The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 5 – Sydney v Melbourne: The Ron Barassi Cup

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!


Sydney versus Melbourne


7.10pm, Saturday, April 28 2007


Sydney Cricket Ground



The traditional Sydney v Melbourne clash for the Ron Barassi Cup is not ingrained in the sports calendar despite strenuous efforts over the years to make it into a signature event. In recent years, it has been closely linked with Anzac Day; in 2004, the April 25 match between these teams at the Olympic Stadium drew nearly 40,000. The fact is, however, its just another game of footy.


The Swans go into the game suffering the yips after shocking kicking for goal that probably cost them the previous weeks game against Adelaide. As my dear old grandmother used to say: Bad kicking is bad football.” As far as Im concerned, truer words have never been spoken. The Swans’ goal-kicking practice at training even made television news; this is significant because Sydney training sessions rarely rate coverage. The Dees go into the game decimated by injuries.


I arrange to travel to the game with my mate Ab, a concreter from Wagga Wagga, who is now a car-park supervisor at Fox Studios. Conveniently, these studios are adjacent to the SCG. The payola for my driver is a seat in works corporate suite. We go via the local Sydney competition game between our respective former clubs, University of New South Wales-Eastern Suburbs (Easts were formed in 1880) and Sydney University (1887) at the Village Green. There was football in Sydney long before the Swans’ arrival. We go back to the Four-in- Hand pub in Paddington, just around the corner from Easts’  old home ground, Trumper Park, for some pre-SCG beverages.


In the pub Swans fans prepare for the match. In fact, all around the SCG, the red and white army is gathering at pubs, clubs and restaurants. Swans fans in Sydney are a tribe – they wear their colours with enormous pride and theyre now entrenched as part of Sydneys sporting landscape. Their support base is very family-orientated, but largely Anglo-Celtic, and on the whole the supporters reside in the Eastern bloc. There is a social and ethnic divide that must be conquered before the AFL can rule in Sydney. Hence the need for an AFL club to be based in the west.


The Swans demonstrate the advantage of back-to-basics football practice by getting the ball out of the middle and kicking accurately. Goals to Nick Malceski, Jude Bolton and Ryan OKeefe in the opening seven minutes reverse the trend of the Adelaide match. The Swans add three more goals and, more importantly, only two behinds for the term, while Melbournes only goal comes from a dubious free kick. The game is effectively over at quarter-time. The Bloods, led by Captain Kirk and Co., are firmly in control.


Sydney extend their lead to 37 points at half-time with an efficient second quarter. But it aint pretty to watch – typical Swans-style footy that is all about locking the game down. The Cortinas are chugging along nicely.


The Dees have gone into the game badly depleted and without David Neitz and Russell Robertson up forward they dont have anyone to kick goals. Aaron Davey has to play everywhere – and he does. He is fast, electrifying, a will o’  the wisp. I think Ab describes it best when, after a sip from his beer he quips: He goes like a dog shot up the arse.”


The third quarter is a real yawn, which gives us a chance to catch up with the scores from the NRL and the Super 14 rugby union on the television in our superbox. Of most interest is the ACT Brumbiesimpending upset win over the Super 14 champion Canterbury Crusaders in Canberra. We also note the scores from the AFL game in Melbourne between Carlton and Brisbane Lions (no live feed) and lament that our game is nowhere near as free-scoring.


The Swans boot five goals straight in the final quarter to further demonstrate the therapeutic benefit of goal-kicking practice, while the Dees manage another couple of goals. The crowd gets bored; there are too many young kids staying up after their bedtime. These kids try in vain to initiate a Mexican wave. The eerie Syd-ney soccer-style chant gets a brief hearing, and the Swans chief cheerleader from in front of the Brewongle Stand rallies the punters for the staccato version. The game cant end quickly enough – so that we can all get to our respective post-match activities.


The Swans chalk up their third win of the season while the Demons remain winless. The Ron Barassi Cup is presented to Sydneys model citizen Barry Hall. Not sure what has happened to the Continental Airlines Cup that was inaugurated in the mid-1980s for the traditional clash between the two clubs.


Sydney:  6.2 10.5 12.7 17.7 (109)

Melbourne: 1.2 4.4 6.9 8.12 (60)



Sydney: Hall 4; Davis, Schneider 2; Malceski, Bolton, OKeefe, Goodes, Jolly, McVeigh, Schmidt, Moore, Kirk.
Melbourne: Davey 3; Dunn, Miller, Bate, Bruce, Petterd.



Sydney: Kirk, Hall, Bolton, Malceski, McVeigh, Barry, Jolly.

Melbourne: Bruce, Davey, Moloney, Godfrey, Petterd.



Garland, Petterd (Melbourne).



Kennedy, Rosebury, M. Nicholls.






Davey (M) 3, Kirk (S) 2, Barry (S) 1.



Kirk* (S) 3, Bolton (S) 2, Malceski (S) 1.


For more Round by Round reports of the 2007 season click HERE


Printed copies of The Footy Almanac 2007 can be purchased here.



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