The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 15 – Geelong v Collingwood: A Victorian blockbuster, like they used to 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!



Geelong versus Collingwood

2.10 pm, Saturday, July 14

Melbourne Cricket Ground



SOME DAYS ARE JUST PERFECT FOR SPORTS LOVERS. The scent of anticipation, the drama of the contest and the collective joy at the outcome live long in the memory. Cox Plate Day, 1982: “Kingston Town can’t win”. SCG, 2003: Steve Waugh’s last ball ton. Add to this, Geelong v Collingwood, MCG, Saturday afternoon in Round 15 as the benchmark for home and away footy in Melbourne. No marketers’ hype, no choirs, no Craig Willis, but a lot of people wanting to see a good game and make judgements on season 2007.


A weak winter’s sun fought the chill air as 85,497 footy-lovers strode into the home of football. This was simply a wonderful occasion, with a quality match to complement the sense of theatre that the MCG can arouse. And, for once, the professional veneer seemed to be discarded as Cats fans, and, I reckon, players, celebrated being part of a uniquely Melbourne experience.


Geelong could not be dislodged from the top of the ladder. But their hold on premiership favouritism was under scrutiny. The spirited Magpies had been winning over the sceptics.


I had seen each of these teams in Round 1 and had been unimpressed. You could have secured long odds on an MCG blockbuster 15 weeks later. Collingwood, of course, live at the ’G and face huge crowds wherever they go. For the Cats it was another test.


Geelong, the victors, were thrilled with the achievement. After a stuttering start, they’d gained and maintained control for most of the day. It was uplifting to hear the throng chanting “Gee-long Gee-long” in the safety of the final minutes, daring a September rehearsal with a choir that filled the mighty ground.?And, upon the final siren, the Cheshire Cats expressed their happiness and understanding of the moment. The beauty for me as a neutral supporter was seeing the players’ joy, almost as if they were Under 12s who knew they’d earned a hotdog for their efforts.


The mix they’d displayed was intoxicating. In the time-honoured League Teams tradition I’ll start from the backline. Easy. Matthew Scarlett was magnificent. He set the tone for his team’s fearless display. Although Anthony Rocca, his opponent, was insipid, lacking vim or verve, Geelong’s stalwart defended stoically and launched relentless counter-attacks. He was almost chuckling as he eluded Rocca. This spirit inspired Tom Harley, the improving Andrew Mackie, the dashing David Wojcinski and the unobtrusive Darren Milburn to foil Magpie attacks.


To the midfield, where Geelong again showed its depth and strength. Although young Gazza seems to get all of the accolades, I thought he was fairly ineffective other than exciting the devotees every time he was given the ball. Rather, the versatile Corey Enright and outstanding Jimmy Bartel straightened them up while James Kelly and Joel Corey made valuable contributions.


And, perhaps most memorably, I got to see the rookie Joel Selwood. He is a beauty, able to intercept skilfully, and stand his ground manfully. In one memorable passage, he dispatched the long handball of a visionary. Put Zabeel to Circles of Gold and you might find the equivalent of the Selwood bloodline.


Up forward, Cameron Mooney was terrific. His conversion was not great, but his presentation and endeavour were a marked contrast to Rocca at the other end. The Cats have an enviable variety of forward structures, able to go tall with Tom Hawkins or utilize the zest of Travis Varcoe, the guile and skill of Paul Chapman or even the endeavour of Matthew Stokes, one of the match’s early stars. The wildcard, though, is Steve Johnson. To call him mercurial implies random influence. This was not the case. Johnson tormented the Pie defence consistently, whilst still maintaining his trademark flair. On one occasion when he played on around the man on the mark and goaled, the defence looked silly. He also made some basic errors. I am brave enough to declare that his capabilities are Crosswell- like, and could indeed be decisive in the Hoops’ hopes of future glory.


Cameron Ling again displayed his talents. A goal-scoring tagger, the tireless Rock just kept challenging the Pies and was among the very best in his 150th game.


For a match with a relatively small margin, it was easy to enthuse about the boys from Corio Bay, but surprisingly difficult to find winners for the Pies. Partly, I am sure, this is due to the style of the victors, but coach of the vanquished, Michael Malthouse, agreed with the conundrum.


Travis Cloke was one. Big occasion; big game; big seasons ahead. Tarkyn Lockyer was always prominent. And Collingwood’s future is far more assured, with Scott Pendlebury, Tyson Goldsack, and Sam Iles showing plenty. Marty Clarke looks like he could excel in whatever game he chose. He appears to have been playing our complex sport forever.


Below their best, the Pies were still not far from the likely minor premier.?But this game was about the occasion and the winners. Neutrals left smiling, reminded of what great old VFL games had to offer, and Cats fans dared to dream. And why not? Ten wins in a row, a massive crowd, a heroic victory, with finals beckoning next time they head to Jolimont. Hitch your carriage. It’s sure to be one hell of a ride.



Geelong  4.3 7.5 9.10 11.14 (80)

Collingwood  2.4 6.5 7.8 9.10 (64)



Geelong: Ling, S. Johnson 2, Mooney, Stokes, Enright,?Wojcinski, Selwood, Chapman, Bartel.

Collingwood: Cloke 4, Medhurst, Lockyer, Burns, Maxwell, Rocca.



Geelong: Scarlett, S. Johnson, Mooney, Ling, Corey, Stokes, Selwood, Mackie.

Collingwood: Cloke, Lockyer, Pendlebury, Clarke.



Johnson (Collingwood) 150 games, Ling (Geelong) 150 games, Bartel (Geelong) 100 games.



Margetts, McBurney, Rosebury.



Scarlett (G) 3, S. Johnson (G) 2, Ling (G) 1.



Corey (G) 3, Scarlett (G) 2, G. Ablett (G) 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


  1. A few names of note there Crio.

    ‘the rookie Joel Selwood’.

    ‘Scott Pendelebury and Sam Iles showed plenty’.

    Two of these fellows are now esteemed veterans of the game, legends of their clubs.

    What happened to Sam Iles?


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