The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 21 – Fremantle v Melbourne: Giving a season a chance

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!



Fremantle versus Melbourne

2.10pm, Saturday, August 25

Subiaco Oval, Perth



IF YOU’RE INTERESTED IN FOOTBALL HISTORY then no game is ever meaningless. However some definitely mean more than others. The Round 21 meeting of Fremantle and Melbourne was at the lower end of the meaning, importance and interest scale.


A caretaker coach was guiding each team, clear evidence that the teams that met in a semi-final at Subiaco Oval in 2006 had gone backwards in 2007. The Demons had been destroyed by injury early in the season and never really recovered. The Dockers, widely tipped to be the 2007 premiers, had also been nudged off the rails by the unavailability of players, but cold reflection had led me to the conclusion their season was actually worse than it looked. Fremantle had beaten just three top eight teams: Adelaide (twice), Hawthorn and West Coast. And after steady improvement on the road under Chris Connolly, they won away from home just twice in 2007. There was something else too. In the away games against Collingwood and the Western Bulldogs they faced severely depleted opposition but still couldn’t conjure victory. The squad would need to be carefully examined.


The defence is good. Roger Hayden, Antoni Grover and Luke McPharlin would all have entered All-Australian discussions during the season. And the attack is full of menace, although it needs to be pointed out that the kicking of one of the stars, Chris Tarrant, is ridiculous. Fremantle’s main problems are pace and disposal, so an injection of players who can kick and are quick is urgently needed.


Anyway, back to the game. The Fremantle crowd was pretty subdued but luckily the fans had the chance to watch Troy Cook for the last time so that fired them up a little. Melbourne began the better with Jeff White controlling the ruck and the Dees were two goals up a couple of minutes from quarter-time. Two late goals from McPharlin, giving him three for the quarter, levelled the scores at the first break and provided a jolt to the surfacing confidence of the Demons.


Still, coach Mark Riley ran out on rickety knees to the Melbourne huddle, firm, it seemed, in his belief that an upset was possible. I played cricket with Riley for West Perth in the WACA third-grade back in the early 1980s. He was a talented youngster recovering from injury (a knee maybe) and went on to play first-grade with some success in the years to come. He didn’t go quite so far as a football player. His rise to a senior coaching position in the AFL, having not played a league game in the WAFL, has been remarkable, and should inspire others.


Riley’s prospects of extending his time in charge of Melbourne evaporated along with the game during the second quarter. The Demons lost direction, the Dockers surged. It was raining goals. Pinpointing exactly what happened is difficult, although Peter Bell was sensational and Matthew Pavlich took marks despite receiving an excessive quota of attention. Fremantle kicked nine for the quarter. Youngster Andrew Foster scored two. He has a bit of pace and his disposal looks sure.


Through the devastation of the second quarter one Demon remained resolute. Lynden Dunn had the task of tagging Paul Hasleby and even when he came off for a rest had the look of a man whose only purpose in life was to get the job done. Hasleby had little impact on the game. It was all over by half-time.


The highlight of the second half was a wonderful running goal from David Mundy, who looks like he’ll be a star one day. Melbourne battled it out and the Dockers only increased their half-time lead by 12 points.


At the end of the game Cook and fellow retiree Shane Parker ran a lap of the oval to say goodbye. Fremantle supporters have loved them both and with good reason.


I left unmoved. The Dockers continue to handle inferior opposition. There was still a mathematical chance they would play in the finals. But they’d have to be pretty good at maths and maybe apply a bit of calculus and I could never understand that.



Fremantle  5.4 14.6 18.7 22.12 (144)

Melbourne  5.4 6.7 9.13 12.13 (85)



Fremantle: McPharlin 5, Pavlich, Farmer 3, Peake, Foster 2, J. Carr, Solomon, McManus, Mundy, Tarrant, Gilmore, Bell.

Melbourne: Roberston 3, Neitz, Green 2, Miller, Newton, Pickett, Ferguson, Bode.



Fremantle: Bell, Pavlich, Mundy, McPharlin, J. Carr, Gilmore.

Melbourne: Brown, Dunn, Green, White, Robertson, Johnstone.



Donlon, Farmer, Nicholls.



Bell (F) 3, Pavlich (F) 2, Mundy (F) 1.



Pavlich (F) 3, McPharlin (F) 2, Bell (F) 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

About Les Everett

A Footy Almanac veteran, Les Everett is the author of Gravel Rash: 100 Years of Goldfields Football and Fremantle Dockers: An Illustrated History. He is the WAFL correspondent and uses the money he makes from that role to pay for his expensive websites and and fund the extravagant Vin Maskell at

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