The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 7 – Port v Richmond: Port go to the top

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 Richmond

2.40pm, Saturday, May 12

AAMI Stadium, Adelaide



RICHMOND CAME HERE IN Round 8 last year in similar circumstances. Smashed by Sydney by 20 goals in the previous week, they played Adelaide, 6-1, at the top of the ladder and appeared to have no chance. This year, smashed by Geelong by 26 goals last week, they faced Port, 5-1, second on the ladder.


Last year’s match was memorable. Richmond jumped Adelaide early for a two-goal lead and defended that lead for three quarters with the most intensive use of non-contestable football we have seen. Against an Adelaide side renowned for playing keepings-off, the Tigers had 79 more uncontested marks and 53 more disposals for a lousy three-point victory.


People remember that weird game. It generated much debate at the time: was it a great victory, or the end of footy as we know it?


With Richmond in the very same predicament people wondered whether they would climb out of last week’s slaughterhouse using that same tactic. They had to get in front early. You can’t kill a game if you’re behind.


There was no wind, no rain and no dew.


Mark Williams hit the ground running. He loaded centre stage with his best players – Brendon Lade in ruck, the two Burgoynes and Chad Cornes. The first goal, through Lade, took less than 60 seconds. The second, through Damon White, came a minute later. Terry Wallace’s Plan A was all over. If he wanted
an early lead to defend for the rest of the day, he lost that game in the opening two minutes.


This was a strange game to watch. In the first three quarters, Port exploded from the gate with early goals, and then lapsed into errors to finish each quarter with another flurry of goals. All their scoring in those quarters happened in early and late bursts, like the careers of most noted singer-songwriters, novelists or serial lovers. There was little to remember in the middle.


Richmond dipped their heads with tentative, error-riddled and incompetent football. They had no faith in forward movement. And the clanger count was high for both sides. The Tigers needed three quarters to graft five goals. Matthew Richardson was out of position, out of touch and out of temper. Kane Johnson worked hard to force the ball forward for little return. The Port defence was solid, clearing easy balls, but it mounted few effective attacks. Port fiddled around as if they were a team that believed in its own superiority without feeling the need to prove it.


Pennant players in any sport who find themselves playing against an obviously inferior opponent would recognise this feeling: that you play at your best against the hardest of your opponents and you play your worst against the duds.


As if they were fearing a blast from the coach for their apathy, Port turned it on in the final minutes of each quarter. The Burgoyne boys, like many indigenous stars in the AFL today, love the classy plays, rather than the Robert Harvey- sustained-hard-work mode. Peter is accused of being a lazy footballer, preferring one-handed pick-ups to bending down and putting his head over the ball. But this isn’t laziness. It’s just a different way of doing things.


Suddenly we saw sensational pack-busting plays between the two Burgoynes, Danyle Pearce and Nathan Krakouer. A Lade tap in defence to a moving Shaun Burgoyne became a fast handball to Peter, also on the move, who got it to Pearce who handballed it to Krakouer who, still too young to think that he had earned the right to have a shot at goal (like the very young Andrew McLeod), passed it quickly to another forward.


Those passages of play took something like three or four seconds and moved the ball past 20 players at a speed faster than a coach’s ability to choreograph it or, for that matter, Rex Hunt’s ability to call it.


With his team 10 goals up at the last break and clearly dominant in every aspect of the game, Williams decided not to go for a 20-goal victory. He played people out of position, rested his match-winners, and forgot about percentage. Richmond nearly doubled their own score in that last quarter through Pettifer, Richo and Deledio. That gave Wallace a skinny peg on which he could hang his sorry hat.


Port went to the top of the ladder with this victory. Now Williams has to contain the arrogance of his youth for harder battles ahead. Tanking that last quarter from the coach’s bench was a start.


Port Adelaide   5.5 10.16 14.16 16.19 (115)

Richmond  3.2 3.9 5.12 10.18 (75)



Port Adelaide: Lade 3; White, Motlop, Rodan, Pearce 2;
P. Burgoyne, Tredrea, S. Burgoyne, K. Cornes, Lonie.

Richmond: Pettifer, Deledio, Schulz, Richardson 2; Polak, Tuck.



Port Adelaide: C. Cornes, Lade, White, K. Cornes, Lonie, P. Burgoyne, S. Burgoyne, Cassisi.
Richmond: Johnson, Pettifer, Foley, Bowden, Tivendale.


MILESTONE:  Deledio (Richmond) 50 games.
UMPIRES:  Farmer, Rosebury, Grun.

CROWD 26,232

OUR VOTES:  C. Cornes (PA) 3, Lade (PA) 2, White (PA) 1.
BROWNLOW  Lade (PA) 3, P. Burgoyne (PA) 2, Lonie (PA) 1.




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


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


2007 Footy Almanac

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