10 12.11 (83)

Geelong  4.3 7.9 12.14 19.19 (133)

 

 

GOALS

Geelong: Ling, Chapman, Mooney 3, Ottens, Enright, Stokes 2, Johnson, Milburn, G. Ablett, Hawkins.

Essendon: Lucas 3, Welsh, Watson 2, Hislop, Ryder, Ramanauskas, Slattery, Lovett.

 

 

BEST

Geelong: Chapman, G. Ablett, Ling, Enright, Corey, Ottens, Mooney, Harley.

Essendon: Welsh, Watson, McPhee, Peverill, Lovett.

 

 

MILESTONES

Hird (Essendon) 250 games, McBurney (umpire) 250 games, Mackie (Geelong) 50 games.

 

 

DEBUT

Hislop (Essendon).

 

UMPIRES

McBurney, McInerney, Vozzo.

 

OUR VOTES

 

Chapman (G) 3, G. Ablett (G) 2, Welsh (E) 1.

 

BROWNLOW

Chapman (G) 3, G. Ablett (G) 2, Selwood (G) 1.

 

CROWD

51,156

 

 

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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