The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 2 – Essendon v Fremantle: Dockers struggle to find their feet

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!


Essendon versus Fremantle


April 8, Sunday

Telstra Dome, Melbourne

Report by Les Everett

BEFORE THE SEASON STARTED most tipsters expected Essendon to be winless and Fremantle two-from-two by the conclusion of the second round. But after the Bombers beat the Dockers by 10 points in a high-quality encounter at Docklands, the reverse is in fact the case.


Essendon’s victory could be traced to two periods of dominance, the first in the opening quarter when the Bombers slipped out to a 22-point lead while the Dockers struggled to find their feet on a footy ground they just don’t like.


Pace was the key for the Bombers. Alwyn Davey, Angus Monfries and Andrew Lovett used their speed to chase down their opponents, and run away from them once they had the ball. But with Aaron Sandilands controlling the ruck, Fremantle were always likely to get back into the game. They actually got to a seven-point lead midway through the third quarter after some inspired play from key forwards Matthew Pavlich and Chris Tarrant.


That’s when Essendon’s second period of dominance kicked in. The Bombers scored four goals in the last five minutes of the quarter and went to the break with a 16-point lead.


Fine work by Scott Lucas and Matthew Lloyd put Essendon 22 points up in the last quarter but the dogged Dockers kept coming and kicked the last two goals of the game.


As the scores suggest, both forward lines were on top throughout.


Jason Laycock gave good support to Lucas, who kicked five goals, and Lloyd (four) as the Bombers combined speed and height in attack. Pavlich and Tarrant each kicked four goals to give Fremantle fans something to feel good about. The form of Paul Hasleby was another positive for the Dockers.


The umpires upset supporters of both teams, with former Bomber Dean Solomon coming in for particular attention. In the third quarter, Steve McBurney reported Solomon and awarded a down-the-field free kick (resulting in a goal to Lloyd). Umpire McBurney surely must have been embarrassed when he viewed the video. Later in the quarter, Solomon had a goal disallowed and a 50-metre penalty paid against him in puzzling circumstances.


I hope the subject of umpires won’t be visited too often this season. But two incidents in this match illustrate some concerns. In the second quarter, Fremantle’s Brett Peake was getting the hurry-up from an umpire when taking a kick after a mark. The umpire blew his whistle to indicate to Peake that he should get a move-on and Essendon’s Lovett, the man on the mark, went forward to tackle and was penalised 50 metres. Peake, who we later heard had a cracked collarbone at the time, kicked a goal. Communication is in question here: why not a request to hurry followed by a call to play on? The use of the whistle just confuses matters and players have enough to think about.


Also in the second quarter, Essendon’s Adam McPhee rose to pull in a spectacular defensive mark in the goal square – it was high, it was clean, it was lovely, it was one of the things we’re told make our great game great. So what did the umpire do? He awarded a free kick to the grounded Essendon player because Fremantle’s Ryan Crowley had grabbed him or pushed him – or something. That means McPhee’s mark doesn’t stand. What the umpire is saying in a situation like this is: “I’m the important one, I’m the one people come to see.” Umpires boss Jeff Gieschen needs to have a chat to his men.


This was a game of many highlights – among them a couple of runs by Lovett and a lovely tap-on by David Hille to Leroy Jetta, who raced away and kicked a goal on the run. However, a piece of play by Pavlich in the third quarter was unforgettable. A loose kick into the pocket sailed over Pavlich’s head. He chased it towards the boundary line and kicked it soccer-style back over his head into the arms of Tarrant, who sent a handball towards the goalsquare.


Pavlich, who had run back into play, fumbled the ball into the square and was grabbed and swung around by Mal Michael. Somehow Pavlich dropped the ball on to the outside of his right boot and scored a goal. Yet the effort was not deemed worthy of nomination for goal-of-the-round.


The message from this game is that Essendon will cause some problems in 2007, but you might expect some inconsistency. Meanwhile, if you backed Fremantle for the flag don’t throw your ticket away; just curse the fact that you’d get a much better price after round two than you did before the season.


Essendon 5.2 8.5 15.6 19.8 (122)

Fremantle 2.3 6.5 12.8 17.10 (112)



Essendon: Lucas 5; Lloyd 4; McVeigh 2; Hird, Monfries, Lovett, Slattery, Stanton, Laycock, Davey, Jetta.

Fremantle: Pavlich, Tarrant 4; Bell 2; Solomon, J. Carr, Hasleby, Crowley, Peake, M. Carr, Gilmore.



Essendon: Lucas, McPhee, Lovett, Stanton, Winderlich, Lloyd.

Fremantle: Sandilands, Pavlich, Hasleby, Tarrant, Browne, Grover.



Donlon, McBurney, McInerney.






Lucas (E) 3, Sandilands (F) 2, McPhee(E) 1.



Stanton (E) 3, Sandilands (F) 2, Lucas (E) 1.



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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About Les Everett

A Footy Almanac veteran, Les Everett is the author of Gravel Rash: 100 Years of Goldfields Football and Fremantle Dockers: An Illustrated History. He is the WAFL correspondent and uses the money he makes from that role to pay for his expensive websites and and fund the extravagant Vin Maskell at




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