The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 2 – Carlton v Geelong: On the board.

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!



Carlton versus Geelong

7.10pm, Saturday, April 7

Telstra Dome, Melbourne




ON A BEAUTIFUL EASTER SATURDAY NIGHT Geelong supporters trudged dutifully to the Dome in a familiar state of battered uncertainty. Having suffered a deflating loss in the opening round at the hands of the Bulldogs, we faced the improving Carlton.


True Geelong people are sensitive to the pain of others. In the queues at the turnstiles, strangers struck up conversations. “Who knows what will happen tonight?” a dear old Cats supporter said knowingly. It was what we were all thinking. We could win by ten goals. We could lose by ten goals.


All the talk was of young Tom Hawkins, son of Geelong favourite, Jumping Jack. Considered one of the most exciting prospects in years, Tom was making his debut. So was Travis Varcoe, in the celebrated No. 5 jumper. Some of us were resigned to thinking that if we did lose we were at least getting a glimpse into the future.


What unfolded was remarkable, astonishing and happily bewildering. In a scintillating performance the Cats played magnificent, free-spirited footy, trouncing Carlton by 78 points. Fans left rejuvenated, revitalised, hearts uplifted, hopeful again.


And it wasn’t just the performance of the side. It was the affirmation that Geelong’s family ties are important; that the footy club can be more than employer and footballer can be more than the professional who hocks his services. We need our team to mean something.


From the outset the Cats were sharp. David Wojcinski led the way. His take-them-on dash inspired his team-mates. They played with the belief that, if they took the instinctive first option, they could move the footy into the forward line so quickly that no one could stop them. They were right. They exploded in the opening minutes with goals to Nathan Ablett and Cameron Ling.


The Blues worked hard to stay in touch. The skipper Lance Whitnall drifted forward, received a clever knock-on from Brendan Fevola, and kicked a goal. It was one of the only contributions from either all night. Whitnall was terribly out of sorts and Fevola was kept goalless by Matty Scarlett.


Then Hawkins was sent on, to an almighty cheer. He is a bull of a lad with a floppy college-boy haircut. His first lead was strong and natural, resulting in an effortless mark. It’s a good sign when a young player looks uncomplicated.


The Cats squandered opportunities with poor kicking for goal but always threatened to break away. Which they did in the second and third quarters. Brad Ottens, relishing his time on the ball, and Mark Blake dominated the centre bounces. The Cats won clearance after clearance. Gary Ablett was in fine form, using the footy with McLeod-like creativity, setting teammates on their way. Particularly his brother, Nathan, who looked like a fair-dinkum tall forward. He is lighter on his feet this year, and his ability to recover the footy at ground level suggests a greater desperation. He led to the right places, sharing the open spaces with Cam Mooney, both of whom kicked five for the night.


If we weren’t happy enough at half-time, the opening eight minutes after the break had us shaking our heads. Five classy goals. The Abletts were on fire. Gary spotted his leading brother and went to him with a deft pass off the outside of his right foot. In a flash Nathan handballed to Mooney, who flew into goal. Minutes later Nathan snapped with his left for another.


Tom Hawkins settled in, booting three goals, and also helped Brent Prismall set up Travis Varcoe for another. Hawkins has a no-nonsense approach: if it’s out in front he just runs onto it and marks it. Cats fans hope for plenty of that. No doubt the Gaspars and the Glasses will pester him far more than he was pestered on this night.


Gary Ablett continued to dominate. When his blind handpass, from a scrimmage, lobbed in the arms of his sprinting brother, Nathan pumped another one through and the Cats led by 99 points. It was the moment of the game.


Apart from the efforts of Heath Scotland and Marc Murphy (who could have gone to the Lions under the father-and-son rule), the Blues struggled to counter the Cats’ brilliance. Carlton kicked the last four goals of the game.


In just a couple of hours everything was different at Geelong. The Cats looked so fast, demonstrating that speed is not just about the pace at which you run. It is also the quickness and assertiveness of decisions, and the precision of the handballs and the foot passes. The Geelong crowd celebrated the win, remembering the night of Tom Hawkins’ and Travis Varcoe’s debuts, and feeling blessed that the Abletts had chosen to follow their father to Geelong.



Geelong:  4.6 10.8 19.13 24.18 (162)

Carlton:  3.2 5.6 7.9 12.12 (84)



Geelong: Mooney, N. Ablett 5; Hawkins 3; G. Ablett, Varcoe, Ling 2; Ottens, Hunt, Selwood, Burns, Wojcinski.

Carlton: Betts 3; Fisher, Carrazzo 2; Walker, Murphy, Whitnall, Ackland, Stevens.



Geelong: G. Ablett, Wojcinski, N. Ablett, Scarlett, Ottens, Corey, Bartel.

Carlton: Scotland, Murphy, Walker, Gibbs.


DEBUTS:  Hawkins, Varcoe (Geelong).

UMPIRES:  Farmer, Kennedy, Hendrie.

CROWD 41,113


OUR VOTES:   G. Ablett (G) 3, Wojcinski (G) 2, Scarlett (G) 1.

BROWNLOW:  Wojcinski (G) 3, Corey (G) 2, Scarlett (G) 1.



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


2007 Footy Almanac



Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


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About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears (appeared?) on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three school-age kids - Theo, Anna, Evie. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst four. His ambition was to lunch for Australia but it clashed with his other ambition - to shoot his age.




  2. Paul Spinks says

    This was the match that grabbed my attention something different could be afoot. I was even moved to email the club and declare it the best team footy I had ever seen a Geelong side play.

    We fell away a bit in the next few weeks, but it was a precursor.

  3. I recall that match.
    I mused over the off-season that Geelong might well go backwards in response to reviews and the like, but when I watched this match I pegged them as serious contenders.

  4. Peter Fuller says

    My only recollection of the match was sensing how much easier the introduction for Tom Hawkins was compared to Carlton’s struggling newcomers. Tomahawk was fitting into a side where the more experienced players could look out for him, present him with opportunities and generally enable him to exhibit his talents. In contrast for the Blues it was every man for himself and how that showed. We were only five years into the era of penance for the arrogance of the preceding four decades, so although I went home licking my wounds, I didn’t realise there would be so many similar days and nights to endure.
    I certainly don’t claim to be as prescient as Paul and Smokie. Then again playing against Carlton at this time made even mediocre teams look good, so grading the winners was inevitably difficult.

  5. John Butler says

    2 goals to Carrots Carrazo and we still lose by 13!

    Just seeing the name Cain Ackland among the goal kickers sends a shiver up my spine.

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