The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 21 – St Kilda v West Coast: No Judd, no worries

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 West Coast

7.40pm, Friday, August 24

Telstra Dome, Melbourne



SOME WOULD SAY THAT ROUND 21 is better than finals because each game carries intense interest for many tribes. On this Friday night, Port, Kangaroos, Collingwood and Hawthorn needed the Saints to help their own hopes for a top four finish. Arrayed in opposition was the Coalition of the West – Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Essendon and the Bulldogs.


There’s a little Heisenberg – the physicist and champion of the observer effect – in every football supporter. We think that by watching the game, we can affect the outcome. So, as an Adelaide-supporting member of the Coalition of the West, the only support I could offer my new-found favourite team was delayed, and televised.


The first quarter started cautiously. Riewoldt displayed a rubber chest and was left lumbering in Adam Hunter’s wake. The early pressure came at the St Kilda goal front and Brett Voss delivered the first goal. Riewoldt reached 0-3 with a doomed pass to Gehrig instead of taking responsibility for the running shot.


Quinten Lynch opened for the Eagles courtesy of a perfect pass from Wirrpanda. Outside fifty, but for The Big Unit the fifty-metre arc is not a prompt to look for a lead; it is merely paint on the ground. Matt McGuire looked sadly mismatched.


Riewoldt came back with some decisive plays, typically graceful and courageous. Jason Gram was everywhere with poise and accuracy. The Saints defence had little to do – and that, perhaps, was the great unknown of this game.


The Eagles looked surprisingly slow and were not pressuring the Saints runners. They certainly weren’t hitting targets. A margin of 28 points at quarter-time and the Saints had, it seemed, made a decisive surge. Thirteen Eagles had had one or two possessions. Worsfold appeared calm in the huddle – studied, persuasive. How does he do it? The Eagles opened with the first three goals of the second quarter. At the other end, though, Riewoldt kept on being Riewoldt. Aaron Fiora did what we all want to see from our small forwards – front and square, crumb, plant the foot, snap, goal. Leigh Fisher followed with a stunner from close to the fifty.


Cousins appeared now and then with a Voss-like 20 metre handball. He was acknowledged by the occasional boo from the St Kilda crowd. Ben spent an unusual length of time on the bench in that first half.


The only hope, it seemed, for the Eagles was the ease with which the next goal came – a Lynch mark, and goal from 50 metres. The Eagles’ forward movements were few but decisive. If they got going, St Kilda’s defence was not going to be adequate.


In the third quarter St Kilda lost their run, and control of the corridor. The Eagles had extra numbers at the contest. Neither side could hit a target. Arm wrestle time. The Eagles’ constant pressure won them possession. Cousins persisted; the booing was stifled as he moved the ball on before the Saints fans realised he had it. Matt Priddis simply exploded.


The result was a quarter of devastating intensity and a six-point Eagles lead.


A three-quarter time thought: where were the rucks? In the first half Matthew Clarke and Koschitzke could only hold their own against Dean Cox – but superior work at ground level gave the Saints the edge. In the third quarter the rucks again broke even, but the Eagles took the ball away. It was a game to make Robert Walls weep.


Seven minutes into the last quarter, the Eagles had two more goals for a 17-point lead. St Kilda persisted, with a last-quarter run that should earn their fitness coach a ticket on the end of season trip. By mid-quarter Aaron Fiora was kicking for the lead. He missed. The Saints trailed by three points.


The Eagles took it back to nine points with a goal from Rowan Jones after a 50-metre penalty for a slightly late and innocuous tackle.


Riewoldt replied. Lynch goaled from a ground-level crumb! Riewoldt missed from a range that Lynch wouldn’t blink at, but we forgive him as we would 638 other players. Eight points. Cousins and Judd were on the bench. We knew Cousins would be back. Judd, it seems, will be back in 2008.


One more goal each, and an eight-point win to the Eagles. Cousins made the last goal for LeCras with a bullet of a handball with just seconds to go.


I don’t like football dynasties. They sap the hope of 15 other tribes and make for predictable seasons. It was with no malice that I hoped the Eagles would continue to sputter through this season.


But what can you do against a team that can substitute Matt Priddis for Daniel Kerr?



St Kilda  5.5 9.8 10.9 14.14 (98)

West Coast  1.1 6.4 11.9 16.10 (106)



West Coast: Lynch 5, Wirrpanda, LeCras 3, R. Jones 2, Fletcher, Priddis, Hansen.

St Kilda: Riewoldt 4, Koschitzke 3, Gehrig 2, X. Clarke, L. Fisher, Voss, Ball, Fiora.



West Coast: Priddis, Lynch, Glass, Cousins, Cox, Wirrpanda.

St Kilda: Hayes, Riewoldt, Dal Santo, S. Fisher, R. Clarke.



McNamara (West Coast).



McBurney, Allen, McInerney.



Priddis (WC) 3, Riewoldt (St K) 2, Glass (WC) 1.



Priddis (WC) 3, Riewoldt (St K) 2, Cousins (WC) 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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