The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 4 – St Kilda v Essendon

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 Essendon

2.10pm, Saturday, April 21

Telstra Dome, Melbourne



UNDER THE ROOF AT THE COLLO-SEUM, St Kilda and Essendon hoped to shed some light on who might be the most likely Victorian representative come September. The Bombers won their first couple this season unexpectedly, but then crashed dramatically against Carlton. Was that the traditional Bombers’ hiccup: a loss to Carlton no matter where the two teams are on the ladder? Or something more portentous for the Bombers?


The new Saints had been rather inconsistent. They were coming off a sound win against the Dogs. But Gehrig was missing a week through suspension and there remained some doubt over the fitness of Luke Ball who was finally selected after struggling with the after-effects of severe concussion. Yet bookies were sufficiently persuaded by the ongoing hype for the Saints to have them at $1.60 favourites even though a late rally saw Essendon firm from $2.30 into $2.15.


As a neutral supporter (I strongly dislike both teams), I was hoping for a good, close game with plenty of highlights. This one was neither good nor close, but there were some memorable moments. Alwyn Davey’s chase and tackle in the second quarter was part of an electrifying few minutes in which he instigated an Essendon surge.


Young Patty Ryder was involved in two exceptional pieces of play. In the first, as the footy bobbled back towards the centre, Ryder made a clear decision: attack and convert. He did. Such confidence manifested itself in the second when he soared above a pack to take a mark, giving the Herald Sun the excuse to trot out the headline EASY RYDER.


The other memorable moment was Dustin Fletcher’s monster torpedo for a goal. It must have travelled 80 metres.


These deeds were all committed in Essendon’s first-ever alternative guernsey, a predominantly red number with a tinge of black.


St Kilda burst from the blocks but failed to convert. They had the first four scores but kicked only one goal. Scott Lucas’s accuracy from the pocket seemed an unfair counter-balance.


Both sides appeared obsessed by their opponent’s forward potency and their own undersized defences. Rather than opting for a shootout (which used to be called a game of footy), floating defences were employed. The Saints’ Brendon Goddard began brilliantly as a sweeper, and Sam Fisher took whichever tall was posted deepest. It was Fisher’s hamstring injury – which added to the tally of Saints who have suffered hamstring injuries in recent years – that cost Ross Lyon and his men their strategic flexibility. Gram became a key defender who was not only undersized, he was unable to launch his counter attacks. The Saints were bogged in their backline.


In the midfield it was Robert Harvey versus the rest. Essendon’s Ricky Dyson, then Brent Stanton and Damien Peverill racked up stats while the indefatigable Harvey pushed against the tide. Lenny Hayes offered support but the Saints really needed Ball to rediscover his touch and valour. Up forward, Justin Koschitzke struggled, Stephen Milne flirted and Fraser Gehrig was sitting in the grandstand.


The best hope of a good finish seemed to be Essendon’s concern about the short break to Anzac Day the following Wednesday. Kevin Sheedy was unsure how much liberty he could take in resting players during the final quarter. Despite a brief rally from St Kilda, their lack of depth was exposed and Essendon got the points leaving us to ponder: are the Bombers really better than St Kilda? And, given the topsy-turvy nature of early-season form, what does that actually mean?



St Kilda    2.4 4.6 7.9 9.14 (68)

Essendon    1.2 7.3 11.8 15.9 (99)


Essendon: Lloyd, Lucas 3; Monfries, Peverill, Lovett, Slattery, Stanton, Laycock, Davey, Ryder, Fletcher.
St Kilda: Riewoldt 4; Milne 3; Blake, Harvey.



Essendon: Peverill, Ryder, Stanton, Fletcher, McPhee, Davey.

St Kilda: Harvey, Goddard, Gram, Milne.


UMPIRES: Kennedy, M. Nicholls, Jeffery.

CROWD 47,605

OUR VOTES:  Harvey (St K) 3; Peverill (E) 2; Ryder (E) 1.
BROWNLOW:  McPhee (E) 3; Peverill (E) 2; Stanton (E) 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



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