The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 2 – Western Bulldogs v Adelaide: Dodgy Dogs chase crisp Crows

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!



Western Bulldogs versus Adelaide
Sunday, April 8
Melbourne Cricket Ground
by Christopher Riordan


FOR SOME EASTER HAS RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCE. For others it’s about camping. For me it’s always been associated with sport. Holiday periods were always busy in our household. Dad was a bookie. And in Adelaide that usually meant the Oakbank racing carnival.


Clearly I’m not alone. Iconic events are spread throughout the Easter weekend: the Bells Beach Easter Pro, the picnic race meetings across the nation, Sydney’s AJC Carnival, and – my highlight – the Stawell Gift. With nothing planned for this Easter, I turned to the MCG and my Western Bulldogs.


Until last year, playing Adelaide at the MCG was more Good Friday than Easter Sunday. That bloody goal umpire in the 1997 preliminary final, come to think of it, could be cast as Judas! Last year, however, the wounds were cleansed. A sensational Scotty West-driven and Adam Cooney-ignited come-from-behind victory in Round 20 got the Dogs back on track for finals action, and put the brakes on Adelaide’s premiership drive. But that was last year.


In the twilight zone of a 5.10pm start, the crowd was small and lifeless. The game had the atmosphere of a domestic one-day cricket fixture. A frantic opening brought five goals in the first 13 minutes. Accountability was a problem for the Dogs. They looked to be in big strife.


Last week, against Geelong, Brad Johnson marked everything that came his way. No Plan B was needed. In this match Plan A fell apart. From the outset, those traditional tormentors of the Bulldogs, Mathew Bode and Tyson Edwards, ripped the game away from the Doggies. They stopped their run and their flow. Andrew McLeod did as he liked. He just loves the MCG.


The Doggies’ neat, low, sideways chips may be effective on a Wednesday morning at the Whitten Oval, but against an efficient and well-drilled Crows they looked comedic. For a club built on a battler’s ethos the Bulldogs played like millionaires. They were playing on dodgy credit.


Adelaide had numbers everywhere. Their foot skills were fantastic. Whereas the Bulldogs looked for the soft switch from half-back, Adelaide kept opponents accountable at both ends and ran relentlessly through the midfield. Their tall forwards – Perrie, Bock, Welsh and Stevens – provided solid avenues and ultimately converted enough of their many opportunities.


The Dogs are vulnerable. While last week Geelong were unable to exploit the Dogs’ defence, Adelaide showed what a well-drilled team could do. This was a return to last year’s standards of excellence. After a bad loss to Essendon, Adelaide are back.


For the Dogs, the jury is out. It would be a leap of faith to believe they can make the top four. Electric and breathtaking are words rarely used for premiership sides. The Dogs may be appealing but sustained success needs stronger foundations. They were undermined at each end. In the midfield, Cooney, Boyd, Power and Co. just didn’t pick up their opponents. “Downhill skiing” was again a crowd catchphrase. There’s no doubt that Darcy, Murphy and Akermanis were underdone, but the game plan is massively flawed. Well-coached teams will exploit them.


Future opponents can thank Neil Craig for the blueprint to beat the Dogs’ game plan: man up, contest, hit targets, use tall options up forward. Whether other teams can implement these strategies will decide whether the Western Bulldogs finish low in the top eight or in the region to which they aspire.


Western Bulldogs 4.1 5.2 6.5 11.6 (72)
Adelaide 4.5 8.10 14.12 16.14 (110

: Higgins 3; Johnson, Cooney 2; Murphy, Boyd, Griffen, McDougall.
Adelaide: Welsh, Bock 4; Stevens 3; Perrie 2; Van Berlo, Bode, Reilly.


: West, Cross.
Adelaide: McLeod, Edwards, Perrie, Goodwin, Bode, Bock.


Akermanis (Bulldogs) 250 games, Eade (Bulldogs) 200 games as coach.

Grun, Head, Chamberlain.
(A) 3, Edwards (A) 2, Goodwin (A) 1.


(A) 3, Bock* (A) 2, Stevens (A) 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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