The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 21 – Adelaide v Brisbane: A near-perfect play amidst a sloppy display

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!



Adelaide versus Brisbane Lions

7.10pm, Saturday, August 25

AAMI Stadium, Adelaide



OCCASIONALLY ON THE FOOTBALL FIELD you witness a few seconds of such breathtaking beauty that you forget the sheer dullness of your club’s indifferent season; such beauty you might even forgive your obstinate coach.


Such a moment happened in the 26th minute of the first quarter at Football Park on this night. Adelaide’s Ben Rutten inched Brisbane’s Jonathan Brown out of the contest and flicked out the handpass to one of his backmen who was forward of the play. It was Graham Johncock, running through the contest, correctly predicting that Rutten would gain possession, and getting himself into the right position at the right time. Already moving at speed, Johncock took a few long steps and handballed it to Andrew McLeod, forward and wide, who was also running at speed. McLeod turned on the turbochargers for more long steps, maybe another 15 metres and handballed the footy to Jason Torney, who handballed it to Tyson Edwards, who handballed it to Brent Reilly.


By this stage, the ball had travelled the Stawell Gift distance from deep in the Lions’ eastern back pocket to the attacking side of Adelaide’s western wing – without touching the ground – in a few seconds. The ball was moved forward of the play each time, which was the only thing that distinguished this passage from a classic backline move in rugby. The remarkable thing is that no receiver was stationary; those Adelaide players found the perfect time and the perfect position in this snake-line of burning petrol. The opposition was left behind in its smoke.


Was there a happy ending? Reilly straightened, bombed long to the lead of Mark Ricciuto, who was awarded a soft free after someone planted their fingers in his back. Roo kicked a point.


This critical shootout, between two teams facing their last chance to make the final eight, was a highly-charged, but ultimately, laughable affair. In the third quarter, for example, the two teams had 184 possessions between them and maybe 40 attacks for a combined score of 6.13. That appalling inefficiency may suggest intense negating pressure in difficult conditions, but forget that. In the 26 points scored for the night, there were at least 10 fluffed goals from set shots. With no wind, and with these athletes trained to the minute, that level of inaccuracy made the code, at times, look silly, especially so late in the season.


Adelaide had an amazing 445 disposals in this game – 22 players reached double figures. Brisbane had 334. That’s 779 disposals (and 111 inside fifties) for 20 pathetic goals between them in perfect, early-spring conditions. That’s watching the best footballers in the country passing the ball around 40 times between each and every goal. And we say soccer is boring?


The marking stats indicated everything that is wrong with football at the moment – Adelaide 112, Brisbane 111 marks. Of those, Adelaide had 16 contested marks shared around 12 players, which is relatively high for them. Brisbane had four. Can you believe that? Four. Of those, Jonathan Brown took the lion’s share with two.


With so much activity on the ground, but so little contest, this game had cameos, rather than substance. Andrew McLeod played more forward than usual and that gave a new edge to Adelaide’s attack. Once, from the wing, and on the run, he sank a long 55-metre pass across the ground that sailed over 20 players’ heads into the pocket. Where on earth was he going? He, but no one else, saw Graham Johncock running forward. I swear that this glorious pass sucked Johncock into a contested mark. Stiffy arrived at the same time as the ball, rode high and held it. And, for once, kicked a goal.


Too little from Brisbane. Leigh Matthews went ultra-defensive with too many players trying to crowd Adelaide’s attack. In the turnovers, they had nowhere to go and became easy pickings for Adelaide’s superior midfield. And when Brisbane did manage to break through the barriers, their attack was too focused on Jonathan Brown. Rutten, once again, did him like a Sunday dinner.


Shirley closed down Simon Black; Goodwin and McLeod were more punishing than Luke Power and Tim Notting and Adelaide had more to aim for in attack, with Nick Gill emerging as an interesting (maybe even curious) X factor.


Like the Birdman, you never really know what’s going to happen with?Nick Gill. Like the Birdman, he still sprays his set shots (they shared 2.7 between them), but Nick has a faster recovery rate and a greater defensive side to his game than either Ian Perrie or Kenny McGregor. He keeps the ball in the area for a long time.


Adelaide may run out of chances next week against Collingwood, but Nick Gill hasn’t, for 2008. He took 10 marks in what was his fourth AFL game. That’s handy for someone who is 25 and still, really, an AFL baby.



Adelaide  3.2 6.7 10.13 12.14 (86)

Brisbane Lions  3.0 3.1 5.8 8.12 (60)



Adelaide: Bock, Goodwin 2, Burton, Gill, Edwards, Johncock, McLeod, Porplyzia, Thompson, Welsh.

Brisbane: Black, Copeland, 2, Brown, Clark, Notting, Stiller.



Adelaide: McLeod, Shirley, Reilly, Goodwin, Rutten, Gill, Johncock, Edwards, Thompson, Van Berlo.

Brisbane: Power, Stiller, Corrie, Selwood.



Stevic, Jeffrey, Goldspink.



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



McLeod (A) 3, Rutten (A) 2, Johncock (A) 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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