The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 3 – Port Adelaide v Adelaide

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 Adelaide

2.40pm, Saturday, April 14

AAMI Stadium, Adelaide




THERE WERE 10,000 UNSOLD TICKETS OR NO-SHOWS for this Port home game,?with South Australia having its first encounter with that horrible beast: Live Against the Gate. No one in the local football industry liked it. Welcome to the real world, folks.


Nevertheless, 37,000 people watched a keen contest between the undefeated Port and Adelaide, who had found form against the Dogs last week.


Mark Williams’ plan was simple enough. Win the ruck, cramp Adelaide’s midfield and use the Burgoyne boys’ pace to open up the attack.


Many plans never work. Adelaide enjoyed the congestion. They, not Port, broke the lines in rugby style with clean use of forward handball to stream into attack.


Some plans always work. Kane Cornes again closed down Simon Goodwin, Ben Rutten denied Warren Tredrea any influence and Nathan Bassett held emerging match-winner Brett Ebert to five kicks, three marks and one cheap goal.


For some players, there can be no plans. The two Burgoyne boys extracted


impossible balls from the crowded central station to often become the only passengers on the train. These two are as good as the Judd-Kerr combination, or for old-timers, the Voss-Black duet. They are re-inventing a jaded sport.


But Andrew McLeod’s game was better. From his half-back flank, removed from the inner-city congestion, he read the ball perfectly, as it slipped through the suburban streets. His contested possessions, quick gives and double or triple plays culminated in some of the best long passes I’ve seen at Football Park in 20 years.


In a low-scoring game, McLeod and his sidekick, Jason Torney, split the Port defence open. McLeod’s quality was infectious. Adelaide scored many of their goals from defence. Their fourth goal, five minutes into the second quarter started from the back pocket. Marty Mattner passed it to Ben Hudson, who, like most ruckmen, looks as if he should be milking cows, not playing football. “Why kick it to the dairyman?” I thought. “The slick lawyer in the Ferrari, Brent Reilly, would have been the better choice.”


But I am dumb. Mattner sucked in Reilly’s opponent. Hudson won the ball and flicked it over to the young lawyer, who went into turbo-charge, delivering the ball to the leading Scott Welsh, who marked and slotted the goal. Bang! A seven- second goal from nothing. Fantastic!


McLeod set up multiple attacks like this. His passing to a target, maybe third in line 50 metres forward, confused the opposition. His ground-level vision was as mysterious, say, as ancient indigenous artists mapping out the terrain from an eagle’s perspective.


McLeod inspired his teammates to back themselves and Port to cough it up. He was the confidence factor. Shaun Burgoyne, for example, kicked four behinds before Port’s first goal at the seven-minute mark of the second quarter. Shortly before half-time, dominant ruckman Dean Brogan came down on his ankle and limped off. Port was in deep trouble.


At the 14th minute of the third quarter, Brett Burton handballed to the wrong side of a moving teammate. Port accepted that gift. Chad Cornes received a quick pass before bombing long to the square, where Brendon Lade took the mark of the day and converted. In the next few minutes, Jacob Surjan, Steven Salopek and Nathan Krakouer kicked goals for Port. Suddenly, at the end of the third quarter, they were only 14 points out of it.


Team confidence is such a fickle thing. Brilliant acts by an individual can open it up; a single clanger from a teammate can close it down.


Port has won many home games over the past decade by digging a shallow hole. In the last quarter, adrenalin and their local crowd often kick in sufficiently to enable them to overcome their weariness and storm home. The modern Port, not the old Magpies in the SANFL, is one of these all-or-nothing teams in the AFL: capable of glory or dust in the same bite.


At the last interval, Williams swung Chad Cornes into the centre for a make- or-break quarter. The Adelaide defence held their line and, with tempo footy, ate up the clock. Neil Craig uses games like this to justify his belief that his system, rather than dramatic moves during the match, wins games.


At his conference, Craig was more relieved than triumphant. Williams, always behaving as if he is the 23rd player on the list rather than its coach, was angry enough to suggest that he had gained more from this contest than he had lost.


Port will win next week. Adelaide? I don’t know. You can put anger in a bottle but confidence, like relief, is as volatile as ether.



Port Adelaide   0.6 3.10 7.11 8.15 (63)

Adelaide             3.3 8.3 10.7 13.9 (87)



Adelaide: Welsh 4; Perrie 3; Stevens 2; Bock, Porplyzia, Burton, Reilly.

Port Adelaide: Lade 2; S. Burgoyne, Surjan, Ebert, Krakouer, Salopek, Tredrea.



Adelaide: McLeod, Torney, Bassett, Perrie, Knights.

Port Adelaide: S. Burgoyne, Lade, C.Cornes, Cassisi, P. Burgoyne, Lonie.


MILESTONES:  Salopek (Port Adelaide) 50 games; Thompson (Adelaide) 50 games with current club.

UMPIRES:  Head, Chamberlain, Ryan.

CROWD 36,959

OUR VOTES :  McLeod (A) 3, Torney (A) 2, S. Burgoyne (PA) 1.

BROWNLOW:  McLeod (A) 3, Bassett (A) 2, Lade (PA) 1.



For more Round by Round reports of the 2007 season click HERE


If you want a printed copy of the 2007 edition of the Footy Almanac, they can be purchased here.


2007 Footy Almanac




Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


Do you really enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE




  2. Spoiler!

  3. John Butler says

    I reckon it was a good line. :)

Leave a Comment