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The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 18 – Melbourne v Sydney: A haphazard trip to Manuka

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!



Melbourne versus Sydney

1.10pm, Sunday, August 5

Manuka Oval, Canberra



MY REQUESTS WERE MINOR: INTERNET ACCESS AND PAY TV. Sadly, that’s all I need for a couple of days in the snow. Whereas my wife, she’s more difficult, she wants snow.


I packed my computer, she packed my coat, I forgot my jumper, and off we went on this miserable Sunday, a day when a very injured Melbourne would host the Swans at Manuka Oval and I would freeze on Lake Mountain.


Why Manuka? I guess someone at the Melbourne Football Club thought they would be able to tap into that famous dormant Demon support base there. They were wrong.


They should have asked the AFL to play the game in the snow. That’s where the Melbourne fans had gone this winter – and Melbourne would have had a better chance of winning on white ground.


I was extremely confident and plonked a substantial amount of money on us to win by more than 39.5 points at $1.70. Melbourne was without Cam Bruce and Travis Johnstone and Russell Robertson was a late scratching. They’re fairly big outs for a team that was struggling and we had had a pretty easy run of late and we play Canberra well.


I’ll take the short odds and the money any day (and don’t tell my wife, but I was hoping to get out of this weekend for free).


They slug you at every turn in the snow. You can be just driving along and suddenly there is a hut with a “Parks Victoria” sign on it and they say give us some money.


I said, “Hang on a minute, baby.”


The radio was crackling and barely audible. It was near the end of the first quarter. Nick Davis had just slotted one and we were five straight to two points. The bet was home.


I said, “How much? Thirty bucks?! Sweet.” We were off to see snow for free.


At the end of the first quarter, Melbourne had managed just two points and the Swans were 29 points up.


To be fair, we were kicking with the breeze, a decision Byron Pickett made for us. Byron was playing his 200th game and Melbourne had, curiously, made him captain for the day.


We didn’t know it then, but these two decisions were silently brewing a storm in a very small tea-cup.


After the game, when caretaker coach Mark Riley was asked why Byron chose to kick into the wind, he said, “It might have been an indigenous feeling… ”


What was he suggesting? Was he saying Byron buggered it up because he was Aboriginal?


Later that day, Melbourne chairman Paul Gardner was forced to defend Riley. “It was a throwaway line, there was nothing in it,” he said and Riley came out the following day and said he was hurt and offended that anyone could think he would make any sort of racist remark.


The little storm blew away but there was nothing about this day that would help Riley’s chances of keeping the job next year.


Melbourne added three with the wind, the Swans banged on another five, Amon Buchanan, Adam Schneider and Adam Goodes (who seems to love the hard Manuka ground) were burning.


With a 43-point lead at the main break, my mind drifted and I started thinking about all our dud players. We are a bunch of hacks.


Buchanan was pick 52 in the draft and we dumped him and picked him up again with pick 45. Schneider was pick 60. Goodes was pick 43. Brett Kirk was elevated from the rookie list. Nick Malceski (who has been awesome this year and could be up for All-Australian selection) was pick 64. Ryan O’Keefe was pick 56.


These guys are duds.


Not to mention rejects like Craig Bolton, Darren Jolly, Nick Davis, Barry Hall (who is seriously hopeless this year and was badly beaten by Nathan Carroll) and Spida. Oh yeah, and there’s another guy who grew up in Ireland playing Gaelic football.


Hacks, I tell you.


The Swans blew it out to ten goals in the final term. Melbourne were insipid. They were wounded, they were playing a home game in Canberra before a pro-Swans crowd, they were playing for nothing. Even when they had every player (except two) in our forward fifty we were still slotting them.


Pick 45 to pick 43 to pick 60, through the corridor to pick 56, goal.


We booted 17, Melbourne kicked a couple of late ones, we won by 48, Hall, O’Loughlin and Davis could manage only three between them, the duds did the rest and I was cashed up.


We put the boy to bed (he hated the snow) and we had a nice bottle; thanks Duds… I mean Bloods.



Melbourne  0.2 3.4 5.5 9.10 (64)

Sydney  5.1 10.5 14.9 17.10 (112)



Sydney: Jolly, J. Bolton, Buchanan, Schneider, O’Keefe 2, Hall, O’Loughlin, Malceski, Davis, Goodes, Ablett, Grundy.

Melbourne: Holland 3, Davey 2, Neitz, Miller, Newton, Jamar.



Sydney: Buchanan, Goodes, C. Bolton, Everitt, Bevan.

Melbourne: Carroll, Holland, Jones, Brown.



Pickett (Melbourne) 200 games.



James, Kamolins, Meredith.



Schneider (S) 3, Buchanan (S) 2, Goodes (S) 1.



Goodes* (S) 3, Malceski (S) 2, Jones (M) 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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