The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 7 – Geelong v West Coast Eagles: Questions answered!

 

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 www.footyalmanac.com.au. Follow the season!

 

Geelong v West Coast

 

1.10pm, Sunday, May 13

Skilled Stadium, Geelong

 

JOHN HARMS

 

This match was always going to be about the Geelong Football Club. Win or lose, it mattered far more to the Cats. Their erratic season had been put back on track by the 157-point drubbing of the poor old Tiges the week before, in a game that told us very little. But this was the contest that mattered: against the premiers, at home, when questions were being asked of them.

 

If theres ever a good time to play the West Coast, this was it. The Eagles were perched comfortably at the top of the ladder, Dean Cox was missing through injury, and they had no real reason to throw every feather into the match. A loss on this most difficult of road trips, at this stage of the season, had no dramatic consequence.

 

On the terrace, Geelong fans pondered the mind of their erratic coach, who just seven days before had been staring into the abyss. The Richmond win had bought him some time.

 

But what would be his strategy now? Did he trust his players? Would he allow the Cats to play open, free-flowing footy? Or would he tighten up, as he had done against Hawthorn? Would he engineer a seven-all draw by three-quarter time, and play for the points in the final stanza? The terrace, as always, wanted him to let the boys play; let them take the game on.

 

Bombers first decision won approval: he asked Mark Blake to contest the opening bounce. The bean-pole deserved this reward after dominating against Richmond. He has become a crowd favourite.

 

The opening minutes were listless, as if the post-brunch doze in the warm sunshine had spread to the field. The Cats lacked intensity. They kept turning the footy over, and chased tails. Joel Corey chased Judds tail. Ling chased Kerrs tail. And Matthew Stokes, playing in the forward pocket, chased Wirrpandas tail.

 

There were some real concerns as the turnovers continued. It was starting to feel like one of those deflating Geelong days (deflating Geelong seasons). But Matthew Scarlett looked determined, holding things together while the others settled, and up forward Steve Johnson was creating opportunities, bringing teammates into the game, and thrilling the crowd.

 

Scarlo is an erratic character. Some days he is the school kid made to sit in the corner: careless and carefree, pissed off and resentful. Other days the game matters to him and he chooses to be a leader: capable, responsible and reliable. Throughout the first half he was even inspirational.

 

Johnno is also erratic. But he is the catalyst; the creator. He started poorly: he was caught with the footy, while finessing. But he soon got into the game, recovering from a marking contest to pounce, and snapped across his shoulder with the left, for a brilliant goal. If he had two decent ankle joints and a half- decent liver hed be one of the premier players in the league. At the moment he remains a novelty.

 

For the Eagles, Darren Glass controlled the last line of defence, Wirrpanda continued to run off at will, and Judd was getting away from Corey. For Geelong, Jimmy Bartel was everywhere.

 

Geelong looked the better side, although it seemed every error resulted in a goal. The Cats tackled and ran, and nearing half-time the Eagles looked tired. Judd was even caught holding the ball. There was a rare moment of confidence on the terrace: We should win this.

 

After the break, the Cats exploded. Gary Ablett, who had been well contained by Adam Selwood, produced 15 minutes of scintillating footy, emerging from packs, making the play, and kicking two goals, the second a two-iron drive from 60 metres after latching on to a handball from Blake.

 

The Cats controlled the ruck all day. Brad Ottens played with real conviction and Blake just keeps improving. The crowd was willing him to kick a goal. Johnno, who has a feel for the spirit of footy, laid off to him. Blake agonised over his set shot from 30 metres until he produced an awkward drop punt that started at the right goal post before hooking so quickly that it hit the left. The crowd laughed (affectionately). It was becoming a celebration. We were smashing the premiers.

 

At seven goals clear, the faithful were trying not to think of the disaster of last year when we lost from 55 points up. But the Eagles fought back and when they got to within four goals the mood became sombre. No one dared say a thing. This was going to spoil Mothers Day in particular, and life in general.

 

But the Cats steadied with goals to Nathan Ablett and Cam Mooney. And it was all over.

 

The questions had been answered. Ling stopped Kerr (who didnt touch the footy in the second half ). Bartel played a superb game. Geelong had many contributors.

 

The terrace sang. Geelong had taken the game on and played footy. Proper footy. And that meant a lot to us.

 

Geelong  4.4 6.8 11.12 16.13 (109)

West Coast  4.2 5.5 5.9 10.10 (70)

 

GOALS

Geelong: Mooney 4; N. Ablett 3; S. Johnson, G. Ablett, Ottens 2; Varcoe, Stokes, Bartel.
West Coast: Hansen 3; Rosa 2; Braun, Hunter, Hurn, Priddis, Judd.

 

BEST

Geelong: Bartel, Scarlett, G. Ablett, Blake, Ottens, Ling, Enright.

West Coast: Judd, Wirrpanda, Glass, Braun.

MILESTONE

Wojcinksi (Geelong) 100 games.

 

UMPIRES

Stevic, Allen, Nicholls.


OUR VOTES

Bartel (G) 3, Scarlett (G) 2, G. Ablett (G) 1.

 

BROWNLOW

Bartel (G) 3, G. Ablett (G) 2, Judd (WC) 1.

 

CROWD

22,014

 

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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About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and footyalmanac.com.au. He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three kids - Theo13, Anna11, Evie10. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst three. His ambition is to lunch for Australia.

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