The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 22 – Melbourne v Carlton: The Kreuzer Cup

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 www.footyalmanac.com.au. Follow the season!

 

 

Melbourne versus Carlton

5.10pm, Sunday, September 2

Melbourne Cricket Ground

CHRISTIAN MOONEY

 

IT HAPPENS AFTER A RELATIVELY STOCK STANDARD mark and goal by Melbourne’s most consistent under-achiever Brad Miller. Although the result has been decided by the 25-minute mark of the final term, only now does the celebration begin. Only now does the cheer squad erupt in their laborious chant.

 

Da da da da daar. Da da da da daar. DadadadadadadadadaDADADAWearetheNavyBlues…

 

As the match goes on, peripherally now, I turn to the contingent of Chinese visitors, guests of the Melbourne Football Club introduced before the match. I feel for them. Seeing a game of Australian football without instruction is difficult enough. Imagine the confusion of watching the supporters of the team getting slaughtered celebrating as if it was Chinese New Year! Or maybe they understand this more than me. For this is socialism (albeit football socialism) at work after all. Betts kicks his fifth – no one cares. On this Fathers’ Day (promise I’ll remember next year, Dad), much of my attention during the first half was on a father and son sitting in the next bay. Whenever Carlton goaled the teenager would wave his flag energetically. When Melbourne goaled however, the two would hold a massive collection of A4 sheets, taped together, with typed, bolded letters exclaiming MATTHEW KREUZER IS OURS.

 

The duo had much sign-holding to do in a mundane opening stanza. Michael Newton put the Demons five goals up only 17 minutes in. When Russell Robertson kicked his third, the lead was 40 points. His obvious opponent wasn’t even on the field. Jason Saddington, dropped in the middle of his best patch since crossing to Carlton, looked on from the grandstand. If the match was not a foregone conclusion before it started, it was now. The match had one asset: every player had license to fly for speccies.

 

Travis Johnstone gathered possessions in a way that illustrated the need for Comrade Demetriou to ban players choosing themselves as captain of their own AFL DreamTeam. He had 14 uncontested first-term possessions as he cleaned up the Carton’s poor delivery into their forward line. For Blues fans, the quarter was noteworthy for the precise passing of Marc Murphy and the opening goal snapped beautifully by Bryce Gibbs. The synergy was palpable. Next year Carlton will unveil a ruck division made entirely of No. 1 draft picks.

 

Carlton supplemented the traditional tanking technique of playing young players not ready for AFL football with the innovative approach of inaccurate goal-kicking. They kicked 4.13 in the first half. It was here that Lance Whitnall finally showed a hint of on-field leadership. By half-time he had contributed 0.4, one out on-the-full and one which failed to make the distance from 45 metres. If his marking and movement inside the forward arc was cause for optimism, the lack of penetration in his kicking was cause for major concern.

 

As the second half dragged on, it was hard to determine where these sides are placed on the football spectrum. The farce of the priority pick system has placed a disproportionate emphasis on the effect of their ineptitude, rather than its cause. If Melbourne lacks class, it lacks far more in commitment. Enforcers Brock McLean and David Neitz, like many of their teammates, have both been inhibited by injury in 2007, but the Dees need to replace the hardness of retirees Nathan Brown and Byron Pickett. No matter how impressive he has been, it is a worry that second-year player Nathan Jones may win Melbourne’s best and fairest.

 

As for the maligned Blues, there were some positives. Eddie Betts played his best game for the club – moving into the midfield in bursts like Leon Davis has started to do at Collingwood. Paul Bower showed composure at half-back, Michael Jamison made 13 spoils on Robertson and beanpole Shaun Hampson has an impressive leap. They will soon beat teams other than Essendon.

 

As the last three minutes of this ludicrous match was played out, the father and son brought their sign into the cheer squad. “We Got Kreuzer, Melbourne is the Loser,” they chanted, again and again.

 

I used to despise Carlton. As an eight-year-old obsessed with statistics, I hated that they had won more premierships than Essendon. On the day whose name we dare not speak, I hated that Carlton supporters were unfazed whether they would win the 1999 Grand Final – content that Essendon would not.

 

I realise now my sole feeling toward the Carlton Football Club is pity. Speak all you will about using a draft system open for exploitation, there is something intrinsically wrong, distasteful even, in watching a loss celebrated. Carlton can only hope that Northern Knights ruckman Matthew Kreuzer turns out to be the saviour the Blues are longing for.

 

I hope he is, too. I want to hate Carlton again.

 

 

Melbourne  7.3 12.6 16.11 21.13 (139)

Carlton  1.7 4.13 10.15 15.18 (108)

 

GOALS

Melbourne: Robertson 6, Bate, Newton, Bruce, Bode 2, Jones, Miller, Johnstone, Brown, Pickett, White, Ferguson.

Carlton: Betts 5, Gibbs, Houlihan 2, Walker, Kennedy, Simpson, Whitnall, Hampson, Waite.

 

BEST

Melbourne: Johnstone, Robertson, Brown, Bate, Jones, Green, Bode.

Carlton: Betts, Scotland, Gibbs, Houlihan, Bower, Walker.

 

DEBUT

Austin (Carlton).

 

UMPIRES

Nicholls, Kamolins, Ellis.

 

OUR VOTES

Johnstone (M) 3, Betts (Carl.) 2, Robertson (M) 1.

 

BROWNLOW

Johnstone (M) 3, Scotland (Carl.) 2, Brown (M) 1.

 

CROWD

26,156

 

 

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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