The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 18 – Adelaide v Port Adelaide: Craig trumps Chocco again

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!



Adelaide versus Port Adelaide

7.10pm, Saturday, August 4

AAMI Stadium, Adelaide



SHOWDOWN XXIII, ADELAIDE’S HOME DERBY, had a lame build-up early in the week. Once, these great South Australian games had a corporate sponsor that pumped dollars and expensive language into bouts which were described, year by year in ascending mega-terms – the clash of the decadethe clash of the centurythe ultimate game of the modern erathe ultimate game of all time. Thank god, really, that sponsor walked before it ran out of words.


Malcolm Blight, as a media player, now enjoys these local derbies but once he downplayed the significance of the Adelaide-Port clashes. “It’s just a game, just four points. I don’t rate these games as having any more meaning than any other round,” he often said as Adelaide’s coach, as he took a rough, unco-ordinated side to two premierships. Over his journey, Blight had a 3-3 record in the Showdowns. Adelaide were almost out of the finals race before Friday night’s draw between Western Bulldogs and St Kilda kept the Crows only half a game out of the eight. Port’s publicity during the week, expressed stupidly by a couple of its players, that their motivation was to cement a place in the top four and end Adelaide’s season, backfired dramatically.


It was a slippery night at AAMI Stadium with a steady low rain for the first three uncomfortable quarters in the exposed seats. And that’s where I sat, next to my beloved who, for reasons only known to herself, switched from a Norwood supporter in the old SANFL to a Port supporter when the Power entered the AFL. This was an Adelaide home game, but that didn’t stop her from making a complete pest of herself for three quarters as Port played superior football and peppered the scoreboard with exactly 3.1 per quarter to be 9.3 against a wasteful and woefully inefficient Adelaide’s 8.15 at the final break.


Mark Williams can’t work out Neil Craig. He’s better than par with nearly every other coach in the league, but against Craig, he’s now 3-6. There is something about Craig that makes Williams tighten up. I think it’s a class inferiority complex.


Craig is an offshoot of the Jack Oatey coaching gene in SA football and Williams is, of course, a gift from his father, Fos Williams. Those two men, more than any other coaches in the state, have set up the SA debate – class versus spirit or, to put this more crudely, pretty skills versus sheer guts. Or, to put it in a third way, method versus character. The historic battle between these two extremes has been the history of this state’s football and the debate still has much in reserve.


Adelaide came hard in the last quarter. Port had lost its second ruckman Dean Brogan in the warm-up before the game, and Brendon Lade, rucking all day, had run out of grunt. Adelaide won the first 16 clearances of that quarter and used Brett Burton as their forward focus. He had a superb term with 10 disposals, a couple of big marks and a couple of goals. The aged newbie Nick Gill was keen around the forward contests, also pulling in the big marks, but his woeful kicking let him down. Port had Kane Cornes tagging McLeod, which left Goodwin free to do the damage. Torney played wide, leaving his defensive zone to set up many attacks through the wing. Port were in disarray. Chad Cornes was thrown into the backline to stop the rot, which meant less firepower in the middle and in the Port attack. It was tumbling cards stuff. Adelaide, against the odds, won another tight Showdown by eight points. The home fans were screaming in the bleachers but both coaches were terse at the conferences. Craig thought that 9.19 wasn’t much to crow about and Williams was, well, once again, extremely pissed off that he couldn’t get a handle on this part of his history.


This was hardly a classic struggle of skills versus guts. It was more a case of Adelaide’s clangers versus Port’s petulance. It was a mighty contest but it was a dud game. It was one that history should forgive, and that the fans should forget.


Not every newborn baby chuckles with glee.



Adelaide 0.3 3.10 8.15 9.19 (73)

Port Adelaide 3.1 6.2 9.3 10.8 (65)



Adelaide: Burton, Torney 2, Edwards, Gill, Goodwin, McLeod, Welsh.

Port Adelaide: Ebert 4, Westhoff 3, S. Burgoyne, Motlop, Thomson.



Adelaide: Burton, Goodwin, Torney, Gill, McLeod, Edwards, Stevens.

Port Adelaide: Lade, P. Burgoyne, Ebert, Rodan, Westhoff, Thomson.



Cassisi (Port Adelaide) 100 games.



McBurney, McLaren, McInerney.



Goodwin (A) 3, Torney (A) 2, Burton (A) 1.



Goodwin (A) 3, Rodan (PA) 2, Edwards (A) 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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