The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 6 – Brisbane v Fremantle: Sorting the wheat from the chaff!


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!



Brisbane Lions versus Fremantle

1.10pm, Sunday, May 6

The Gabba, Brisbane



Before the match had even started, this battle between the Brisbane Lions and Fremantle at the Gabba was going to tell punters a fair bit about the progress of both clubs. For the Lions, whose previous Queensland hit-out had been a loss in slippery conditions against the unloved Kangaroos, this was a mental test. Would Jonathan Brown get his kicking together? How good were the kids, really? How far could they go?


The Dockers came into the season as premiership fancies, but already were looking proppy. They needed to make a statement.


But they didnt, and although excuses could be made on their behalf sickly, unseasonal autumn heat the most obvious factor among them the fact is a genuine premiership fancy should have been better than that. The Dockers didnt show up for work on time. They were tardy, and although they showed enough endeavour to get back into the game, even leading the home side briefly, in the end they turned up their toes.


The Lions deserved plenty of credit, though. The Dockers played about as well as they were allowed. Jonathan Browns kicking was still uncharacteristically awry he booted a couple of goals, a couple of behinds and a couple more out on the full but he set up a heap of others. The greatest beneficiary was Ashley McGrath, who played a near-perfect small forwards game.


McGrath is an interesting player. He doesnt have the flash of Aaron Davey or the unpredictable, occasional brilliance of Leon Davis. He doesnt get the ball much and rarely has a day out, but he is good for a couple of goals a game and works hard enough in the other direction. On this day, he had one of those rare matches, taking every half-chance that came his way as Brown busted packs left, right and centre.


As for the kids, well, watch this space. The Lions were led brilliantly by their five captains, Brown, Simon Black, Luke Power, Chris Johnson and Nigel Lappin, who all played important roles, and Tim Notting might be staking a claim as the competitions most under-rated player. But some of the younger cubs are beginning to carve out territories of their own.


Scott Harding might be the most improved among them. Elevated from the rookie list in 2006, he finds the ball in traffic and wheels out of packs with the sort of dash that has inspired his coach to compare him to Jason Akermanis. Cheynee Stiller cruised about like a young Lappin, rarely at full tilt but always creative and effective. Jed Adcock, at 38 games, might already be the best running back pocket around.


The Dockers looked potent up forward. Chris Tarrant, Matthew Pavlich and Luke McPharlin are all big names, and Tarrant and Pavlich did their jobs well enough. But they had too much to do. The game was lost in the centre, maybe even in the ruck. So gigantic is Aaron Sandilands that he is expected to dominate every contest, but he was outpointed by Jamie Charman and the all-but-forgotten Beau McDonald.


At ground level, Fremantles vaunted midfield was made to look second-rate. Heath Black was his sides hardest worker and Peter Bell was typically industrious, but the Carr brothers were quiet and Paul Hasleby had no impact. Only three Dockers players had more than 20 possessions, and in this instance it meant something. Fremantle were literally worked over.


Was it the heat? The Dockers had hung within a couple of goals for much of the match but appeared to wilt in the last quarter, as the Lions slammed on five goals, blowing out the margin to 45 points. You had to wonder whether it was about desire, too. The Dockersmental strength remains in question; fighting their way back from two wins and four losses will go some way towards answering their critics.


The Lions, conversely, now have four wins and two losses. They are generating excitement. Last year they were old and decaying; now they have youth and energy. They may not yet be ready for finals. But they will not be easybeats.


Brisbane Lions 5.5 9.10 12.15 17.18 (120)

Fremantle 4.5 7.8 9.14 10.15 (75)


Brisbane: McGrath 5; Brown, Sherman, Power, C. Johnson 2; Rischitelli, Stiller, Begley, Patfull.
Fremantle: Tarrant, Pavlich 3; Bell, Headland, Warnock, Cook.



Brisbane: McGrath, Black, Power, Stiller, Brown, Lappin.

Fremantle: Black, Pavlich, Bell, Tarrant, Mundy, Headland.



Warnock (Fremantle).


James, M. Nicholls, Wenn.





McGrath (B) 3, Black (B) 2, Brown (B) 1.


Black (B) 3, McGrath (B) 2, Roe* (B) 1.


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


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



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.


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