The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 14 – Adelaide v Hawthorn: Craig out-coaches Clarkson

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!



Adelaide versus Hawthorn

7.10pm, Saturday, July 7

AAMI Stadium, Adelaide



EXPECTATIONS WERE LOW ON THIS SATURDAY NIGHT. It had rained solidly for a couple of days in Adelaide and although the rain would move on by match time, there were arguments around the city that the cold and soggy ground would close down the fast-running Hawks and give Adelaide a sniff.


I wasn’t convinced. Adelaide is a full-on or full-off skills-based team. After their worst performance of the year in Round 13 against West Coast, and after losing key defender Nathan Bassett for the season with a broken ankle, they were in a terrible mess. Hawthorn, on the other hand, with four wins from their past five games, had no fear coming to Football Park. A month before, they’d given Port a football lesson at this stadium and, in spite of losing Tim Boyle (28 goals for the season) for this game, they were still a formidable outfit.


No one tells the players any of this stuff, of course.


Hawthorn won the toss and kicked with the aid of a curly four-goal wind. Neil Craig put the relatively small (189 centimetres and 88 kilograms) Kris Massie on Buddy Franklin (196 and 99) for the strangest match-up of the year.


Adelaide missed a long shot at goal through Nathan van Berlo within 20 seconds but converted a minute later after Mark Ricciuto marked strongly – in spite of nearly having his head knocked off by teammate Scott Welsh. “That’s worth two weeks, Scotty!” The Voice shouted.


Adelaide started that first quarter well – running hard, getting players to the ball, closing down Hawthorn’s rare attacks, tackling cleanly. They were handling the moist ball and the soggy surface with ease. But Adelaide also played well in the first quarter last week, before West Coast worked them out.


Hawthorn were three goals behind, but when they did get possession, their forward movements looked more graceful, with longer handballs to players running on, compared to Adelaide’s short game into the wind. It was only a matter of time, I thought, before the Lollipops melted.


I’ve been wrong all year about Adelaide. Franklin had no possessions in that  first quarter. Craig left Massie on him for the rest of the night. In the second quarter, kicking with the wind, Craig tightened up the defensive structure and turned up the attack.


In the second minute, running out of defence, Jason Torney let rip with a torpedo that caught the wind and sailed over the centre square. Was that 70 metres or 80 metres? Who knows? It was an unreal kick, and from that moment onwards, the game became unreal.


Adelaide did what Craig wants them to do – close down the opposition and then graft their goals. They did it perfectly, with a renewed focus in attack, Kenny McGregor at centre half-forward, and Ricciuto deeper in the forward line. Their entries were swift and direct.


Andrew McLeod single-handedly patrolled the no-man’s land, the?100 metres between a flooding Hawthorn in the Adelaide zone and the two or three Hawthorn forwards held back in their goalsquare. As Hawthorn moved out of defence, McLeod swung across the ground to cut off their line of attack. He had 10 disposals in that second quarter, 15 in the third, and all of them were effective.


McLeod was allowed to stand in that huge paddock all by himself. Clarkson was later criticised for his set-up but, really, what does it say about your game if you have to tag a defender?


McLeod is often caught playing the zone, allowing his opponent to slip away. It’s often how Adelaide loses, playing a couple of their breakaway players in defence, rather than around the packs in attack. But not on this night. Craig outcoached Clarkson and the players outplayed the players… and it helped that Adelaide got every bounce, every lucky break, every essential free, every meaningful possession kicking with or against a significant wind.


Hawthorn ran around all night, picking up litter.


Stats are tiresome and not always a true reflection of the game, but some must be recorded here: Tyson Edwards had 41 disposals (20 kicks and 21 handballs); McLeod 39 disposals (26/13); Scott Thompson 39 disposals; Simon Goodwin 33 disposals (7/26) and Chris Knights had 32 disposals (17/15). For the record, Buddy had four kicks, one handball and three marks playing against the little guy.


It was a bizarre night. Watching the umpires wearing white, in the heritage round, made it even stranger.



Adelaide  4.3 8.4 11.10 15.12 (102)

Hawthorn  1.1 3.3 4.4 4.7 (31)



Adelaide: Ricciuto 4, Bock, Maric, McGregor, Welsh 2, Edwards, Goodwin, Knights.

Hawthorn: Croad, Franklin, McGlynn, Roughead.



Adelaide: McLeod, Edwards, Torney, Knights, Goodwin, Johncock, Massie, Rutten, Maric.

Hawthorn: Ladson, Birchall, Gilham, Young, Lewis.



Thompson (Adelaide) 100 games, Mitchell (Hawthorn) 100 games, Ryan (umpire) 100 games.



Margetts, K. Nicholls, Ryan.



McLeod (A) 3, Edwards (A) 2, Knights (A) 1.



McLeod (A) 3, Ricciuto (A) 2, Thompson (A) 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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