The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 5 – Port Adelaide v St Kilda: Wet weather footy and an apparent case of disinterent

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 St Kilda
7.10pm, Friday, April 27
AAMI Stadium, Adelaide


ON THIS FRIDAY NIGHT, the bugler played his Last Post mournfully through the new acoustic system. We heard each sucking-in of his breath and each exhale, each open note of that extraordinary piece of music, crystal clear in the fresh winter’s night. It never fails to stir me.


Each time I hear that awful and lovely piece of music, I try to find the words and actions behind it – its rally call, its optimism, its apparent victory, its regret, its reluctant recognition of defeat, its thudding insistence that you have to continue even though you are 10 goals down, with only 10 minutes and 10 men left… through the mud and the pain and the senselessness of the event. The game or the war may be lost, but as long as that bugler stands, with his fractured, breathy tune, the hope that you will somehow get out of this mess remains alive.


And then the minute of silence. When the crowd rises and the silence descends, that absence of sound becomes the loudest noise you can imagine. It fills all gaps, blends all egos, makes even impenetrable, sullen male teenagers catch their breath and realise that the world is bigger than their hatred of it.


Port won the toss and kicked to the right of screen. At the three-minute mark, a pass went to Damon White and he kicked a goal for Port.


At the five-minute mark, the rain started and didn’t let up for the night.


Guess what, folks? Sitting in the outer with the drought-breaking rain pelting down, trying to scribble notes under my $3 plastic poncho, with water dribbling down my neck, qualified me for nearly zero intelligent comment about this game. The rain wasn’t monsoonal, as the Murdoch press laughingly described it, but it did reduce visibility to maybe two-thirds of the field.


Wet weather breaks down the structure of football matches. Those high up in the press box, who watch football as a chess match played by ants, and are fed quarterly statistics, still constructed their match reports along the line of clearances, inside fifties, clangers and tackles and all that crap. But, watching it down at ground level, there were no clean observable movements. The choreography disappeared. The set movements by the coaches, their training drills and instructions became as useless as the orders delivered to the troops on the beaches of Gallipoli.


Two things happen in the wet.


First, the ball takes on a life of its own. It falls onto the slippery surface and snakes off at unpredictable angles, like dropping a cake of soap in the shower. Or, the ball hits a waterlogged part of the ground and doesn’t bounce at all. It sinks in the turf like red wine in a carpet.


Second, watching such games becomes a series of cameos, not the jigsaw puzzle of intent versus ability that normally defines the pleasure in watching football. The action becomes random movement, which is almost impossible to comprehend.


You watch little things.


I took my eye off the ball and only watched Kane Cornes tagging Nick Dal Santo. Cornes is football smart, but coach Mark Williams uses him in the tagging role as if he’s holding him back for a greater future. Dal Santo was not without influence, but Cornes made him work hard. I watched the two of them running along the outer wing like one person with four legs. Dal Santo ran to two St Kilda players who created the block and was suddenly away, 10 metres in front of Cornes. He received the ball and passed it to a forward (I couldn’t see who) who ended up having a shot at goal.


Warren Tredrea, second game back, loved this wet weather. It slowed everybody down to his current pace. He forgot about his long runs to the wing, stayed at home in the goal square and used his body to advantage. On the other hand, the big fella up the other end, Fraser Gehrig, played as if wet weather football wasn’t in his contract.


There’s something wrong with St Kilda at the moment. There was something wrong with coach Ross Lyon at the press conference. A distinct lack of spark. “They won on the outside,” he said, deadpan, “we were better on the inside.” Nobody knew what he meant and no one, including myself, wanted him to expand on that ridiculous statement. “If we win next week,” he said, “we will be 3-3.” We didn’t want to argue with that, either.

The Port kids are playing with incredible passion at this early part of the season, as if they’re trying to cement their place in the side. David Rodan, rejected by Richmond, is enjoying a rare moment in a personal sun. The older, more established players like the Cornes and Burgoyne boys are playing as if their team is on the verge of something historic. Of the Saints only Dal Santo, Robert Harvey and a handful of others looked as if they had their heart in it. The rest of them, including their coach, looked as if they’d clocked on, were present for the duration of the shift, and would be paid regardless.


Appearances are always deceptive, of course, especially in the wet.



PORT ADELAIDE    4.2    5.6   11.12   14.12 (96)

ST KILDA                  1.2    3.3     3.4      6.7 (43)



Port Adelaide: Tredrea 3, S. Burgoyne, Ebert, Rodan 2, P. Burgoyne, Chaplin, Salopek, Symes, White, C. Cornes, Bentley, Krakouer

St Kilda: Voss 3, Milne 2, Goddard


Port Adelaide: C. Cornes, Rodan, S. Burgoyne, P. Burgoyne, K. Cornes, Pettigrew, Symes

St Kilda: Harvey, Dal Santo, Voss, Fiora, Goddard


Wakelin (Port Adelaide) 250 games.


McBurney, Stevic, Grun.


C. Cornes (PA) 3, Rodan (PA) 2, Harvey (STK) 1.


S. Burgoyne * (PA) 3, C. Cornes (PA) 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.


The Footy Almanac 2007



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



  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Whatever happened to Shaun Burgoyne? Were the footys made of Imperial Leather?

  2. Will the 2020 delay allow Shaun Burgoyne to play on in 2021?

Leave a Comment