The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 17 – Hawthorn v North Melbourne: A glorious time to be a Shinboner

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!



Hawthorn versus Kangaroos

1.10pm, Sunday, July 29

Aurora Stadium, Launceston



THE UPHEAVAL OF THE PRECEDING WEEK, in which Denis Pagan, Kevin Sheedy and even Steve Bracks had all moved on, in one fashion or another, diverted some of the well-deserved spotlight that this match of the round, second versus third, should have enjoyed.


The absence of fanfare was not entirely unusual, North being North and all. However, I would have appreciated a little more hype to fuel the anticipation as this game drew near.


At the start of the year, not even the most optimistic North fan would have dared imagine that, in Round 17, we would have the chance to secure second spot on the ladder. After Round 3, in which the Hawks gave us a nice touch-up and we were 0-3, people would have thought you were mad to imagine such a scenario.


My vantage point for the game was far removed from the picnic-like ambience (at least it seems that way from Melbourne) of Aurora Stadium; I was at a 60th birthday party at the salubrious Royal Oak Hotel in Melbourne’s North Fitzroy.


My wife’s Uncle Jim had made 60 and – I’m sure the family won’t mind me saying – it is a motley crew that comes together for these functions. As such, the degree of difficulty in observing the game’s minutiae was high.


Between shouting pots, sav blancs and softies at the bar, ordering from a succinct yet very appealing traditional pub menu (savoury rissoles and veg, in case you’re wondering), and the usual banter that accompanies a rellies’ bash, I learnt that two of Hawthorn’s match-winners, Lance Franklin and Sam Mitchell, were late withdrawals from the Hawks’ line-up.


That’s the spirit, I said. The beverages kept coming.


North missed some easy scoring opportunities in the first quarter while containing Hawthorn to only three scoring shots. The Roos led by nine points at the first change.


North then asserted some authority, as playmaker Brent Harvey began to find space and Corey Jones slotted a couple of majors. Both sides were wasteful with their use of the footy, repeatedly missing targets and turning over the ball. After half-time, North continued to punish Hawthorn’s errant disposal.


While the Roos kicked three goals for the third quarter, the Hawks kicked only one and trailed by 41 points at three-quarter time, at which point the game was pretty much over.


As the final quarter played out, it became clear that I was probably having a better time than most of those at Aurora. Some of the outlaws at the Oak became increasingly animated and provided more entertainment value than the footy. My father-in-law’s insistence on introducing his three baby grandchildren to the pub patrons while they were trying to get a bet on the seventh at Ballarat caused some hilarity from where I was positioned. Not sure the punters were overly amused, though.


The skill errors that littered the game did not make for a great spectacle. These mistakes were mitigated somewhat, however, by Jones’s stellar performance in booting seven goals in a career-best effort and Harvey’s dominance in the midfield.


Again the Kangas’ backline was resolute in keeping the opposition to a meagre 10 goals, with underrated performers such as Daniel Pratt, Shannon Watt, Brady Rawlings and Michael Firrito (before he hurt his hammer and tack at the start of the last quarter) holding sway.


The midfield continues to grow in stature, at least metaphorically, with players such as Daniel Harris and Jess Sinclair getting plenty of supply from big Hamish McIntosh. Full-forward Aaron Edwards elicited a roar from me and a couple of fellow party-goers with his impressive hanger over Hawthorn’s Stephen Gilham in the last quarter. His big ride over Gilham had me reminiscing about Phil “Snake” Baker’s iconic grab over Ian Paton in the 1978 VFL Grand Final and the titanic encounters that North and Hawthorn played throughout my childhood.


As the final siren sounded and North locked another win away to go to 12-5 and a clear second on the table, I dragged myself away from the screen and couldn’t help but stir up a couple of the Hawks supporters who had skulked off to the bar well before the end of the game. It’s been some years since a North supporter has had this much to look forward to in the last month of a season. The idea of congregating at a dilapidated Arden Street Oval to watch the team train for finals on a mild September afternoon (a vivid recollection from my youth) appeals greatly, especially given our predicament after three rounds.


No money, the fewest supporters in the competition, the lowest paid coach (apparently), and yet we’re games ahead of everyone bar Geelong. It’s turning out to be quite the season.



Hawthorn  1.2 3.6 4.11 10.11 (71)

Kangaroos  2.5 8.7 11.10 16.12 (108)



Kangaroos: Jones 7, Petrie, Sansbury, Whyman 2, McIntosh, Edwards, Harvey.

Hawthorn: Croad, Dowler 2, Roughead, Hodge, Dixon, Vandenberg, McGlynn, Young.



Kangaroos: Jones, Harvey, McIntosh, Harris, Firrito, Archer.

Hawthorn: Hodge, Bateman, Crawford, Lewis, Young, Sewell.



Tuck (Hawthorn).



McInerney, Ryan, K. Nicholls.



Jones (K) 3, Harvey (K) 2, McIntosh (K) 1.



Harvey (K) 3, Hodge (H) 2, McIntosh (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. 13 years? It seems like a lifetime ago.

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