The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 2 – Brisbane v St Kilda

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!



Brisbane v St Kilda

7:40pm, Thursday April 5

The Gabba


by Tony Roberts



IN AN INCREASINGLY RARE EVENT in the Brisbane Lions’ post-premiership era, the Lions had the undivided attention of the national AFL television audience on this Holy Thursday night. A week after giving Clark Keating the send-off he had to have, the Lions chose this occasion to farewell their all-time champion, Michael Voss, and to unveil a vigorous pride of successors.


In 2003, in league with Channel Nine and The Ubiquitous Eddie (who’d briefly paraded the conceit that Collingwood could bring down Brisbane’s dynasty of the early 21st century) the Lions had added this marquee match to sport’s ballooning list of instant traditions. After two reality checks, Collingwood prudently withdrew from the fixture and, in 2005, the AFL passed the baton to Victoria’s next Greatish White Hope, St Kilda. What set the 2007 fixture apart from previous occasions was that the fancied Saints were hunted, gathered and devoured not so much by Brisbane’s premiership veterans (a.k.a. captains) as by an emerging pack of Lion cubs.


Jonathan Brown’s five goals from as many shots was the leading indicator of a rapid improvement in the Lions’ overall conversion rate, and Simon Black and Luke Power were busy as usual. But on this night, all were less influential than the creatively desperate Jed Adcock in defence and Cheynee Stiller in the middle. (Speaking of whom, is there a middle name you can use, Cheynee?)


Beyond doubt, though, the match was decided by Michael Rischitelli. From Keilor, not far beyond Essendon on Melbourne’s north-western outskirts, Rischa was picked by Brisbane at No. 61 in the 2003 national draft after all other scouts had deemed him injury-prone. (Suffer, Bombers!) I’ve had my eye on him for over two years now, since his first two acts in league football were goals from free kicks won in tackles, one of them on Brownlow Medallist Mark Ricciuto. It’s true that Rischa’s career has subsequently been retarded by the injuries that attend his collision style of play, but now it looks like pay-off time. Against St Kilda, he dominated all of the grunt statistics (tackles, hard-ball gets, clearances, etc.) and then distributed the ball to telling effect. Three of his 18 first-half possessions set up the goals that broke the Saints rope as early as the long break.


And for the second match in a row, all of the Lions defenders (of whom only Robert Copeland has finals experience) applied the fire blanket, this time to a much more potent attack than Hawthorn’s. Justin Koschitzke looked threatening on occasions, but allowed Jared Brennan to roam unchecked to cause much damage, only some of it to Brisbane. Adcock confined the irritating Stephen Milne to one goal and a popular miss; Cro-Magnon Man Fraser Gehrig returned an appropriately piddling 0.1; and Robert Harvey’s 0.0 reminded us all of the contribution of his great-uncle Neil Harvey over two innings against Jim Laker at Old Trafford in 1956. Pray that Robert’s impending retirement will be less churlish than Neil’s. (“Fings hain’t wot they used to be, mate!”) The Saints need Saint Nick and the not-so-saintly Aaron Hamill back in a hurry.


I usually come to Lions matches to bury Brisbane’s key defenders Brennan and Daniel Merrett; more performances of this quality and I must soon praise them. Colm Begley silenced Harvey in only the young Lion’s fourth senior AFL match. Begley is already putting in a strong bid for international-rules selection for Ireland, should that series ever be disinterred.


Mind you, based on the past actions of Chris Johnson, Brad Scott and Aka, Begley might expect to cop a whack from a Lions’ teammate at Croke Park. Are the doormen at the Irish Club in Brisbane’s Elizabeth Street notably obstreperous? Or, in his days as Bears and Lions No.1 ticket-holder, did the then Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane, Peter Hollingworth, sermonise our boys to smite the ungrateful Papists and Fenians?


The unheralded young Lions flogged a contender in front of a massive national television audience, and they may just sneak up on a few more.




BRISBANE     2.4     7.7    11.11    15.12 (102)

ST KILDA       2.3     3.4    6.6       7.8 (50)



Brisbane: Brown 5, Sherman 3, Black, Patfull 2, McGrath, Stiller, Johnson

St Kilda: Koschitzke, Fiora 2, Milne, Montagna, Birss



Brisbane: Rischitelli, Adcock, Stiller, Merrett, Black, Power, Brennan

St Kilda: Gram, Fiora, Dal Santo


Crowd: 28,266



For more Round by Round reports of the 2007 season click HERE


If you want a printed copy of the 2007 edition of the Footy Almanac, they can be purchased HERE.




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