The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 20 – St Kilda v Fremantle: Why Freo?

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!



St Kilda versus Fremantle

2.10pm, Saturday, August 18

Melbourne Cricket Ground



Freo Devo, Freo Devo, Fre-o De-vee-o/ Working in a coalmine way down low/ Even though our midfield is way too slow/ We are the Freo Dockers.


I NEVER KNEW THAT THE TYRANNY of the Nullarbor would extend to the lack of televised Freo action. Since moving to Melbourne the strategies for finding the Freo game on Foxtel had reached significant proportions. I’d go to pubs and generally have to drown my sorrows, such was the poor level of Freo’s form, only to return home with a missus looking for the rent money. I befriended people in the street where I live, and fished for any detail that the boys in orange had been around to hook up the cable. Finally I found a bloke called Steve – a Pies man and a police officer. Good bloke and generally up for a snifter. But he would always shake his head and ask, “Why do you barrack for these guys?” I had no comeback. Freo in 2007 had fired on as many cylinders as a Belarus tractor. The only thing I knew with certainty is that death and taxes would prevail and that John Winston would probably inflict both. I needed hope. Round 20 would provide it.


The run home had provided me with a glimmer despite Geelong giving us a good pizzling (an old shearing term where the shearing hand-piece slices off the animal’s flute) at the house of pain, Subi, in Round 17. This lulled everyone into a false sense of security as we did to the Toasters what was done to Debbie in Dallas. Then we kicked three shades of Sheedy outta the Bombers. Hope poured outta me like Jimmy Swaggart on Johnnie Walker.


To savour the Saint shellacking I’d even taken it easy on the sauce on the Friday. At last call I’d made 12 impromptu toasts to Neita and finished it off with a double meat with garlic sauce and chilli from the local kebab emporium. There is no doubt about it: Khan is a genius.


The next morning, to get the blood pumping, I hooked up the iPod to the stereo and hit shuffle. I love the shuffle. Like football it is one of the last bastions of chance. Then on it came with its simple chords, fat drum intro and catchy synthesizer – Devo’s Beautiful World. The great 1980s electro-weirdos with pop satire at its finest. “It’s a beautiful world we live in/A sweet romantic place/ Beautiful people everywhere/ See the way they comb their hair/ Makes me want to say …”. My political consciousness was piqued with that one song thanks to that great pre-Australian Idol rock-democracy Countdown.


I had a long shower, until my son reminded me of the water restrictions. I allayed his fears and said Mum could use the water to wash up the dishes. He looked at me like I was a guru – at least that’s how I recall it. I combed the beard, sprayed on a bit of Brut 33 and put on my freshly pressed purple flannello.


I met a colleague Bob Speechley at the bottom of the Spencer Street station steps. A gentlemen and a scholar, I first bumped into him socially at Gideon Haigh’s book launch earlier in the year.


St Kilda and Freo had everything to play for and similar runs home. They were fairly even in the match-ups but the big question was which side had turned up to play? The early signs were good for Freo. Farmer was marshalling the forward line. Like a chess player, he was pointing to where the pieces needed to go if the win was to come. McManus showed some dash and even Cook kicked a goal. It was tight.


The second quarter signalled danger for Freo as the G-Train was kicking truly, as were Dal Santo and Xavier Clarke. But Freo kept at it with The Wiz slotting two goals. One from a 50-metre penalty that was from a pantomime being adjudged a trip and another a mark over Gandalf Harvey. It was still tight until the G-Train slotted a goal deep in the pocket and then followed it up with another three minutes later.


Over a beer at half-time Bob and I peer out over Docklands and the sun is shining. Bob regales me with his life before academia and the Docklands before the vertical integration. The third quarter is a struggle as Freo make mistakes but not enough to suggest Clive is back in the side. Ah, the only player ever to take the greatest hangs since Jezza only to try and take them with his neck. Breaking point comes when Milne slots a goal at the 19-minute mark, 45 metres out on an angle that does not even permit light. A contender for goal of the year.


The other contender is suddenly on the deck and struggling. Farmer is gone and like the first 12 matches of the year Freo battle to find any cohesion. Pavlich has been like Megan Gale: looking good but just doing cameos. Tarrant has hardly touched it. I should have left then and saved myself the blowout. Bob turns to me and utters, “They seem uninterested”. I shrug. We stay until the final siren and then retire to a public house around the corner. We get on the No. 55 tram and head home. He leaves me at Dawson St, West Brunswick. I hook up my iPod and seek out Beautiful World. I start to think.


I hope Khan has got the meat on.



St Kilda  4.3 10.5 16.10 19.12 (126)

Fremantle  4.4 7.9 10.11 14.12 (96)



St Kilda: Gehrig 8, Milne, Voss 2, X. Clarke, Montagna, Riewoldt, Fiora, Dal Santo, Blake, Baker.

Fremantle: Pavlich 3, Bell, Crowley, Farmer, J. Carr 2, Cook, Mundy, McPharlin.



St Kilda: Gehrig, Hayes, X. Clarke, Montagna,?S. Fisher, Blake.

Fremantle: J. Carr, Bell, Farmer, Pavlich, McManus.



Gram (St Kilda) 50 games



Vozzo, McBurney, Ellis.



Gehrig (St K) 3, X. Clarke (St K) 2, Bell (F) 1.



Gehrig* (St K) 3, Hayes (St K) 2, Dal Santo (St K) 1.






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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