The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 17 – Essendon v Adelaide: A win for Sheeds

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!



Essendon versus Adelaide

2.10pm, Sunday, July 29

Telstra Dome, Melbourne



MY OLD MAN BROKE NEWS FOR A LIVING. My best mate breaks news for fun. Breece Gevaux, author of such lucid (yet informative) text messages as “Irwin killed by stingray” and “Brocky’s dead. Car crash. Ironic.” delivered me the news with the subtlety of blue vein cheese: “Sheeds sacked. Don’t top yourself – come and support St Kilda”.


I sobbed a little – half-thinking about Sheeds and half-thinking about what my life would be like supporting The Aints.


You know something is not right when you arrive at the football to the sounds of the Nutbush. Five days had passed, yet I still felt a genuine emptiness, an overwhelming sadness and great confusion as to what life would be like supporting Essendon without Kevin Sheedy.


I have never known this, you see. I was born the year Hawthorn smashed Essendon by what was, at the time, a record Grand Final margin. I grew up in the era where the Same Olds regained the power and shed the red shorts.


A Croweater was obviously in charge of the ’80s mix-tape as Kool and the Gang’s Celebration came on after it was announced that Dustin Fletcher had been replaced by Kepler Bradley. The crowd reacted – but not in celebration.


Bradley, the one man who makes Fletch appear co-ordinated, epitomises why the Essendon board most likely acted on Sheedy. An early pick, his promise has been fleeting at best. Like “Gutsy Gussy” Monfries, questions remain whether Essendon will see the 200 games of quality that is now expected of first-round selections. As a partisan, I think these two and the great majority of Essendon youngsters will be OK. But footy is built on perception, and it seems that to win games with Lloyd, Lucas and Hird firing is less desirable than losing with Johns, Lee and Jetta.


I disagree, and the applause from the opposite wing as Sheedy appears suggests that most of the crowd agrees with me.


“Ma ma ma myyy Sharona… ”


The negativity of the opening stanza reflected the importance of the occasion. Both teams dropped numbers back and Adelaide took to creating a defensive wall at both half-forward and half-back. Matthew Lloyd marked when clearly offside, but goaled anyway. Within 20 minutes, he had four, with Essendon exploiting Scott Stevens’ lack of pace by leaving space within 30 metres of goal.


Andrew Welsh was doing well on Andrew McLeod in the competition’s newest position of tagging a half-back flanker and Peverill looked to be playing with his own football. The good work was undone, however, with three Adelaide goals deep in time-on. Clever goals to Brett Burton and Scott Welsh came from Essendon mistakes and Bradley bore the brunt, unfairly. Fault lay with Paddy Ryder – one of the youngsters whose progress would ironically have contented the Essendon board.


The first crowd noise of note came when Scott Gumbleton led well and marked in the centre of the ground. He’s tall, athletic and in dire need of protein shakes. Exactly the sort of player Sheeds has always loved (think Kevin Walsh, Aaron Henneman or Dean Wallis – just with skill). As I began scribbling how well Slattery had held The Birdman, Burton kicked two in as many minutes. Young Henry did well from then on, however – his similarity to another Sheedy favourite, Gary O’Donnell, so striking that some fans have taken to calling him Junior GOD.


With scores level at half-time, the game still lacked atmosphere. With our season on the line, today was not about the game – and everyone knew it. Kaye and Helen, Essendon fanatics who my father and I have sat near for 15 years, drew attention to the Sheedy badges they purchased pre-game. Was the decision right? Should we have waited? Should Sheeds have brought someone into the club to mentor and mould for the role?


I just sat there.


With little run provided for Adelaide by usual suspects McLeod and Johncock, Simon Goodwin did his best to lift his side. Ken McGregor took his tally to four and again affirmed his position (with Ben Dixon and Lance Whitnall) in the exclusive group of Ordinary Footballers Who Always Kick Goals Against Essendon (OFWAKGAE).


Jobe Watson continued his brilliant form of the last month. If I felt strange about life post-Sheedy you had to wonder how Watson was feeling this week. He played like a man who appreciated the contribution his coach had made to the club his father captained. Peverill, Winderlich and Stanton kept running – their disposal erratic, if well-intended.


Essendon’s 11-point third-quarter lead evaporated by the 15-minute mark of the final quarter. Goals from Lloyd had dried up since half-time and Lucas had been well beaten by Bock all day. It was here that Sheedy made the formative move – bringing back Hille, who had spent 20 minutes on the bench,?to exploit the tiring Ben Hudson. Suddenly, in a game with few on-field highlights, there was an avalanche, as Essendon’s midfield dominance was finally rewarded. Goals from Winderlich, Dyson and Mark Johnson were all spectacular in their own way, and when Johnson countered Burton’s fourth with a brilliant snap on the left, the game was done. I celebrated more passively than I can remember. It wasn’t a hollow victory, just one which needed to be contextualised. McVeigh, Johnson and Peverill said similarly on the wireless.


You have to feel slightly for the Crows – beaten in consecutive weeks by teams whose coaches have been sacked. I can’t help but wonder, though, how their list – the oldest in the competition – has avoided the scrutiny deservedly heaped on Essendon’s. The last three years should have yielded more.


The first carriage of the 4.51 Epping (stopping all stations except Flagstaff ) was so quiet that one chap decided to remind everyone that Essendon had actually won by insisting we all join him in a rousing rendition of Keep Your Sunny Side Up. The singing was laboured and passengers quickly fell back to slight murmuring.


The next morning I almost choked on my Corn Flakes with milk and coffee (don’t question it – just try it) when I noted that two publications had quoted Sheedy “admitting” that he had “forgotten” that Hille was on the bench for much of the last quarter. It was Sheedy at his facetious best – he might be comical and eccentric but he is not stupid. In any case, if he had forgotten about the six-foot- seven bloke who he appointed as temporary captain last year, there is no way Kevin Sheedy would admit it.


Twenty-seven years in the coaching game and he continues to mystify, confuse and perplex. Media scribes don’t know Kevin Sheedy. I probably know him even less. What I do know is that I will miss him.


I will miss him terribly.



Essendon  6.2 10.4 14.6 18.9 (117)

Adelaide  5.3 10.4 12.7 16.9 (105)



Essendon: Lloyd 5, M. Johnson 3, McVeigh, Welsh 2, Watson, Ramanauskas, Peverill, Lovett-Murray, Winderlich, Dyson.

Adelaide: McGregor, Burton 4, Welsh 3, Edwards, Torney, Maric, Goodwin, Gill.



Essendon: Watson, McVeigh, Hille, Peverill, Lloyd,?Michael, Slattery.

Adelaide: Bock, Goodwin, Edwards, Burton, Thompson, Knights.



Campbell, Gill (Adelaide), Gumbleton (Essendon).



Allen, Donlon, Wenn.



Watson (E) 3, McVeigh (E) 2, Bock (A) 1.



Watson (E) 3, Goodwin (A) 2, M. Johnson (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


  1. george smith says

    Had you swapped your allegiance to St Kilda in 2007 you would have lived through 2009 – Saints almost perfect season, and 2010 – the so-called worlds cruelest bounce.

    Better to look back into the majesty that was Sheedy in his prime. That 2000 team was one of the greatest ever.

    Is there something about the number 4 for coaches? Barassi, Hafey, Sheedy, Parkin, Matthews and Jeans have all tried to win premiership number five and come up short. Now we see Alistair Clarkson having the same problem, with Hawthorn as far away as ever…

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