The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 14 – Collingwood v St Kilda: Daisy’s day out

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!



Collingwood versus St Kilda

2.10pm, Saturday, July 7

Melbourne Cricket Ground



IT’S HARD NOT TO NOTICE DALE THOMAS. The shock of blond hair; the boyish grin; the way he flashes in and out of games. The ability to do things most wouldn’t dare try in a game of skill constrained by conservative coaches. Thomas plays with the energy of a coiled spring, like a wire with too much electric current running through it. Thomas essentially played two quarters against St Kilda – the first and the last – and while he wasn’t best on ground, he won Collingwood the game with his brilliance.


One moment stands out. It happened during the final quarter. Trapped in the forward pocket, outside the boundary, Thomas collected the ball on the line, held it in play – or so he thought – baulked one opponent, slid around another and, after sizing up his lack of options, dribbled the wet ball towards goal. It slithered through. The crowd went berserk. The commentators were in raptures. They hadn’t noticed the ball being called back. The boundary umpire had ruled that Thomas had taken the ball out of play.


It was typical of a game in which the umpires seemed to think they were more important than the players and crowd combined, but there seems little point dwelling on that. The bigger story is that Thomas, and Collingwood, would not be denied, with Thomas booting the umpire-certified sealer a minute after his disallowed goal (courtesy of yet another soft hands-in-the-back free).


Ten minutes earlier, the Pies were on toast, having given up a 15-point lead at half-time to trail by the same margin going into the last quarter. While Collingwood had showed plenty of guts and hardness on a wet and difficult day, St Kilda looked to have found the edge, via a combination of Nick Dal Santo silk and Fraser Gehrig firepower. The lead was 21 points when Gehrig kicked his fourth a minute into the final quarter.


Earlier, however, the Saints had been overwhelmed. Thomas was everywhere, marking like a key forward, then working up the ground. His frenzied desire for the ball – he collected nine of his 18 possessions in the first quarter – and his sheer joie de vivre was a joy to watch.?Between Thomas and granite-hard performances from Josh Fraser, Dane Swan and Shane O’Bree – Collingwood’s best four-quarter performers – the Magpies looked every inch the real deal. One suspects they are too young – certainly they are battling injuries to key players – but this stout group hasn’t shirked an issue all year. Had they kicked straighter, they may not have lost a single game.?St Kilda, for their part, have not fallen as far as some have thought. They still have a wealth of quality players, and in the third quarter they took the game by the throat. Gehrig shook off the dogged Shane Wakelin; Nick Riewoldt pushed hard up the ground in an effort to counter Harry O’Brien; and Dal Santo and Robert Harvey hurt Collingwood with their precise delivery.


Five unanswered goals for the third quarter was the result. The Saints may have started slowly but, to borrow a Clive James phrase, they were gathering momentum like a piano falling out of a window. Collingwood looked sure to be crushed until, 10 minutes into that final quarter, the game turned again. The Magpies lifted, turnovers crept back into the Saints’ play, and the gates opened.


First, O’Bree rushed onto a loose ball from an attack he’d helped set up to kick a goal. Thomas took advantage of some tired Saints defence to soccer through another. The Pies were back within eight points and Thomas had shrugged off the tag he’d been awarded for his earlier work. Swan won a free in front after being collected high. Then Thomas’s disallowed goal, then Thomas again. The Pies were home.


Collingwood won for three reasons. First, they received a far more even contribution, down to the last fringe player; Tyson Goldsack and Sam Iles were both prominent contributors despite having played a mere handful of games between them. Second, the Pies’ self-belief enabled them to claw back into contention from what had looked an impossible position. The Saints, by contrast, clearly got the wobbles once the game was in their grasp.


The third, of course, was Thomas. Here is a player with the rarest of abilities: to impose his will on a contest at its defining moment. If that disallowed final- quarter goal is anything to go by, commentators will need to invent some new adjectives to describe them. There may not yet be names for the things he might do.



Collingwood  4.5 8.9 8.11 12.17 (89)

St Kilda  3.3 6.7 11.8 12.8 (80)



Collingwood: Cloke, Fraser, Thomas 2, Davis, Johnson, Licuria, Didak, O’Bree, Swan.

St Kilda: Gehrig 4, Milne 2, Koschitzke, R. Clarke, Hayes, Fiora, Gilbert, X. Clarke.



Collingwood: Fraser, O’Bree, Thomas, Swan, Davis, Goldsack.

St Kilda: Dal Santo, S. Fisher, Gram.



Fraser (Collingwood) 150 games.



Chamberlain, Donlon, McLaren.



Fraser (Coll.) 3, Thomas (Coll.) 2, O’Bree (Coll.) 1.



Dal Santo (St K) 3, Swan (Coll.) 2, Thomas (Col.) 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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