The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 22 – West Coast v Essendon: A final memory

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!



West Coast versus Essendon

2.10pm, Saturday, September 1

Subiaco Oval, Perth



THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING. The weather beautiful: warm but not too warm, and very little wind. The smell of vegetation stronger than you remember. A day to get out of the house and into a beer garden. To tell your girlfriend she’s lucky to have you. The world is yours.


The last round of the home and away season. Expectations run high. West Coast fans are looking forward to a certain victory, along with the chance to graciously – and also, they hope, a little smugly – farewell two worthy opponents: Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy and star player James Hird.


For Essendon fans… well, whatever happens, they were there for Hird’s and Sheedy’s last game. The end of an era. When Sheedy started coaching Essendon Malcolm Fraser was prime minister.


After the punters have squeezed in, watched (with bemusement) a singing and dancing performance by the cast of a new musical theatre production, sung along to Queen’s We Will Rock You, found them themselves unable to look away from a series of big-screen advertisements featuring past and present Eagles champions, and politely clapped Sheedy up to his box, the match begins with a burst. Cousins, looking like a plastic action-man figurine dipped in baby oil, streaks out of the centre and kicks the first goal. Shortly afterwards an Essendon defender concedes a free and Chick, in his 250th game, is paid the advantage. He runs on and kicks the Eagles’ second. Hird doesn’t get a clean possession until the eight and a half minute mark: out on the full. Cox on the run slots home West Coast’s third. Staker marks 15 metres out and converts. Essendon are yet to kick a goal. They are looking too slow and making too many mistakes. When the siren sounds they seem lucky to trail by only 16 points.


Essendon hit back with two goals early in the second quarter but it’s become a free-flowing game and West Coast are running harder and have more scoring options. The Essendon defence looks ragged under the extreme pressure while for West Coast Hunter is playing a starring role down back keeping Lloyd quiet, setting up counter attacks and even providing muscle when required. West Coast lead by 38 at the main break.


In the third quarter the goals keep flowing and West Coast continue to look too fit and fast, though Essendon counter-punch throughout to restrict the damage. Hird snaps a vintage goal from the pocket. At three-quarter time West Coast lead by 44 points. It could easily have been more. Hird asks his teammates to give him “one more memory”.


When the game restarts Lucas leads, marks and goals within the first minute and a half. Textbook. He leads to the pocket and takes another strong mark. His boundary-line bomb from 55 sails home. The Essendon fans raise a valiant Bombers chant. Moments later the chant is drowned out by Eagles! Clap, clap, clap. Eagles! as Wirrpanda kicks a major.


Lucas takes another strong mark. Essendon are keeping the forward line open and managing to get the ball down there quickly. He kicks from 55. Goal. Lucas marks again and from a tight angle, 25 metres out, goals. You can hear the excitement among the Essendon fans. It’s only 12 minutes into the quarter. West Coast players spoil each other going for a mark. Lucas pounces, shoots mid-tackle, and goals: 21-point margin.


Essendon’s ruckman Hille has lifted. Hird is starring. He finds Monfries who goes back and goals from 35 – a 14-point margin, 17 minutes in. Lucas spills a mark on a lead but he swoops on the ball from the throw-in and goals. Suddenly Essendon has players running everywhere. Lucas can’t mark but gets the free. He converts from 40. His seventh for the quarter. It’s three-points the difference at the 22-minute mark. The West Coast fans are stunned. Lucas gets the ball again, half-brushes off his opponent and shoots. Point.


West Coast supporters begin booing their own players for wasting time, before Staker scrambles them a soccered goal. West Coast are now double-teaming Lucas. This time he can’t mark. There’s the siren. West Coast hang on.


The West Coast fans wave their jackets and scarves. But there isn’t much smugness. Sheedy and Hird can walk away with pride. A tribute to the two of them is played on the big screen. Not a soul has left the ground. There are three cheers for the two greats. Hird, we are told, has had 34 possessions, the most of anyone on the ground. He gives a speech, thanking his teammates and the West Coast crowd. Worsfold then speaks graciously of Sheedy, his opposite number, and Sheedy himself makes a few characteristically cryptic comments before a final, symbolic waving of his jacket. The West Coast people, their respect made stronger by relief, stand, lift their colours, and wave and wave and wave.


The Subi lights are on. The sun is fading. We are going home to our suburban lives. The world looks less ours for the taking than it did this morning. Eventually, we are reminded, it’ll take us. But Sheedy, Hird and their boys have given us one more memory to take with us before we go.



West Coast  5.1 12.2 19.3 21.6 (132)

Essendon  2.3 5.6 11.8 19.10 (124)



West Coast: R. Jones, Morton 3, LeCras, Seaby, Chick, Cousins, Staker, Wirrpanda 2, Cox, Lynch, Stenglein.

Essendon: Lucas 8, Winderlich 3, Neagle, McVeigh, Lloyd, Hird, Heffernan, Bradley, Stanton, Monfries.



West Coast: Hunter, Cousins, Rosa, Cox, R. Jones.

Essendon: Lucas, Hird, Lovett, Winderlich, Peverill.



Chick (West Coast) 250 games.



Neagle (Essendon).



Head, Meredith, Jeffery.



Lucas (E) 3, Hunter (WC) 2, Hird (E) 1.



Lucas (E) 3, R. Jones (WC) 2, Hird (E) 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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