The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 14 – Carlton v Melbourne: Cheeky Penny and the rebuilding Dees

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!



Carlton versus Melbourne

2.10pm, Sunday, July 8

Melbourne Cricket Ground



AFTER THE DEMONS’ EARTH WAS SCORCHED over the previous fortnight, this day was about the little green shoots of renewal. Just as it was for my companion on the day, my Blues-loving mate Penny.


Neale Daniher appeared to have lost the players in their abysmal loss to the previously winless Tigers. Within days, the coach declared he would exit. In Daniher’s farewell game, the Dees procured a tragic loss against Essendon with seconds left on the clock. It was the blackest day of another bleak year for a club that has not enjoyed the ultimate success for 43 years.


About the same time the Dees were crashing and burning, Penny had been stopped in her tracks. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer one minute and copped a mastectomy the next.


This was her first trip to the footy since her operation in June. She wore a big green beanie and her trademark grin.


Carlton was playing for its fifth win of the season, the Dees their third. Blue Ryan Houlihan was playing his 150th game, Eddie Betts his 50th. Melbourne’s stand-in coach Mark Riley, Daniher’s former right-hand man, was welcomed to the caper with the news that Cameron Bruce was a late withdrawal.


The quality of footy was rough in the first term, save for the remarkable effort of Carlton little man Andrew Carrazzo, who racked up 17 possessions by the first bell. It was Heritage Round, celebrating the 1970s, and Carrazzo looked for all the world like wee Georgie Bissett in a navy blue guernsey.


But the real drama of the opening stanza was not played out on the field, but in the Melbourne rooms. Young Demon Ricky Petterd was taken there after he’d collapsed on the bench, moments after trotting off halfway through the quarter complaining of shortness of breath.


Reports later indicated that Demon medical staff had worked frantically in the rooms to revive Petterd, who had suffered a collapsed lung. The medicos had to stab a tube through his ribs to reflate the lung and save his life.


Not that any of us in the stands knew any of this at the time. All we knew was that the Dees held a narrow advantage at the first change.


The action heated up in the second quarter, with big Setanta O’hAilpin and Brad Fisher pulling down some big marks up forward. The Blues were making do without Brendon Fevola, who had been suspended by the club for a petulant display against Fremantle the previous week.


The Dees also lifted their intensity. They slammed on four goals in four minutes, including an unbelievable snap-on-the-left-over-the-right-shoulder-close-to-the-boundary effort from the only man on the ground capable of such wizardry – Aaron Davey.


But the Blues never dropped their heads, and they fought back strongly to be within a kick at half-time through fine efforts from Gibbs, Simpson, Fisher and Murphy. Just before the bell, Anthony Koutoufides dashed through the fifty, bounced twice and kicked a goal from 15 metres to put the Blues back in front and give Penny her first decent whack of adrenalin for the day.


The same pattern continued in the second half. Melbourne would bang on a few before Carlton would claw their way back. In the end, the Dees’ finishing skills – in particular Russell Robertson’s five goals straight – got them over?the line.


But far more important than the win for Dees fans were those little green shoots of renewal, of resurrection after the fall.


Simon Buckley, in his first game, looked at home, finding space in traffic and displaying good skills. Matthew Bate might yet make a centre-half forward and teenager James “Chip” Frawley did a man’s job in defence on Jarrad Waite.


And there might be life after ol’ man David Neitz retires, in the form of Michael Newton, who, in his second game, looked like a gun young spearhead, with some big grabs and eight shots at goal.


Another great sign was some displays of genuine bravery. In particular with the game in the balance about 10 minutes from time, when Nathan Carroll ran back with the flight of the ball and took a brilliant mark a split second before smashing heads with the fast-closing Matthew Lappin.


Both players lay motionless on the turf before Lappin, in the arms of trainers, stumbled off the ground (and to the same hospital as Petterd had been ferried earlier in the day). Carroll looked very sick indeed. As the stretcher lay on the turf, trainers worked on the limp figure for some minutes.


Suddenly he came to, was helped up, shook himself off, and ran to the bench. I was on my feet, clapping overhead and giving Carroll as much reward as it is possible to give from the stands.


As I resumed my seat, she started in: “What’s so good about that? Our bloke came off when he could hardly walk! Your bloke lay about on the ground grandstanding. There’s nothing any good about that.”


It was at this point that I knew Pen was back to her best, that her trauma had taken nothing from the Pen that we knew and loved.


Just as I was about to dig my elbow into her ribs, she grinned: “Careful, a girl’s still recovering, you know…”


Pen’s cheek will live on, and the Dees will be a force again.



Carlton 3.4 8.7 10.14 14.7 (101)

Melbourne 4.1 9.4 14.6 19.10 (124)



Melbourne: Robertson 5, Newton, Bate 3, Wheatley 2,?P. Johnson, Davey, Dunn, Ward, Godfrey, Sylvia.

Carlton: Murphy, S. O’hAilpin, Fisher, Simpson, Kennedy 2, Betts, Waite, Koutoufides, Gibbs.



Melbourne: McDonald, White, Wheatley, Brown, Jones, Ward, Bate.

Carlton: Simpson, Carrazzo, Koutoufides, Murphy,?S. O’hAilpin, Gibbs.



Houlihan (Carlton) 150 games, Betts (Carlton) 50 games.



Grigg (Carlton), Buckley (Melbourne).



Fila, Goldspink, Hendrie.



McDonald (M) 3, White (M) 2, Simpson (Carl.) 1.



McDonald (M) 3, Wheatley (M) 2, Simpson (Carl.) 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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