The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 8 – North Melbourne v Carlton: Gritty display in Queensland

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!


Kangaroos versus Carlton

7.10 pm, Saturday, May 19

Gold Coast Stadium, Carrara



It’s an odd feeling to enter your home ground to watch your team play a home game and find less than 50 of your fellow supporters there. And your team is the better part of 2000 kilometres away. Such was the case at the Dome, where the Kangaroos faithful took their seats in front of the big screen at the Captains Bar, the designated drinking hole of North fans, to watch the boys take on Carlton in faraway Queensland.


North people are unused to supporting in packs. Even there, at the Captains Bar, people settled alone, in couples, or in veritable herd-like groups of three. There was little mingling. An air of introspection hung over the room as we watched the players take their positions.


In this chaotic universe, it was unsurprising to see Carlton in their home jumper and North wearing its royal-blue-with-white-V away jumper. But in the neurotically ordered world of the AFL, its baffling to see two teams in jumpers as similar as could possibly be imagined. It was a goo of blue out there.


Carlton played the better footy early: first to the ball more often, and disposal clean. To be able to kick a 30-metre drop punt precisely to a target is the principal skill required in modern football and the Bluesskills were sharp.


Brad Fisher and Brendan Fevola led quickly and were early goalkickers. Corey Jones and Lindsay Thomas were focal points for the Kangaroos while Drew Petrie worked hard around the ground. The Blues led by five points at quarter-time and appeared confident.


As if to right the wrong that North had lost a first quarter for the first time in 10 matches, Aaron Edwards and Shannon Grant kicked quick goals to put North in front. With the ball flying from end to end and the scoring high, Fox SportsClinton Grybas assured the Captains Bar that we were watching an entertaining affair”.


North had most of the play. Yet Adam Benticks goal at the 22-minute mark put the Blues back in front. Its a fierce contest at the moment,said Clinton. Carlton made the most of time-on, and after goals to Fisher and Matty Lappin the Blues led by 20 points at half-time.


Disgruntlement settled over the bar. Half the room cleared for a gasper and a few attended the poker machines. The commentators had assured us that conditions would be dewy in the second half. Will this become a commentator truism for the Gold Coast? In the way that every summer Ian Chappell reminds us of the short boundaries, square of the wicket, at the Adelaide Oval? God help us.


Condensation issues didnt trouble the Kangaroos in the third term. Thomas (who has been a heart-breaker in front of goal for much of the season), Brown and Grant kicked truly to have North a point down at the 12-minute mark. Grant and Harvey had fabulous quarters. When players of this vintage play well, a certain light returns to a North supporters eyes. We are taken back to a different time, a time when Foreign Minister Alexander Downer was nothing more than a short- term prospect and this millennium-bug-thingy sounded like a worry. Now young Adam Simpson was playing his 250th game and that made most of us in the Captains Bar feel old.


With Fevola hampered by a corked thigh, and despite the best efforts of Andrew Carrazzo and Anthony Koutoufides, the Blues were outscored by 31 points in the term. North had the momentum.


The final quarter was frantic. Entertaining stuff. Players attacked freely. Harvey, Simpson and Jones were the best for North. For Carlton, Koutoufides continued working hard, as did Heath Scotland and Luke Blackwell. Thirteen goals were kicked in the final quarter and score updates from the MCG suggested the crowd there would have killed for a game like ours to be played in Melbourne.


And, of course, we in the Captains Bar would have killed for a game like ours in Melbourne, too. North won by 17 points but as Fox Sports hastily ended its coverage and denied us the team song, we felt a little cheated.


North people enjoy the media speculation as to why such a poor, and poorly supported, club has such character and grit. But if we cant see our team play at home and the Captains Bar is to be our home away from home then, sadly, the Shinboner Spirit may simply be bourbon.


Kangaroos  4.5 8.10 15.14 22.15 (147)

Carlton  5.4 12.6 14.9 20.10 (130)



Kangaroos: Grant 5; Thomas, Brown, Harvey 3; Jones, Campbell 2; Edwards, Green, Harris, Petrie.

Carlton: Fevola 5; Whitnall, Fisher, Simpson 3; Lappin 2; Ackland, Bentick, Betts, Koutoufides.



Kangaroos: Jones, Grant, Harvey, Rawlings.

Carlton: Carrazzo, Scotland, Koutoufides.



Simpson (Kangaroos) 250 games; Saddington (Carlton) 150 games.



McMahon (Kangaroos).



McLaren, Kamolins, Meredith.


Jones (K) 3, Grant (K) 2, Carrazzo (Carl.) 1.



Harvey (K) 3, Grant (K) 2, Thomas (K) 1.



11, 649


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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  1. Colin Ritchie says

    Although this game took place a relatively short time ago, it’s surprising how quickly you forget players. The obvious ones remain of course, but in this review it mentions a milestone of 150 games for Saddington of Carlton. Now that’s a fairly substantial career but for the life of me I cannot place him! The beauty of these reviews is they enable you to reflect upon a specific time and hopefully stimulate a remembrance of those who served the game well.

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