The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 22 – Western Bulldogs v North Melbourne: Finals-type mettle

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!



Western Bulldogs versus Kangaroos

2.10pm, Sunday, September 2

Telstra Dome, Melbourne



SEPTEMBER ACTION! Spring in the air and the sun on your back. My Doggies running out to play. Just how it was meant to be. People in Melbourne’s west had high hopes for season 2007. We’d be right up there and we liked the run home. North at the Docklands: pencilled in. One team was borderline top four while the other was playing for nothing.


The much-maligned Kangaroos – they of the unworthy coach, of the unsustainable position in Melbourne, of the injury-ravaged and talent-challenged list – were just these four points from securing a double chance. This game demonstrated how this could have come about, how predictions can be so utterly flawed, expectations totally upended. And how the ladder doesn’t lie.


Much hinges on character in footy. North have it, even if they do become weary of the Shinboner Spirit tag sometimes. We’d sure love some of whatever that is down at the Western Oval, where instead the epithet is “potential”.


The Flemington Primary School promotes a program called You Can Do It! Children learn to value some key qualities: persistence, getting along, confidence and resilience. The Kangaroos exhibit these qualities. The gap between their best and worst is narrow and their aspirations are to always improve as a unit. The spread of contributors is broad. There are stars: two of them, Boomer Harvey and Daniel Wells, shone in this game. But the key to success has been the capacity for players to take their turn. Drew Petrie, for example, played like Blighty in the first quarter when last these sides met. Today he went without a stat, as the Bulldogs skated away from a hesitant opponent. But in the second quarter big Drew fought back. He filled the hole at the top of the defensive arc and frustrated an impatient, inflexible opponent. He then served a valuable supporting role to Hamish McIntosh in the ruck and could walk proudly from the field. Michael Firrito’s absence (he was a late withdrawal) should have been a critical blow. Brad Johnson started brilliantly, but Daniel Pratt took up the challenge and, with the support of a cohesive defence and a midfield that works both ways, kept the champ in check. Comprehensively.


At one point I revised my this-game-doesn’t-matter-theory. Shannon Grant had the yips, Andrew Swallow was concussed and finished for the day, Robert Murphy looked great and the tricolours seemed on song. Johnno had just grabbed a speccy on the point post and, seemingly infallible, was poised to add to his tally. Then he over-cooked his pass, was taken from the ground and watched as Wells kicked a wonderful goal. This was the start of North’s dominance. The Bulldogs did not score again until 11 minutes into the third quarter. North had posted a wasteful 10.7 by then. The Kangas should have been more than six goals up at the last break, but the margin was meaningless. They won in a canter.


Whether they will be competitive in September is debatable. They play finals- style footy. Shannon Grant, Corey Jones, and a mixture of others, tall and small, offer scoring options while Jesse Smith and Jess Sinclair provide rebound and Josh Gibson bolsters their defensive stocks. Firrito usually completes the big jobs. Glenn Archer has one last finals series left in him. Dean Laidley, feasibly coach of the year, has height options. He can play them forward, back or in the ruck.


In the middle, big Hamish McIntosh has developed into a real talent. Twice this year he has troubled the Bulldogs. Strong and mobile, he feeds the versatile midfield. Daniel Harris, Adam Simpson and Brady Rawlings are fine ball-getters, leaving Wells and Harvey to add the polish. Is that sufficient to shine on the big stage? This group is greater than the sum of its parts.


How can you not admire this mob? When Kangaroos players noticed Bulldog officials lining up to chair Luke Darcy and Matthew Robbins from the field, they ran the length of the ground to join the acclamation. That is character. And character will get you a long way in September.



Western Bulldogs  6.5 6.5 11.5 14.9 (93)

Kangaroos  4.4 10.9 16.13 23.19 (157)



Kangaroos: Sansbury 5, Harvey, McIntosh, Grant 3, Wells, Petrie 2, Jones, Watt, Edwards, Hale, Brown.

Bulldogs: Johnson 5, Robbins 3, Cooney 2, Grant, Gilbee, McDougall, Boyd.



Kangaroos: McIntosh, Harvey, Wells, Sinclair, Rawlings.

Bulldogs: McDougall, Cooney, Johnson, Boyd, Harris.



Farmer, Margetts, K. Nicholls.



McIntosh (K) 3, Harvey (K) 2, Wells (K) 1.



Wells (K) 3, McIntosh (K) 2, Rawlings (K) 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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