The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 3 – St Kilda v Western Bulldogs: Saints too good

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!


St Kilda versus Western Bulldogs
7.15pm, Saturday, April 14
at Telstra Dome, Melbourne



I’VE PLANNED THIS NIGHT FAR IN ADVANCE, inviting a couple of young St Kilda supporters, aged eight (John) and five (Eliza), for a sleepover with my two kids.


John knows his team by name, number and reputation – not the full reputation of Leigh Montagna, Stephen Milne and Fraser Gehrig – but he’s well informed on who’s courageous, who’s a squib, and who is likely to fall over from a dizzy spell. I’ve told him we’re going to watch the game the best way that modern technology can offer – projected on to the living room wall, with commentary in surround sound. I’ve filled him with expectation and sugar, hoping for a close game and glucose-fuelled tears of either sorrow or joy.


Of course it never works out that way. The kids want to watch videos, starting with Strawberry Shortcake, and they want them on the Big Screen, so it’s off to the bedroom for me.


I tune in as Anthony Hudson sits down for a chat with injured Saints co-captain Luke Ball. One of the few things that makes St Kilda games interesting is guessing at what stage Ball’s head is going to split open like a pinata. Maybe Rod Butterss could incorporate this into his plans to jazz up the game – the moment Ball’s noggin cracks, lollies fall from the rafters at Docklands and kids run on to the field to fill their pockets.


With the Ball interview done the game gets under way. Within a minute, Gehrig kicks a goal on the run, his opponent Brian Harris an out-of-focus blur in the background. Sixty seconds later and the ball goes back into the Saints’ forward line, but spills wide into the hands of Harris, who’s 10 metres in the clear. He takes his time to look downfield and spot a teammate, and then kicks it straight to Montagna, who marks, runs, and kicks a goal. St Kilda: two straight; Harris: hopeless.


With the result looking very much decided already, I look for other points of interest. I notice the way Aaron Fiora breathes. His cheeks puff up so much, so purposefully, that I can’t help wondering if he has to consciously remember to inhale. A distraction like that may explain some of his shortcomings.


Brad Johnson kicks his second goal on the quarter-time siren, but even that doesn’t restore the smile to his ruddy cheeks, and that’s never a good sign.


The second quarter is as dull as toilet water, with each team adding just one goal. The only moment of excitement is Fiora breaking clear and then tripping up on his own shadow. Too much breathing?


I miss most of the half-time wrap because I’m changing videos. The five- year-olds are off to bed while the bigger kids settle down for Pop Star, a feel-good, teen thing with singing and teeth.


The game gets going again and it’s more of the same, sparked up for a moment by the G-Train giving Harris a clenched fist to the bread basket. Harris gets smacked, Gehrig gets a week: it’s a win-win situation.


With nothing much else to talk about, Steven Quartermain pulls out the old “Saints are just too tall” line. This is a football myth, like Brian Harris, and it irks me no end. The Dogs have got more players tonight over 185 centimetres than the Saints. More over 190. More over 195. As the teams were selected, the Dogs enjoy a height advantage in 12 of the 18 on-field positions. They’re tall! Big! Brad Johnson is short, but he’s only one man!


Midway through the third quarter Steven Baker (who is small) gets the Luke Ball tape wrapped around his scone. He’s a tough bloke, Bakes, and a whack to the head won’t do him any harm, but it does make the rest of us feel better. The Doggies make a move early in the last quarter, but I’m required to put the little ones to bed, and try as I may, they won’t let me leave without reading a book about fairies. I go from “Once upon a time” to “happily ever after” in two minutes flat. Quick parenting is good parenting!


The football is barely worth rushing back for. The Saints go further ahead and run out big winners. It hasn’t been the evenly-balanced, battle royale we had hoped for, and my little mate John has been more interested in the teenage girls of Pop Star than the young men of St Kilda – typical Saints fan.


He does, however, finally provide the tears with the “pre-bed missing Mummy blues”. It wasn’t as expected, but like the Saints, I’ll take the win however it comes.


St Kilda 6.3 7.7 12.10 17.14 (116)
Western Bulldogs
2.2 3.6 6.10 9.12 (66)



St Kilda: Riewoldt 4; Milne 3; Koschitzke 2; Gram,?X. Clarke, Gehrig, Montagna, Goddard, Blake, Harvey, Jones.
Bulldogs: Johnson 3; Power, Cooney 2; Darcy, Addison.

St Kilda
: Baker, Gram, Goddard, Blake.
Bulldogs: Cross, Boyd, West, Johnson.


Gilbee (Bulldogs) 100 games; Rosebury (umpire) 100 games,


Jones (St Kilda).


Donlon, McBurney, Rosebury.


Baker (St K) 3, Gram (St K) 2, Cross (WB) 1.


Harvey (St K) 3, Gram (St K) 2, Riewoldt (St K) 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.



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