The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 22 – Brisbane v Geelong: From hanging rock to minor premiers


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!





Brisbane Lions versus Geelong

7.10pm, Saturday, September 1

The Gabba, Brisbane



THE IN-LAWS WERE DOWN FROM QUEENSLAND ON THE WEEKEND. Whenever we have interstate visitors The Handicapper likes us all to go for a drive. She has a fascination with Hanging Rock, so we usually take the thermos and have lunch and a vanilla slice up there.


On Saturday it was sunny, but chilly, as we climbed the path to the top of the bluff. The Handicapper loves the mystery of the place; the ambience, the stirring of her imagination, the connection with a tragic Australian story. I love the view of the racetrack. I had G. Whateley’s commentary in my ear. He was trying to make Richmond and St Kilda sound interesting. He found a thread: it was Fraser Gehrig’s final game.


The drive back to Melbourne was pleasant enough but I was glad to get back home to ready myself for the Geelong-Lions game. We prepared a barbecue. As The Handicapper cut up tomatoes for the Greek salad I found myself watching the final quarter from Subiaco on TV. It was riveting. The Handicapper’s Dad and Mum are wonderful people, but they don’t get sport. They don’t know the language. Footy, especially, baffles them.


They don’t understand our depth of feeling for the game. How much there is a season of footy, a round of footy, a game of footy, a quarter of footy, a passage of play, a single act. How many people. How many stories.


It must have seemed odd to my father-in-law, a highly intelligent man, that tears were rolling down my cheeks as James Hird and Kevin Sheedy waved farewell. Who had his daughter married?


I was a bit tardy cooking up the souvlakis on the barbecue so by the time I’d brought them in the Lions-Geelong match had started. Normally I wouldn’t be so careless with time, but a little complacency can kick in when you’re clearly the minor premier and expected to beat the young Lions easily.


As I pulled the cork out of a Rockford Basket Press Matthew Stokes was nailing Geelong’s third. Already. Joel Selwood was having a blinder. He might be as good as Robert O’Callaghan’s famous shiraz. Selwood was the instigator, bringing others into the game like a Phys Ed teacher who is playing in an under 12 match to help the kids understand team footy. His left foot pass to Nathan Ablett was sublime.


For a moment the Gabba had the ambience of an Elizabethan theatre. When Corey Enright had his shorts ripped off in a tackle, howls of laughter could be heard through the effects mike. He played for a few minutes wearing his blue Speedos and a haven’t-you-people-been-to-the-beach look. Even Bomber Thompson laughed. It set the tone. This was a fun match. Men at play. The crowd, loyal to the end, had come to see their boys for the last time. And to see a flash Geelong outfit. The Cats have struggled at the Gabba over the years, but it looked like they were going to put on a show.


Matthew Egan had the better of Jonathan Brown in the first quarter. He read the flight of the footy and held his position in the contests. It was going to be the most interesting battle of the night, until just after the break when Egan looked to turn his ankle pretty badly. He hobbled off in obvious pain. This had a couple of effects. It sent Geelong fans into a depressive spiral, and it freed up Brown. Egan was gone for the night and we waited for the prognosis.


The Lions played with enthusiasm. Matthew Leuenberger showed promise again. Lappin was constructive, Adcock serviceable, and Black was having a real tussle with Ling. But just as the Lions looked like they’d get on level terms away went the Cats, playing the sort of open footy that the Lions played on the Gabba for years.


The Cats took control of the centre and their forwards enjoyed plenty of space. It was a picnic. Malcolm Blight realised there was nothing much left in the game and amused himself by thinking out loud. (“Who invented the jock strap?”)


With the steam released from the contest in the final quarter Brown thrilled his supporters with an authoritative display, booting four goals, to make it seven for the night. He showed all his tricks: the powerful chest mark, the strong mark over Scarlett and Milburn, the well-timed lead. But the Cats were just too good.


The appreciative Brisbane crowd applauded their young team off. Thousands of Geelong fans around the country applauded their TV sets, thankful for a terrific home and away season, and feeling better than ever about a finals series.


I was one of them.



Geelong  5.2 9.4 15.10 22.13 (145)

Brisbane Lions  2.1 6.6 9.10 15.13 (103)



Geelong: Mooney, Ottens 4, S. Johnson, Stokes 3, Chapman, Byrnes, Ling 2, N. Ablett, Kelly.

Brisbane: Brown 7, Copeland, Brennan 3, Adcock, Johnson.



Geelong: J. Selwood, S. Johnson, Ottens, Enright, Stokes, Ling, Milburn.

Brisbane: Lappin, Brown, Adcock, Stiller.



Grun, Wenn, Woodcock.



J. Selwood (G) 3, Lappin (B) 2, Brown (B) 1



Johnson (G) 3, Brown (B) 2, T. Selwood (B) 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 John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears (appeared?) on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three school-age kids - Theo, Anna, Evie. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst four. His ambition was to lunch for Australia but it clashed with his other ambition - to shoot his age.

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