The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 16 – St Kilda v Hawthorn: A bad night for Hawthorn and Australia

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!



St Kilda versus Hawthorn

7.10pm, Saturday, July 21

Telstra Dome, Melbourne



I DON’T MUCH LIKE TELSTRA DOME and now don’t go there at all unless I’m getting a free feed. The decision, then, for a dedicated free-to-air viewer, came down to which public house in which to watch the Hawks play the Saints, a game of some importance for the former and of immense importance for the latter.


Hawthorn people well know that Auburn Road divides the suburb into 3122 and 3123 and that 3123 has far more tickets on itself. So – the Elgin Inn 3122 or the Tower 3123? Sticking with my own, I went to the Elgin, a pub once called the Railway and run by champion golfer Ossie Pickworth and later, as the Elgin, run for some time by the late Des Rowe, champion Tiger player, excellent mine host and gentleman.


The enthusiasm created in me by the sight of so many gold scarves as I entered the pub quickly dissipated when I realised that most of the scarves belonged to supporters of the Wallabies or the Socceroos. They were there for the Bledisloe Cup match and for the Asian Cup match, both of which had slipped under my parochial radar. Add the footy and we had a very noisy establishment.


The Round 8 match between the Hawks and the Saints had been mentioned more than once in the lead-up to this game. The word “forgettable” had been given a good run both in the immediate aftermath of the earlier match and in pre-match discussion for this one. Curiously, everyone seemed to remember the forgettable match, a match which featured a score-line of two goals apiece at half-time.


Matt Little had replaced Mitch Thorp in Hawthorn’s selected side and within seconds of the start had a chance to join the list of those who have kicked a goal with their first kick in League football. Unfortunately for him and the Hawks, he joined the even longer list of those who have kicked a behind with their first kick in League football. It was a little sad that Thorp withdrew as he is thought by many at Hawthorn, probably even by Mitch, to be the Next Big Thing. If confidence were money he would be Richard Pratt. There’s a lot of Dermott about him.


The match began as a goal-for-goal arm wrestle, but the Saints, even at this early stage, looked more likely to break the match open. They certainly seemed to have their match-ups right. When the dust settled Blake was tagging Crawford – a surprising but effective move, with the Brownlow Medallist rarely sighted after a good first quarter. Leigh Fisher was limiting Mitchell’s ability to get the ball moving quickly, Baker was blanketing Bateman and Hodge and Hayes had a good battle all night.


A rejuvenated Ball was enlivening the Saints forward line and regained the lead for them early in the second quarter. It was the seventh time the lead had changed in a four goals to three contest. That changed when St Kilda kicked successive goals after Gilham’s stray pass found Milne. The Saints now led by 11 points and were not headed from that time on.


Koschitzke whacked Campbell with a forearm in a marking contest – well, after the contest – and a fellow drinker opined “two weeks”. One, as it turned out.


The Saints extended their lead to 22 points after Milne was again the recipient of a wayward across-goal pass, this time from McGlynn, but Taylor’s late goal brought the half-time margin back to 15 points.


Annoyed and distracted by the soccer fans and by the way the Hawks were playing, I decided to leave the Elgin at half-time, firstly for my own comfort and then because, with supporter irrationality, I thought if I changed venues it might change the course of the match.


The Tower was much quieter – quiet enough, indeed, for me to explain to a patron why Harvey had received his second 50-metre penalty for the game. Supporters, however, don’t want to hear rational explanations. Ball goaled, but then Franklin and McGlynn replied to bring the Hawks within eight points.


Goals to Dal Santo, Riewoldt and Ball, his third, were interrupted by one from Ellis for the Saints to be 21 points up at three-quarter time – not much in figures, but to spectators more than enough. The Hawks were not playing nearly well enough and the disciplined Saints were denying them their running game and clean, quick entry into the forward line.


Riewoldt eventually kicked the vital first goal of the last quarter and then Fiora, a much improved player on tonight’s showing, took the Saints to the safety of a 34-point lead. Franklin kicked a hat-trick of goals to take his tally to five, but when the game was there to be won he had kicked two goals from seven scoring shots, a result always possible with his imperfect kicking technique. The winning margin of 17 points flattered the Hawks who have a tough run for the rest of the season.


The Wallabies had lost to New Zealand an hour and a half earlier at the Elgin and the Socceroos had lost recently on another screen in a penalty shoot-out against Japan. No joy for me anywhere, then. On the way out, in an attempt to get something out of the night, I shoved five dollars into a poker machine and it coughed up 30 one-dollar coins. At least I had covered the cost of four pots and a bowl of chips… Who says money can’t buy a little happiness?



St Kilda  3.2 8.4 12.7 14.11 (95)

Hawthorn  2.3 5.8 8.10 11.12 (78)



St Kilda: Ball, Riewoldt 3, Milne 2, Hayes, Gehrig, Montagna, Koschitzke, Dal Santo, Fiora.

Hawthorn: Franklin 5, Dixon 2, Sewell, Taylor, McGlynn, Ellis.



St Kilda: Ball, L. Fisher, Blake, Riewoldt, S. Fisher, Montagna, Hayes, Baker.

Hawthorn: Croad, Hodge, Guerra, Birchall, Franklin.



Kennedy, Sully, Head.



Ball (St K) 3, Croad (H) 2, Hodge (H) 1.



Dal Santo (St K) 3, Ball (St K) 2, Hayes (St 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

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