The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 22 – Port Adelaide v Fremantle: Mind games and a home route to the big dance

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!



Port Adelaide versus Fremantle

7.10pm, Saturday, September 1

AAMI Stadium, Adelaide



AT THE START OF THIS LAST MINOR ROUND, THE FORMULA WAS SIMPLE. Port and West Coast shared second spot on points with Port having a two-goal advantage in percentage. They only needed to beat Fremantle by 12 points less than West Coast’s winning margin over Essendon.


A few of us arrived early at Football Park, set up our barbecues in the carpark, pulled the tops off some bottles and, in the lovely sunset, settled in for what amounted to be two games in one. With a few hundred car radios broadcasting the last quarter of the Perth game, it was like listening to radio in massive stereo.


Each time Scott Lucas kicked one of his seven goals in that last quarter, the Port fans cheered deliriously, tooting their horns as if they were at a country footy game. Each goal, of course, brought Port closer to two home finals – and that golden path into a grand final for the travelling teams. Or, as Victorians like to call us, the interstate teams.


By the first bounce of this game, the margin no longer mattered. West Coast were lucky to survive for an eight-point victory which meant that Port merely needed to win their game to play the Eagles at Football Park next week. They looked as if they wanted to get it over quickly. Port’s usual suspects in the Burgoyne and Cornes boys, Dom Cassisi, David Rodan and Steven Salopek were on fire; the defence was solid through Thurstans, Wilson and Pettigrew and up front, Ebert, Motlop and Westhoff were dynamic.


Fremantle looked as if they were outclassed on every line of battle. Only Scott Thornton and Luke McPharlin in the backline managed to rack up some stats. This was not surprising, given how often Port attacked their goals.


Here was a massacre about to happen. I had $50 on Port 101+, figuring Mark Williams could rattle the West Coast mindset by sending Freo home in tatters. Wrong! Williams said afterwards: “If we had won by 20 goals, everyone would say that that was a soft game, that we weren’t ready for the finals.”


Port reached a game high lead of 46 points halfway through the second quarter after some brilliant work from Ebert and Shaun Burgoyne. The score was 8.7 to 1.3. Then the coach altered a winning structure with a bewildering number of rotations. The players, buggered after two hard games in the last fortnight, may have hit the wall early or they may have been confused. They stopped their forward run, fiddled around with tempo footy, began to wait for someone else to go into the contest and, to all observers, simply let Fremantle back into the game.


Freo went short, backwards and inside out, as they have for most of their history. It was infuriating to watch but by sucking Port down to their low level, they created three late goals in the second quarter. In the third quarter, Fremantle slipped into a better gear. Byron Schammer, Daniel Gilmore and Michael Johnson did the hard work; Matthew Pavlich, Farmer and McPharlin (switched from full back to full forward) made the conversions. Suddenly, at the 15-minute mark, when Shaun McManus kicked two goals within a minute, Freo were only six points out of it. Ten minutes later, if Matthew Pavlich hadn’t played on from 15 metres from goal on the angle and fluffed that shot, Freo could have hit the lead.


At the long break, Williams brought his squad to the eastern boundary in front of the Outer Army in Bay 132, a tactic he uses every two years in crunch games. He and the Army shouted at the players and they responded in the last, with full-out attack and a strong finish from Shaun Burgoyne in the goal square.


Mark Harvey said: “I think Mark was keeping a few things hidden tonight.” That’s not the worst message the Freo coach could take back to the Perth press.



Port Adelaide  4.7 8.7 11.9 17.15 (117)

Fremantle  12 4.7 10.11 12.13 (85)



Port Adelaide: S. Burgoyne, Westhoff 4, Motlop 3, Ebert, Rodan 2, Cassisi, Lade.

Fremantle: Pavlich 4, Foster, McManus 2, Crowley, Farmer, McPharlin, Mundy.



Port Adelaide: S. Burgoyne, K. Cornes, P. Burgoyne, Cassisi, C. Cornes, Chaplin, Rodan, Salopek.

Fremantle: Schammer, Pavlich, Thornton, Mundy, Foster, McManus, Gilmore, Cook.



Crowley (Fremantle) 50 games.



O’Brien (Fremantle).



Donlon, McLaren, Chamberlain.



Burgoyne (PA) 3, K. Cornes (PA) 2, Westhoff (PA) 1.



Burgoyne* (PA) 3, P. Burgoyne (PA) 2, Lade (PA) 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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