The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 7 – St Kilda v Sydney: Swans ‘Gwilty’ as charged!

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!


St Kilda versus Sydney


7.15pm, Saturday, May 12


Telstra Dome, Melbourne




This game was always shaping up as a battle to please sub-editors, as the former Swansassistant coach Ross Lyon took on his old Sydney mentor, Paul Roos. I could visualise the headlines in the sports pages of the Sunday papers MASTER SPANKS PUPIL or LYON MAULS ROOS.


But that could wait for another day, as Id decided to abandon the football rat- race in favour of a corporate-dining experience at Telstra Dome. Once settled with the ubiquitous Crown Lager, I found myself surrounded by some heavy-hitting captains of industry. The pre-match talk flowed freely clash jumpers (a joke), umpires (getting worse), the Eagles (stoned), Jessica Rowe (boned), and the number of frequent-flyer points needed to travel business-class from London to Melbourne (142,000).


Any misgivings about selling out to the Big End of Town were quickly forgotten as I knocked back my first few beers. The guilt factor was completely blown away by a ripping Coldstream Hills Riesling. Conversation bobbled around our restaurant table contempt for the Qantas board over the aborted sale (too late), concern over Howards back-flip on IR (too soft), law and order (not enough).


The Swans were out before my baby carpaccio had even hit the dining table. One week earlier, the Bloods had been stunned by a hard-running Kangaroos outfit. This week they looked ready and wiser. Adam Goodes raced forward in the opening minutes and had that look of urgency in his play. Barry Hall appeared to be switched on as the Swans drew some early blood. Lyon faced his first challenge of the night: he moved Brendon Goddard onto Goodes.


At the other end, St Kilda served up Fraser Gehrig and Steven Milne their nights performance hopelessly dependent on their first couple of touches. The Swansdefence was pressed for height with no Tadgh Kennelly or Lewis Roberts- Thomson, and the G-Train blew steam early. He gained an early green flag and managed a quick conversion, as did Milne. These were very promising signs for the Saints, as the early momentum and generous eight-to-one free-kick count unsettled my cumin-infused lamb cutlets.


The game then slumped into a dire second quarter of chess movements. The crowd was at first silent and then moved to jeers as both teams held up play and flicked the ball round, waiting for an opening. I began thinking like a sub- editor myself the Saints seemed to have drawn a Lyon’ in the sand, applying the slow-grind of modern football gridlock. The Swans pieced together a dozen uncontested passes before a mis-kick opened up the play and Craig Bolton slotted one through, almost by mistake.


But the preceding strategy and goal left Bolton exposed and Nick Riewoldt made the Swans pay dearly. Riewoldt came into his own, sprinting, calling and marking. He ran Bolton ragged, his impact on the physical and spiritual growth of the Saints almost palpable. Roosey had taken control. And at last, the Saints had an open forward line and could not be held back by the Swans uber-flood.


The Saints finally scored goals through quick movement Aaron Fiora from distance, Justin Koschitzke from just outside the fifty, Gehrig from the boundary. When the unheralded Shane Birss banged home a delightful long-range goal, there were cries of not another Shane Ellenas yet another unknown Bulldogs reject covered himself in glory. By three quarter-time, the game was almost settled and the Saints made no mistake in finishing the job.


There was something significant about St Kildas win. Koschitzke looked fit and healthy again. Luke Ball and Leigh Montagna were in the thick of the action. And the Swansline-up looked disturbingly unchanged from the 2005 premiership.


St Kilda certainly deserved their celebrations. The influence of players like Gram, Sam Fisher and Montagna was impressive. But probably the greatest performance of the night was from James Gwilt. He restricted an on-song Barry Hall despite conceding considerable height and weight. With all of seven AFL games behind him, Gwilt fully deserved credit for the way he shut out the Swans captain.


Tired and emotional, I later managed to untangle myself from the corporate veil and left the ground. As the cool, crisp air hit me on leaving the warmth of the hospitality, I came up with my very own headlines for the night: CORPORATE SELL-OUT? – GWILTY. St Kildas win? GWILT-EDGED.


St Kilda 4.4 7.4 12.6 15.7 (97)

Sydney4.1 6.4 8.5 11.5 (71)



St Kilda: Gehrig 4; Clarke, Milne 2; Montagna, Riewoldt, Voss, Fiora, Birss, Koschitzke, Dal Santo.
Sydney: Hall 3; Davis, OKeefe 2; Bolton, Everitt, Schneider, Goodes.



St Kilda: Gwilt, Riewoldt, S. Fisher, Montagna, Ball, Kositzschke.
Sydney: J. Bolton, Kirk, OKeefe.



James, Ryan, Avon.


CROWD 37,816 



Gwilt (St K) 3, Riewoldt (St K) 2, S. Fisher (St K) 1.



Riewoldt (St K) 3, OKeefe (S 2, Gwilt (St K) 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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