The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 5 – Carlton v Brisbane

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!



Carlton versus Brisbane Lions

7.10pm, Saturday, April 28

Telstra Dome, Melbourne




FIVE CARLTON PLAYERS KICKED THREE GOALS apiece before three-quarter time in this game. Who lost from there? Well, Carlton did, thanks to the red-eye special from Perth and the dead-eye dicks from the Gabba.


I was slightly late into the stadium (ground just doesn’t sound right; perhaps facility?). The witty ambush marketing ads of the Nando’s outlet on the Dome concourse had won me over: chips outside $2.95; chips inside $4. So I missed Anzac Day Plus Three and the mutton-dressed-up-as-Lycra warbling of Advance Australia Fair. And a few goals, too. Jamie Charman already had two before I finished a beer and found a seat on the top deck on the Docklands wing – and Carlton were in front.


When Eddie Betts snapped the match’s first behind at the 15-minute mark, the two flags had already been waved seven times. Ignoring an after-the-siren snap by Scott Harding (as the umpires should have), Brisbane’s first miss was delayed until the 22-minute mark – of the third quarter! To that point, the Lions had kicked 18.1. Set shots, pack snaps, long bombs, goal-square dribbles, corridor, flank, pocket… it didn’t matter.


I don’t know if this is a league record for sharp-shooting, but – now, this is rare in football – the word unbelievable here is not trite. This is the Brisbane Lions we’re talking about, the most pessimistic set-shooters in football, the Lions who stumbled to 8.15 (with Jonathan Brown kicking 1.5) against North Melbourne the previous week.


And the Lions needed every one of their 18 majors against the Blues, because their defence was in chaos during the first half. The two loose cannons, Jared Brennan and Daniel Merrett, were rolling all over the deck. Just before quarter- time, Merrett won a free in the back pocket and, in plenty of space, kicked into the corridor and over Brennan’s head, resulting in an ominous Carlton goal. In the second quarter, it seemed that three-quarters of Carlton’s forward entries produced a goal. Brendan Fevola and Lance Whitnall humiliated Merrett and Brennan respectively, and as Lion pair Jed Adcock and Jason Roe rushed in to man the dykes, Betts and Cameron Cloke seized on the leaks. A Brisbane tactic of attempting to rush behinds by punching the ball in the general direction of Carlton’s goals from 20 or 30 metres out was spectacularly unsuccessful.


Before the season, Whitnall was the only AFL captain to nominate the drought rather than boys behaving badly as football’s biggest threat in 2007 (correctly in my view; the Bendigo league, in the Blues’ old recruiting zone, wasn’t to start until May). Lance is also a smart footballer, too smart for Brennan, as well as being too big and strong; he had three goals by the 10-minute mark of the second quarter. After this, he was largely summoned to help Setanta O’hAilpin in the fruitless quest to put the brakes on the Brown freight train. Brown didn’t have a huge direct return on the scoreboard, but his 28 possessions included 15 marks (with five contested, mostly inside the arc) and he set up seven goals.


Nine-goal quarters usually destroy an opposing team, but Brisbane’s response to Carlton’s second-quarter onslaught meant that the Blues were never more
than three goals clear. When the Telstra Dome roof is closed, it seems to host many shootouts. While many people enthuse about the exhilarating, pinball nature of these matches, I sense the unreality of a basketball game played in a humidicrib. Think of St Kilda and Footscray – and look at their finals records. Give me tough tackling by real men in This Sporting Life… I haven’t entirely shaken off my rugby league heritage.


Football won in the second half, as Brisbane tightened up in the middle.


Simon Black and Luke Power, excellent throughout, got tackling and ball-winning help from Marcus Allan, Richard Hadley and Cheynee Stiller, as well as the usual Adcock, Tim Notting and Michael Rischitelli. The rucking and marking of Charman is also improving with match conditioning. And Brown kept going. Though Carlton’s small players kept running through the third quarter, Fevola and Whitnall’s influence faded and their supply of goals was reined in.


The Lions had effectively drawn level when they turned for home at the beginning of the last quarter. At which point, the Nullarbor factor determined proceedings. Fevola had a goalsquare mark disallowed early in the quarter, threw a tantrum, and was benched. Carlton, which had been flogged by West Coast in Perth a week earlier, did not kick another goal.


For 25 minutes, however, the Blues stayed afloat because of a temporary return to earth by the Lions’ forwards: five shots, five behinds. Then three Carlton defenders, including O’Hapless and, more surprisingly, the tireless and damaging Kade Simpson, collided in the goalsquare and Ashley McGrath soccered Brisbane into the lead. A double strike from Chris Johnson, the former Fitzroy star who has returned to his teenaged role as a goalsneak, followed immediately.


Now, if only the Lions can arrange for the AFL to draw us against more teams who’ve just retraced the epic journey of Eyre and Wylie… or has Eddie cornered that one, too?



Carlton   5.6 14.8 17.11 18.16 (124)

Brisbane Lions   6.1 13.1 18.4 21.10 (136)



Brisbane: Johnson, Brown, Charman 3; Power, Notting, McGrath, Patfull 2; Hadley, Roe, Stiller, Begley.

Carlton: Simpson, Whitnall, Betts, Fevola, Cloke 3; Walker, Murphy, Lappin.



Brisbane: Brown, Black, Power, Stiller, Notting, Charman, Johnson.

Carlton: Simpson, Houlihan, Scotland, Whitnall, Lappin, Betts.


UMPIRES: Donlon, James, Head.

CROWD 33,598


OUR VOTES:  Brown (B) 3, Black (B) 2, Simpson (Carl.) 1.
BROWNLOW: Brown (B) 3, Black (B) 2, Scotland (Carl.) 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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  1. bernard whimpress says

    Terrific piece from the archives, Tony. Dynamic opening, conveys the spirit of the game and certainly stands up well over time.

  2. Adam Muyt says

    Top writing Tony. More scope possible back in the early Nac days with the word count then set at 800, I think.

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