The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 20 – Brisbane v Sydney: Brown saves a season

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!

 

 

 

Brisbane Lions versus Sydney

7.15pm, Saturday, August 18

The Gabba, Brisbane

ANDREW STAFFORD

 

COMETH THE HOUR, COMETH THE MAN: in the dying minute of a match that had come to life after three mind-bendingly tedious quarters, Lions champion Simon Black won possession at a stoppage, broke clear and drove the ball to the Lions’ fifty, where Jonathan Brown took a contested mark.

 

There were 25 seconds remaining. Brown was on a tight angle, kicking from 55 metres and, while he can’t have known exactly how much time remained, he would have known it was damned close. The Swans were a goal clear and had been trying to ice the clock. With the Lions’ season on the line, Brown blasted away.

 

He kicked it, of course. Few others could have hoped to. The ball was returned to the centre, but the final siren was sucking the air from everyone’s sails the instant the ball was bounced. The match was drawn. Brown had kicked four, three in the last quarter, to keep the Lions’ flame flickering in the most improbable fashion.

 

Until then, it had all gone more or less to plan.

 

The Swans, who have had the better of the Lions for some years now, had played dour, ugly football to grind out a 17-point lead by three-quarter time. Brett Kirk had limited Black’s influence, Craig Bolton was fighting a marvellous battle with Brown, and Adam Goodes was unstoppable regardless of who played on him.

 

It had taken the Swans 20 minutes to post their first goal – a set shot from a tight angle by the deadly Nick Davis – but by then they had asserted their superiority, putting extreme pressure on the Lions’ ball carriers to deny them any system going into attack.

 

But the Swans kept the Lions in the game by virtue of their inaccuracy. Despite keeping the Lions to a single score in the first quarter – a fine running shot by Richard Hadley – the Swans managed just 2.4 of their own. Most of the misses were set shots taken from marks inside fifty. It was a dismal return for such domination.

 

Big, bad, bumbling Barry Hall was the most culpable. He played better than he has for some time, but kicked 1.5 for the night. At the other end, Brown’s night progressed much like his season: from solid to sensational. Hall may be big and bad, but a fit and firing Brown is bigger, and far better.

 

It wasn’t Brown, though, who dragged the Lions back into the match. Teenage ruckman Matthew Leuenberger, forced to step up after Jamie Charman limped off with a calf injury late in the first quarter, seized his opportunity, taking on Peter Everitt and Darren Jolly and winning.

 

Leuenberger’s influence around the stoppages and agility around the ground was vital, bringing Lions prime movers Nigel Lappin, Luke Power and Jed Adcock into the contest. Adcock’s three-bounce run through the centre to deliver lace-out to the leading Brown was a rare match highlight; it levelled the scores late in the first half.

 

The third quarter was a disgrace, both sides going behind for behind in an appalling display. It was strange, almost lifeless football.

 

The Swans, however, know nothing if not how to time a run. A late goal to Ben Mathews, then another to the underrated Nic Fosdike after the siren, saw the Swans turn for home with the kind of margin that should have been worth six goals in a low-scoring game. Instead, the Lions came again.

 

First it was Chris Johnson, running into an open goal to kick his second for the night. Brown got on the end of another. Robert Copeland, reborn as a defensive-minded forward, wheeled around on the Lions’ fifty to kick a third (off just one step). The quarter was four minutes old and the Lions had squared the game.

 

It was dour, scrapping stuff after that, the Swans all force and no finesse. In the 26th minute, Kirk snapped truly, ending an interminable passage where the ball had been driven rugby-style towards goal. It capped a fine game for Kirk, and his side went into lockdown mode, only to lose possession.

 

In the end it was Kirk’s opponent Black who broke free of that final stoppage with the ball in his hands, looking up and already knowing Brown was on the charge.

 

The Swans’ previously indomitable will looks shaky; the Lions, for their part, are still rebuilding their reserves of self-belief. A draw was probably the right result.

 

 

Brisbane Lions  1.0 3.1 4.7 8.15 (63)

Sydney  2.4 4.7 6.12 9.9 (63)

 

GOALS

Brisbane: Brown 4, Johnson 2, Hadley, Brennan, Copeland.

Sydney: Schneider 2, Davis, Hall, O’Keefe, Mathews, Fosdike, Kirk.

 

BEST

Brisbane: Brown, Adcock, Lappin, Leuenberger, Notting, Stiller.

Sydney: Goodes, C. Bolton, Buchanan, Kirk, Fosdike, Richards.

 

DEBUT

Barlow (Sydney).

 

UMPIRES

James, Rosebury, Ryan.

 

OUR VOTES

Brown (B) 3, Goodes (S) 2, Adcock (B) 1.

 

BROWNLOW

Brown (B) 3, Goodes* (S) 2, Leuenberger (B) 1.

 

CROWD

33,077

 

 

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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