The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 16 – Adelaide v Fremantle: Free-flowing football derails the Crows

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 Fremantle

2.40pm, Saturday, July 21

AAMI Stadium, Adelaide



IF EVER ADELAIDE NEEDED A WIN to stop their slide out of the eight and into the slippery murkiness of obscurity, this was the moment. Unable to put the same team on the park for two weeks in a row all year, Adelaide had lost Rutten and Ricciuto for this game.


On the other hand, Fremantle had lost its coach. Conventional wisdom says that players lift in the next week, eager to prove themselves to the new coach. It might be that the players lift because the spotlight is no longer on the coach, but on them. I hedged my bets with $10 on Adelaide to win by 60+ at 5/1 and $10 on Freo to win by 14-26 points at 11/1.


With a clear sky and no wind, conditions were perfect for attacking football. Conditions were also perfect for Matthew Pavlich, who from the clearance of the first bounce, took a strong mark over Graham Johncock and kicked his first goal all within thirty seconds.


The Dockers attacked their inside fifty with ruthless efficiency in that first quarter. Ten entries yielded five straight goals. In contrast, Adelaide entered their inside fifty twenty times in that quarter for 3.7. The midfielders Heath Black, Peter Bell, Matthew and Josh Carr set up Freo’s early attack and continued to run all day.


In the second quarter, Freo played some of that funny stuff that we have all come to love over the years – a wall of three players running forward handballing to each other in a staggered line. All is well until Player Three handballs it back, against the line to where he thought Player One would now be. The problem? Player One had forgotten to read Page Two of the script. Connolly may have been absent but his presence was still felt. The ghosts of Gerard Neesham and Damian Drum also hovered over Football Park.


Those mistakes allowed Adelaide to draw level in the middle of the second quarter, but Freo extended its lead with a flurry of goals before half-time.


The third quarter was a remarkable affair with each team kicking six goals each without a miss. It was the sort of free-flowing play-on football all fans love to see, so long as there is a happy ending. At the 19-minute mark, Adelaide levelled the scores again until the 25th minute, when Freo slammed home three quick goals in junk time.


With Pavlich dominating his end (in spite of Craig shuffling McGregor and Bock on him) the last quarter was set up for a beauty. Adelaide’s small men, Edwards, Thompson, van Berlo, Goodwin and McLeod, worked hard in the second half to create many opportunities. Craig put Burton at full forward and, early in the last quarter, running backwards with his opponent, the Birdman flew high, hugging his opponent’s torso with his thighs and hanging there like a copulating dog for the Mark of the Year. Or, at least, it would have been if he hadn’t shanked his kick at goal from 25 metres out, directly in front.


The last quarter was Adelaide’s worst for the year. The Freo runners found space. The Adelaide runners couldn’t. At the critical moment in the match, Adelaide reverted to a rigid zone defence, which in one passage enabled Freo four sequential forward entries from the centre square to unmarked players.


Game and year over for Adelaide and for many of Craig’s theories, I thought, as I stood in the collect line.



Adelaide  3.7 6.8 12.8 15.11 (101)

Fremantle  5.0 10.2 16.2 20.6 (126)



Fremantle: Pavlich 5, Drum 4, Hasleby 3, Bell 2, Black, M. Carr, Gilmore, Hayden, Johnson, Thornton.

Adelaide: Burton 4, McLeod 2, Doughty, Douglas, Johncock, Maric, Perrie, Stevens, Thompson, Torney, Welsh.



Fremantle: Pavlich, Bell, Black, Haselby, M. Carr, J. Carr, Gilmore, Thornton, Mundy.

Adelaide: Edwards, McLeod, Torney, Goodwin, Burton, Reilly.



McBurney, Grun, Goldspink.



Pavlich (F) 3, Bell (F) 2, Black (F) 1.



Pavlich (F) 3, Black* (F) 2, Edwards (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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