The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 7 – Collingwood v Carlton: A tight win redeems childhood heartbreak

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!




Collingwood versus Carlton

2.10pm, Saturday, May 12

MCG, Melbourne



MY EARLIEST MEMORIES OF FOOTBALL ARE HAZY, but there is a consistent theme. They are of Collingwood losing the 1979, ’80 and ’81 Grand Finals. Thankfully, my memory doesn’t stretch as far as the 1977 draw against North Melbourne and the subsequent replay that was lost. As for 1970, well, that was the year before I was born. Still, I can testify that losing three big ones in a row plays havoc with a small child’s psyche.


Family lore has it that my Mum laid it on the line for me when I was two.
I could do anything I wanted in my life, she told me, as long as I barracked for the Magpies. I can’t remember if she added anything about the evils of Carlton, which was responsible for two of those three Grand Final losses, but it’s more than likely.


I can make a pretence of objectivity about the Pies most of the time, but not when it comes to the old enemy. For most of the first half of this match, which I watched on Fox at home in Brisbane, I was swearing.


Collingwood were all over the Blues in the opening minutes, until Travis Cloke took the first shot at goal. This was bad. Cloke had been in good form but he also had 4.11 for the season, while in the previous two rounds his side had accumulated an inglorious, albeit successful, 23.43. Cloke lined up like a man trying to avoid the gallows. Predictably he took his season’s tally to 4.12.


By the end of the quarter, Collingwood had already done its best to kick itself out of the match. They had 1.6 on the board, with Dale Thomas, Anthony Rocca and Shane O’Bree all missing easy shots, while Brendan Fevola had two for the Blues and a head full of steam. In typical Fev fashion, he decided to blow it off by running through Alan Didak as the Pies went into their huddle. Cue the obligatory all-in. Josh Fraser was KO’d and Fevola emerged with a cut head, but Carlton had the points.


Melee aside, this match was the battle of the high draft picks. Carlton’s Bryce Gibbs, first pick from 2006, looked the goods while the No. 1 pick from 2005, Marc Murphy, was creating havoc, gathering nine first-quarter possessions for the Blues. Collingwood’s Dale Thomas, who went behind Murphy at No.2, was wearing a hard tag from Andrew Walker (No.2 in 2003) and struggling.


Scott Pendlebury, a former basketballer taken by the Pies at pick No.5 behind Thomas, might emerge the best of all of them. He’s quick, but finds so much space he rarely needs to show off his pace. He glides in the manner of James Hird. Yet he is as likely to be found dishing out a creative handball from the bottom of a pack, á la Simon Black. Pendlebury will be a star.


It took Dead-Eye Didak to break the run of misses for Collingwood, having run on to an O’Bree pass after sublime play from Pendlebury. O’Bree kicked his second behind and Cloke added another three of his own for a personal tally of 0.4 for the match. By this time, the Magpies’ score was 2.11 (23), giving the team a hideous 25.54 in two and a half matches.


Carlton, meanwhile, was having less of the play but gaining more reward for their efforts. Fevola had four, Murphy was the dominant player on the field, and only goals from Fraser and Didak on the stroke of half-time kept the Pies in the game.


But this was, as the saying goes, a game of two halves. Carlton’s success had been built partially on negation: Rhyce Shaw had been tagged out of the game on a back flank, while Rocca was being contained by Lance Whitnall. It took one goal from Rocca – a monster from deep inside the centre square early in the third quarter – to change the momentum of the match.


Suddenly, Collingwood had their kicking boots on, and had winners everywhere. As Murphy had dominated the centre and the clearances for the Blues in the first half, so Dane Swan took over for the Magpies in the second. Nick Maxwell and the superb Heath Shaw marked everything in the backline and hit targets on the rebound. Rocca kicked another from well beyond the fifty. Fraser was playing his best game for the year. Didak kicked two more goals and looked the match-winner.


Carlton were not done with – they kicked four for the quarter and, although Collingwood kicked seven, the Pies held only a one-point lead. But the writing was on the wall. The Pies were fitter, faster and when arch-defender Shane Wakelin somehow sharked his first goal in Collingwood colours midway through the last quarter, you could feel the air go out of the Blues. From there, it was party time, and even Cloke got in on the act, kicking three in five minutes.


One of them came courtesy of the extraordinary Didak, who found the ball in his hands while lying on the ground. Looking behind him, Didak bicycle-punted the ball over his head into the arms of a shocked Cloke. The big forward was never going to miss after that.


Collingwood went from a team of hacks to prodigies – a cross from the boundary line into the goal square by fifth-gamer Brad Dick was so perfect that the running Tarkyn Lockyer could easily have headed the ball through.


The margin got out to 38 points. Carlton got a couple back, but I was leaning back in my chair with a huge grin of relief. Collingwood were 5-2, Carlton were 2-5. And all was right in my 10-year-old’s view of the world.



Collingwood:   1.6 4.11 11.15 17.17 (119)

Carlton:             5.2 8.6 12.8 14.11 (95)



Collingwood: Didak 4, Cloke 3, Rocca, Fraser 2, Pendlebury, Swan, Toovey, Thomas, Wakelin, Lockyer.
Carlton: Fevola 4, Lappin 2, Betts, Kennedy, Carrazzo, Young, Simpson, Waite, Russell, Fisher.



Collingwood: Swan, Fraser, Pendlebury, Maxwell, Didak, Cloke.

Carlton: Murphy, Carrazzo, Scotland, Bentick, Walker.



Goodwin (Adelaide) 200 games.


Wenn (umpire) 200 games, Simpson (Carlton) 50 games.


McBurney, Wenn, K. Nicholls.






Swan (Coll.) 3, Fraser (Coll.) 2, Pendlebury (Coll.) 1


Swan (Coll.) 3, Lockyer (Coll.) 2, Carrazzo (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.



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