The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 16 – Collingwood v Essendon: A magical day of black and white spells

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 Essendon

2.10pm, Saturday, July 21

Melbourne Cricket Ground



THE HYPE WAS HUGE. Fans had been waiting for this one, and the queues wound back into the Saturday morning fog. They came in their usual paraphernalia, paying homage to their stars. Black was the predominant colour, as you’d expect, and the sense of occasion was overwhelming. The gates were finally thrown open, and in they rushed – to grab their copies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.


I nearly bowled my 12-year-old daughter over when I barged through the front door after Auskick. She was standing transfixed in the hall, Hallows in hand and well on her way. My job was to get the boys out of the house and secure reading ambience. Fortunately, the Pies and the Dons were going head to head in an eight-point game at the MCG. Daniel, Liam and I headed to Platform 9 and 3/4 at Croxton Station.


There are such things as eight-point games, apparently. They happen more frequently in the second half of the season when two teams in finals contention meet. All the coaches and players tell us we should take football one week at a time, but every now and again you apparently get to lump two weeks together.


In truth, games between Collingwood and Essendon are worth a hell of a lot more than eight points to both sets of fans. In barren years, a win can equate to almost half a season of success. This one was robbed of the Harry Potters. Serial Magpie tormentor James Hird was recovering from a hamstring injury sustained against Geelong in Round 14, while Nathan Buckley wore a suit to the game and kept it on for the 16th time this year.


Scott Lucas and Harry O’Brien became close on Anzac Day, and Mick Malthouse decided the relationship should be rekindled. Lucas won the first bout, pinning O’Brien 20 metres out and kicking the opening goal from the resultant free kick. It was to be the only Essendon major of the quarter. The Pies grabbed hold of the control panel and kicked the next five. Leon Davis got the show on the road with a dribbled snap, followed two minutes later by a straight Anthony Rocca set shot from fifty.


The Dons spent the rest of the quarter trying to figure out who was on Tarkyn Lockyer and how to stop Travis Cloke. The unassuming Lockyer is a fair chance to win the Copeland Trophy on current form. He was the architect of Collingwood’s 26-point quarter time lead. Gut-busting running netted him 12 possessions for the term, none wasted. On 18 minutes, he bobbed up unattended in the goal square and kicked the Magpies’ fifth. Cloke had kicked the third and fourth in a purple patch that had Dustin Fletcher reconsidering his natural attacking instincts.


The quarter time siren halted the black and white blitzkrieg, and the Bombers temporarily regrouped after the break. Goals to Damien Peverill, Matty Lloyd?and Scott Lucas inside five minutes reduced the margin to nine points, and the Essendon army found some voice for the first time in the afternoon. But the should-we-sack-Sheedy discussion going on behind me soon resumed as the Pies turned on an exhilarating quarter-hour of football to seemingly seize the game.


Scott Pendlebury soft-footed inside fifty to mark and goal twice in three minutes, followed by goals to Rocca and a pack-roving Alan Didak. The fifth of the six-goal burst was the Pies at their 2007 best. Two bone-crunching tackles by Cloke and Scott Burns on the Collingwood forward fifty forced a loose ball that found its way to Davis, who speared it into a despondent Essendon cheer squad behind the Punt Road goal. A minute later David Hille hit the post from close range, and the Pies swept the ball from one end to the other, Paul Licuria putting his side 44 points in front in the shadows of half time. A long Lucas goal on the bell may have convinced a few wavering Bomber souls to hang in there.


If so, they were rewarded for their faith. Mark McVeigh sparked an unlikely comeback with two goals in the opening minutes of the second half, and with Hille taking over in the ruck, the Dons whittled the margin down. Lloyd briefly shook off Shane Wakelin for two goals of his own, and when Andrew Lovett matched that late in the quarter, the difference was a kick-and-a-half. The trouble for Essendon was that their defence was unable to stifle the scoring at the other end.


If this had been the round ball game, it would have been Collingwood 3-1. The Pies regained control in the last quarter after Ricky Dyson reduced the margin to 10 points. Another contested mark from Rocca produced his fourth and most important goal, and Josh Fraser followed it up with an instinctive right foot bomb around his body to end the argument.


A day that began with mist and witchcraft ended with some Davis wizardry. He skilfully latched onto a high bouncing ball in traffic, and fooled everyone by standing still in a Lucas tackle. The big Bomber was off balance, and couldn’t hang on. Freed of his temporary cloak, Davis darted away to banana through the goal of the week. The perfect ending to a magical day.



Collingwood  5.4 11.8 15.11 18.14 (122)

Essendon  1.2 5.5 13.8 14.9 (93)



Collingwood: Rocca, Davis 4, Cloke 3, Pendlebury 2, Lockyer, Didak, Licuria, Thomas, Fraser.

Essendon: Lucas 4, Lloyd 3, McVeigh, Lovett 2, Peverill, Monfries, Dyson.



Collingwood: Lockyer, Cloke, Davis, Rocca, Fraser, Pendlebury.

Essendon: Peverill, Lucas, Hille, McVeigh, Watson.



Jeffery, McInerney, Ryan.



Lockyer (Coll.) 3, Cloke (Coll.) 2, Davis (Coll.) 1.



Lockyer (Coll.) 3, Cloke (Coll.) 2, Peverill (E) 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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