The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 20 – Adelaide v Bulldogs: One door closes, the Crows’ opens

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 www.footyalmanac.com.au. Follow the season!

 

 

Adelaide versus Western Bulldogs

4.10pm, Sunday, August 19

AAMI Stadium, Adelaide

JOHN KINGSMILL

 

FOR THE SECOND TIME IN THREE WEEKS, a draw earlier in the weekend gave this last game of the round the significance no one thought it deserved. Both Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs have had indifferent seasons, with Adelaide deficient in the ruck and forward divisions and the Dogs realising that a lack of height on each line is a serious matter.

 

On a cloudless, still afternoon, the Dogs started strongly with early goals from quick centre breaks. The first slipped into Luke Darcy’s hands, when Ben Rutten was half a step out of position; the second was an easy goal to Steve Tiller, after Marty Mattner gave away a soft free kick.

 

The game settled into an unspectacular but familiar pattern of defence and counter-defence. Adelaide surged forward on many occasions through Chris Knights, playing from a defensive wing (under Craig this year, you sometimes wonder if there is any other kind of wing).

 

Andrew McLeod and Graham Johncock also mounted many attacks but Adelaide’s attacks were easily repelled and, when they did manage to climb over the last hill, were woefully inaccurate. Adam Cooney and Scott West did most of the damage for the Dogs.

 

It was raining points at Football Park, four from Adelaide and a couple from the Dogs, before Jason Porplyzia forced a turnover at the 14-minute mark, swung the ball over to Scotty Welsh who finally kicked truly for Adelaide’s first goal. Scotty gathered another one a few minutes later after a brilliant run from McLeod and a perfect long pass, 40 metres from goal.

 

Considering that his career was meant to be over a few years ago, when his knees were described as bone on bone, his running and long kicking are up there with the very best in the league.

 

After two goals each in the first quarter, we settled into the twilight gloom. The sky was still bright but the ground had slipped into shadow. It was an eerie sensation with the lights on against a blue sky, reminiscent of that hour of play in summer cricket in the day/night games, when the artificial light fails to cast a shadow. Sitting in the north-western pocket, the crowd on the end of the south- eastern diagonal was brilliantly illuminated by the setting sun, but I could barely see the players at the other end in the gloom. And the ball? Where is the ball?

 

Those at other end would have been staring into the last rage of the setting sun. They had no hope of following the play. If it was this tough for the crowd, what hope for the players? From clangers in the dark, many opportunities are conceived. Adelaide kicked 5.4 and the Dogs 5.1 in an untidy quarter.

 

That thief in the dark, Brett Reilly, had his best quarter with 15 disposals but Adelaide’s most consistent playmaker, Simon Goodwin, had none and Scott West, always a proficient gatherer, only had one.

 

Johncock was on Jason Akermanis, playing on the Dogs’ half-forward line. Once, Eade pulled Aka off for a rest, leaving Stiffy as a loose man in Adelaide’s defence. When Aka returned, instead of running to his attack position, he ran to the Adelaide end. While it seemed to be only a negating ploy by Eade, to allow both sides to have a 7-5 defence, there was some cleverness afoot. Inch by inch, Aka moved forward – dangerously unmanned. Two opportunities came, once in the second quarter and once in the last; both times, on long runs, Akermanis gathered the ball close to the boundary and kicked lovely long goals on the run.

 

That was good coaching by Eade but it wasn’t enough. Apart from the first few minutes, the Dogs were never really in it. Still, apart from the last ten minutes, when Adelaide kicked away with superior fitness and cleaner night skills, and a better appreciation of the Adelaide dew, the Dogs were never really out of it either.

 

That’s the curtain call for the Dogs. Adelaide has been playing for its survival for the last three weeks and they still need to beat Brisbane and Collingwood to make the eight. Oddly enough, this sort of weekly pressure echoes their lead-in to the finals in the Blight years.

 

 

Adelaide  2.5 7.9 10.14 15.17 (107)

Western Bulldogs  2.2 7.3 8.5 11.7 (73)

 

GOALS

Adelaide: Welsh 4, Thompson 3, Bock, Gill, Shirley 2, Porplyzia, Reilly.

Bulldogs: Darcy 3, Akermanis, Tiller 2, Eagleton, Giansiracusa, Higgins, Johnson.

 

BEST

Adelaide: Knights, McLeod, Reilly, Shirley, Welsh, Thompson, Gill.

Bulldogs: Boyd, Gilbee, Cooney, Cross, West, Eagleton, Akermanis.

 

MILESTONE

van Berlo (Adelaide) 50 games.

 

DEBUT

Meesen (Adelaide).

 

UMPIRES

Sully, Head, Wenn.

 

OUR VOTES

Knights (A) 3, McLeod (A) 2, Reilly (A) 1.

 

BROWNLOW

Thompson (A) 3, Goodwin (A) 2, Welsh (A) 1.

 

CROWD

41,437

 

 

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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