The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 5 – Essendon v Collingwood: That sweet sound of the song

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!



Essendon versus Collingwood
2.10pm, Wednesday, April 25
MCG, Melbourne


I’VE ONLY MISSED ONE ANZAC DAY. 1998. Good friends were getting married in the Botanic Gardens across the river, and I kept slipping out to the car to get the score. At the last break, the Pies were up, but not by enough. I was so close, yet so far away. I decided to let it ride, wait for someone to tell me the best or worst.


And then, through the trees, the sweet sound of the Collingwood theme song. Short of being there, this was as good a way as I could think of to find out we’d knocked off the New Enemy.


This year, our Dawn Service was held at the Ramsden Street oval in Clifton Hill, with the Fitzroy Junior Football Club under-10 Gold squad having its final hit-out before their big Round 1 clash against Kew. After a short, sharp session, my nine-year-old Daniel swapped the famous maroon and blue of Fitzroy for his Collingwood combat gear, and we rolled down Hoddle Street to the MCG parade.


It turned out we were not alone. More than 90,000 others thought it was a nice day for the footy, and we pushed through a dozen of them to slip into our M19 seats on the wing. The 43-second minute’s silence was interrupted only by mobile phones. A pleasant autumn haze settled over the two columns of players. It was too much like a Grand Final for a Magpie fan’s comfort.


The first 10 minutes were all Matty Lloyd and a red and black blur called Alwyn Davey. Lloyd capitalised on a bad bounce to dribble through the first goal, and favourite backers were on good terms with themselves. A minute later, Davey swooped on a loose ball, sidestepped a flailing Simon Prestigiacomo, and slotted the Bombers’ second. After Lloyd wasted a couple of Jimmy Clement infringements, Davey darted out of another drainpipe to nail an oblivious
Ben Johnson. The turnover produced another Lloyd goal, and the Bombers were flying. A rearguard action was required.


It came halfway through the first term. Scott Pendlebury came off the bench and immediately got down to business, missing a set shot, then feeding Tarkyn Lockyer, who banged home the Pies’ first from the fifty. Dale Thomas took off on a long, meandering run into the forward line. He was eventually apprehended. Nevertheless Pies fans appreciated his Drouin daring.


Collingwood’s defence was starting to regain its composure, with Heath Shaw mopping up and ploughing forward. No further goals meant the Dons took an 11-point lead to their huddle.


After the break, Alan Didak, making his first appearance in 2007, threaded a neat goal following a high tackle, and the Pies were momentarily within a kick. Re-enter The Blur. He latched onto a ball in midfield, spun through a Scott Burns turnstile at breakneck speed, and bagged Foxtel’s Winners goal of the week. Bomber fans thought about getting nude at this juncture, but it was their first goal in nearly a quarter, so they kept their clothes on.


The Anzac Day tide turned. Jimmy Clement reined in Lloyd, Harry O’Brien was whacking a half-nelson on Scott Lucas every time Lucas got his hands on the pill, and the Shaw brothers’ forward forays were becoming more regular and dangerous. On 20 minutes, Johnson put the Pies in front for the first time after some intense pressure in the forward line. Goals from free-kicks to Davey and Rocca put Collingwood in front, before Courtney Johns’ shot from the boundary after the half-time siren squared the ledger. “Now we start all over again,” said the Essendon fan next to me.


The pressure intensified after the break. A Jobe Watson clanger ended in a Travis Cloke goal from the Johns spot. Rhyce Shaw returned the favour, and Lloyd glided through his third. Both sides missed gettable set shots, before a key passage late in the term hinted that the elastic was about to snap. Nick Maxwell and Brad Dick combined to force an Essendon turnover, and Rocca weighted a long left footer for Didak to run onto into the square. Kevin Sheedy pushed numbers back at the last centre bounce. He was desperate to prevent another goal before three-quarter time. Collingwood went into the last break with a two-goal buffer – and the momentum.


The game remained alive for most of the last quarter – at least on the scoreboard. But, really, the Pies were on top. Mark Johnson nailed a beauty from the boundary but Dick replied with a long-range effort. His jubilant celebration would be plastered across the sports pages of the Melbourne dailies the next day. Then Kepler Bradley capped off a miserable afternoon by telegraphing a cross-goal pass that Lockyer intercepted and dribbled through to extend the margin to three goals. Essendon never really recovered. The teams traded a couple more goals and a lot more behinds before the siren ushered in that song that I’d heard drift through the trees nine years ago.


The last word was left to Heath Shaw, the runaway winner of the Anzac Day medal. He thanked everyone for coming before bounding off the dais and embarking on one last run towards his appreciative teammates.



ESSENDON              3.4    6.6    8.10    11.13 (79)

COLLINGWOOD    1.5   5.12   9.16    12.23 (95)



Collingwood: Didak, Rocca 3, Lockyer 2, Cloke, Dick, Johnson, Pendlebury

Essendon: Davey, Lloyd 3, Johns 2, Bolton, M. Johnson, Monfries


Collingwood: H. Shaw, O’Brien, R. Shaw, Burns, Lockyer, Clement

Essendon: Davey, Stanton, Monfries, Fletcher


Vozzo, Jeffery, McInerney.


H. Shaw (Coll.) 3, Davey (E) 2, O’Brien (Coll.) 1.


H. Shaw (Coll.) 3, Fletcher* (E) 2, Cloke (Coll.) 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.


The Footy Almanac 2007



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