The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 8 – Western Bulldogs v Collingwood: “Good footy sides capitalise”

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!

 

 

 

Western Bulldogs versus Collingwood
2.10pm, Sunday, May 20
Telstra Dome, Melbourne
by MATT OCONNOR

 

SUCH IS THE PARLOUS STATE ladder-wise of Victorian football these days that an unofficial fixture is creeping into the game: the match to decide who is the most likely Victorian side to challenge the dominance of the infidels from the north and west. In Round 4 Essendon pinched the honour from St Kilda. Challengein this context, however, has come to mean sneaking, at best, into a preliminary final and copping a walloping in some far-flung hell-hole. But, hey, what doesnt kill ya…

 

Most pundits felt that the latest version of this consolation repechage was played out at the Dome on this Sunday, with the improving Western Bulldogs taking on the in-form Collingwood. It may well turn out that Geelong will become Victorias great blue and white hope by September, but at this point the jury is asking to see a bit more evidence. So it was that the Pies and the Dogs took to the pristine Dome surface to present their cases in front of more than 46,000 fans.

 

Both sides were approaching full strength, with only James Clement and Nathan Buckley missing from Collingwoods best 22, and Robert Murphy and Chris Grant absentees from an ideal Bulldog line-up. It was Collingwoods first trip to the Dome in 2007, with the Dogs having already played there three times. To square the ledger, the Pies had had an extra days break to prepare. A fair fight loomed.

 

And an entertaining one, as it transpired. Anthony Roccas goal inside the first 20 seconds was immediately cancelled out by Adam Cooney, playing deep in the forward line on Rhyce Shaw. Magpie debutant Tyson Goldsack (nicknamed ‘Moneybags’ by a Pie fan behind me) over-committed in a contest which saw Shaun Higgins dash away to slot a long goal into the jubilant Bulldogs’ cheer squad. Leon Davis roved at speed a clever tap from third-man-up Alan Toovey and wobbled one through at the equally appreciative Magpie end.

 

In the absence of Clement, Harry OBrien was asked to curb the explosive Brad Johnson. It turned out to be the contest of the day. Johnsons long goal to an empty square gave his side the lead. Brad Dick scooped up the spillage from a Chris Bryan tackle and snapped a goal to level the scores. OBrien then nailed Johnson in a desperate tackle after the Bulldogs’ skipper had appeared likely to add another. They stayed locked together until the bell. The identical scores were a fitting outcome to a cracking first quarter.

 

Quick goals to Nathan Eagleton and Matthew Boyd gave the Dogs an early break in the second quarter, but the Pies then wrested control of the centre square and opened supply to a grateful forward line. A six-goal burst featured a curling snap from Scott Burns after some clever work from Scott Pendlebury, and long range efforts from Davis and Alan Didak that had the Magpie fans drooling. A late Cooney goal, his third, reduced the half-time margin to 17 points, but it seemed to be a goal against the tide.

 

The third quarter was a reverse image of the second. The Pies jumped out to a 25-point lead before the Dogs responded with a six-goal burst of their own. At times like these, football at the Dome can resemble a snooker game, where one missed red leads to the opposition potting the easy ones and piling on the points. Collingwood missed a series of gettable shots, and more than once the Bulldogs swept the ball down the ground with precision to make an easy red and black.

 

And the boys from the west like nothing better than a quick dash. They are truly running Dogs. By halfway through the term most of them were off the leash. Even Jason Akermanis had discovered his old yap, toe-poking one through for his first goal then hitting the dangerous Higgins on the chest to set up another. The monosyllabic midfield of West, Boyd and Cross was feasting at the stoppages, and it was Boyd, fittingly, who put his side in front late in the term with an opportunistic goal. Ryan Hargrave capped off some good work from Brian Harris to send the Dogs into the last change 11 points up.

 

A typically laconic Pendlebury goal reduced the deficit to one straight kick early in the last quarter, but the Dogs were playing with confidence and backing themselves to outrun their opponents. Nathan Eagleton tore down the city wing with Davis keeping a respectful but somewhat mystifying distance. The bald Bulldogs pass found Luke Darcy, who kicked accurately from the same spot from which Rocca had missed the lot in the third quarter. Akermanis made the margin three goals shortly afterwards with a neat drop punt, and it was left to Higgins to add the cream with two more goals in the fading Dome light.

 

Afterwards Mick Malthouse diagnosed the source of the loss. Good football sides dont miss,he said. Good football sides capitalise.

 

Especially an easy red.

 

Western Bulldogs 5.3 8.8 15.12 20.15 (135)
Collingwood 5.3 11.7 13.13 14.18 92)

GOALS
Western Bulldogs
: Higgins, Cooney 4; Boyd, Akermanis, Darcy 2; Johnson, Hahn, Gilbee, Eagleton, Giansiracusa, Hargrave.
Collingwood: Rocca 3; Davis, Didak, Fraser, Cloke 2; Pendlebury, Burns, Dick.
 
BEST
Western Bulldogs: Boyd, West, Cooney, Cross, Gilbee, Akermanis, Higgins.
Collingwood: OBrien, Lockyer, Burns, Swan, Davis, Fraser.

MILESTONES
Lockyer (Collingwood) 150 games; Ray (Bulldogs) 50 games.  

DEBUT
Goldsack (Collingwood).

UMPIRES
Margetts, Chamberlain, McInerney.  

OUR VOTES
Boyd (WB) 3, West (WB) 2, Cooney (WB) 1.  

BROWNLOW
Cooney* (WB) 3, West (WB) 2, Higgins (WB) 1.

CROWD
46,990

 

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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