The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 18 – Brisbane v North Melbourne: Brown turns the tables

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 www.footyalmanac.com.au. Follow the season!

 

 

Brisbane Lions versus Kangaroos

7.15pm, Saturday, August 4

The Gabba, Brisbane

by ANDREW STAFFORD

 

WHAT A DIFFERENCE HALF A SEASON MAKES. When these sides last met in Round 4, it hardly looked likely to be a match played by finals contenders. That night, the Kangaroos exulted in their first win of the year; the Lions, who had started 2007 brightly, would soon be in free fall.

 

Since then the unfancied Kangaroos – widely tipped for the wooden spoon – had won 12 of their 14 games and sat clearly in second place on the ladder. The Lions, for their part, hadn’t had a win between Round 7 and Round 13 before roaring back with an extraordinary upset of West Coast in Subiaco. They hadn’t lost since.

 

In the end, this match didn’t quite live up to its billing, resembling a game of kick-to-kick at times as both sides repeatedly turned the ball over. Still, the Lions prevailed in convincing style, hauling their way into the eight with a display that highlighted the reasons for their improved form.

 

Halfway through the season, the Lions changed their training regime. Having protected themselves in the wake of an injury-ruined 2006, sessions became tougher and more physical. There were also personnel and positional changes: Jared Brennan was thrown forward; Joel Patfull back; Jed Adcock into the midfield.

 

Young Rhan Hooper, who had to be coaxed back to the club after walking out during the pre-season, was forgiven and reinstated. It was a good move. Hooper is a player in the Aaron Davey mould, a lightning-quick forward with great defensive skills. Joel Macdonald came back from a knee reconstruction. And Justin Sherman was dropped.

 

But the biggest reason for the Lions’ rise is the return to form and fitness of Jonathan Brown. The man who should be the most dominant player in the competition has almost never strung a full season together. Kept in cotton wool, he has taken time to put it together in 2007. Now, he has his foot back on the accelerator.

 

On the scoreboard, Brown was the difference on the night. He kicked six goals and his unfortunate opponent Michael Firrito may not know whether to be thankful or embarrassed that he also sprayed six behinds. Firrito is a handy player and didn’t actually do a terrible job. He was simply outgunned.

 

As good as Brown was, though, he was the beneficiary of the Lions’ transformed efforts one-on-one. A remarkable 85 tackles for the night told the story. Simon Black – who otherwise had his colours lowered by Brady Rawlings – laid 14 of them; Luke Power another 12, Hooper another seven.

 

The Kangaroos didn’t know what hit them. Drew Petrie’s solitary behind from a shot on the boundary line was all they could manage in the first quarter and, while the Lions had been inaccurate, in hindsight they already had the game sewn up.

 

Jamie Charman was winning his all-important ruck dual with Hamish McIntosh as Nigel Lappin, Power and Adcock dominated the clearances. Patfull shut the dangerous Corey Jones out of the game in defence; Daniel Merrett restricted Petrie; Brennan and Hooper proved elusive and creative in attack. And so it went.

 

The most intriguing individual battle was between Kangaroos playmaker Brent Harvey and the Lions’ chief stopper Troy Selwood. Harvey recovered from a slow start to be the most prolific ball-winner on the ground, but went goalless and was far less damaging overall than in recent weeks.

 

The Kangaroos had their chances to get back into the game. Aaron Edwards and Shannon Grant brought them closer with the first two goals in the second quarter, and although Brown responded with two of his own, he also hit the post on the siren for his fourth behind of the first half.

 

In the end, it was the unlikely form of Wayde Mills who broke the game open for the home side. It would be putting it politely to say Mills kicks like a defender and indeed he has spent most of his handful of AFL games in the backline. He can take a big grab, though, and his second goal late in the third term had the Lions out by 30.

 

It was always going to be too much for the Roos from there. Having so gamely recovered from the loss of Nathan Thompson to consistently post solid scores with attractive and attacking football, on this night they couldn’t find a viable option. They’d won their last five, so perhaps they were due a lull.

 

But along with the points to the Lions goes the credit. They were tougher, harder and quicker than the Kangaroos and are clearly building. Bereft of confidence mid-season, they now look better balanced, better drilled and better bets – at least for next year, if not this.

 

And having Jonathan Brown in the side sure doesn’t hurt.

 

 

Brisbane Lions  3.5 5.10 7.14 10.17 (77)

Kangaroos  0.1 2.6 4.7 5.10 (40)

 

GOALS

Brisbane: Brown 6, Mills 2, Macdonald, Brennan.

Kangaroos: Edwards, Grant, Sansbury, McMahon, Wells.

 

BEST

Brisbane: Brown, Adcock, Lappin, Charman, Brennan, Notting.

Kangaroos: Harvey, Rawlings, Green, Harris, Sinclair, Simpson.

 

MILESTONE

Adcock (Brisbane) 50 games.

 

UMPIRES

Allen, Wenn, Woodcock.

 

OUR VOTES

Brown (B) 3, Adcock (B) 2, Harvey (K) 1.

 

BROWNLOW

Brown (B) 3, Lappin (B) 2, Hooper*(B) 1.

 

CROWD

29,233

 

 

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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