The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 16 – North Melbourne v Melbourne: Worth the cheap ticket and bike ride

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!



Kangaroos versus Melbourne

5.10pm, Sunday, July 22

Telstra Dome, Melbourne



IT WAS A GORGEOUS AFTERNOON FOR CYCLING. I jumped on my bike in East Brunswick, wove through the backstreets and into Carlton North. The bare trees threw long shadows over Rathdowne Street. Crossing Elgin Street, I pumped the pedals to take me up the hill to the Museum, slid down into the city and followed Latrobe Street to Docklands. Melbourne at twilight after a bright, still day was a very beautiful place.


So beautiful, in fact, that no-one particularly wanted to go to the football. I’d heard word that, due to the sparcity of the crowd, Kangaroos members were being given complimentary seats on Level 1. I took advantage of the offer and gazed up at the empty seats of Level 4. What was going on here? These were two Melbourne clubs, playing in Melbourne, right? If there is an opposite of “Blockbuster” (“Blockbuilder”, perhaps?), then this game was it.


From the opening bounce it was evident North had come to play. Drew Petrie and Corey Jones, alternately, kick the first four goals of the game. The performance of this pair in recent weeks has summed up the new-found self- confidence that has been bubbling away at Arden Street. In previous years they have been two of the Roos’ more talented, but frustratingly inconsistent, developing players. The development appears complete.


The North Melbourne midfield was sharp and clean-skilled. Indeed, Brent Harvey, one assumes, must have the ink from the letters S-h-e-r-r-i-n permanently stained on his palms. Goals, however, to Melbourne’s Brent Moloney and Michael Newton, in the second half of the term, resulted in the Demons being only 11 points down at the first break.


The only moment of this match that will remain in the minds of those who saw it occurred seven minutes into the second quarter. Melbourne’s Colin Sylvia bombed the ball to the top of the Melbourne goal square. Newton took a chest mark. Newton’s chest, it should be noted, was more than three metres above the ground. He’d had the perfect ride over his skipper, David Neitz, as three North defenders lunged and punched futilely in the direction of the ball. I was surrounded by North supporters and we yelled, I’m sure of it, as loudly at that very moment as the Melbourne cheer squad.


The speccy, the true screamer, is a rare treat in this era of the uncontested mark. But what a treat it is. The acrobatics of a high mark, for a split second, dissolve partisanship.


Newton kicked truly as did Nathan Jones a few minutes later. The Dees were only five points down. North steadied, thanks mainly to the disciplined efforts of Daniel Harris and Adam Simpson. David Hale and the bold and dutiful Scott McMahon (try as I might, I can’t seem to get the nickname ‘Sonia’ to stick amongst my Kanga friends – we can do better than ‘Macca’, surely) kick two goals each for the quarter.


McMahon had his worst, and best, moment of the match at the beginning of the third term. He was crunched, head-high, by Melbourne’s Simon Godfrey who was subsequently reported. McMahon lay motionless as a scuffle broke out above him. He then stood up, decided he was capable of taking the free-kick and, from 40 metres out on a slight angle, kicked the goal.


North played inspired football from then on. Their backline was efficient and clinical, Harvey claimed the midfield as his own and the forwards shared the goals among themselves. Melbourne did manage three very late goals but these were very much against the flow of play. The margin of 45 points at three-quarter time flattered the Demons.


The final term was played out as so often they are when it’s one team with so much to play for (North were chasing second spot on the ladder and a much- needed percentage boost) and another team just waiting for an awful season to come to an end. Neitz, who had been comprehensively beaten by Michael Firrito, kicked his first goal of the match five minutes into the quarter and 200-gamer, Russell Robertson, kicked his second a few minutes later. Otherwise, it was all North. The Kangas played confident, tough and smart football to tidy-up the match. It was a very polished and even team performance by the Roos.


As I wandered back to my bike I glanced at AFL and Melbourne Legend, Norm Smith, gazing up at me from the cover of the Record. Norm would have hated tonight.


But for a North supporter, who was now letting himself think of September, the pedalling up Collins Street, to home, had never been so easy.



Kangaroos  4.2 9.3 14.9 19.12 (126)

Melbourne  2.3 4.5 7 .6 9.8 (62)



Kangaroos: Jones 4, Harvey, Petrie, McMahon 3, Hale, Whyman 2, Grant, Brown.

Melbourne: Newton, Robertson 2, Jones, Moloney, Buckley, McLean, Neitz.



Kangaroos: Harvey, Firrito, Simpson, Sinclair, Jones, Sinclair, Archer.

Melbourne: Jones, Bizzell, Newton.



Allen, M. Nicholls, Kamolins.



Harvey (K) 3, Firrito (K) 2, Simpson (K) 1.



Harvey (K) 3, Jones (K) 2, Sinclair (K) 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. Philip Mendes says

    Nice story Rob, easy to forget what a good player Corey Jones was at his peak.

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