The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 9 – Carlton v Adelaide: Carlton’s wastefulness opens the door

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!



Carlton versus Adelaide

2.10pm, Saturday, May 26

Telstra Dome, Melbourne




THE WORD EFFICIENCY was not in the vocabulary of footy commentators when I was a kid. In those days efficiency was a word used in earnest and important discussions about the irrigation of cabbage in the Lockyer Valley, the production of Cortinas at Broadmeadows, and the management of the Mater Hospital in Brisbane. It was a word used in commerce and industry, in government departments and human organisations.


Yet, while watching Adelaide do enough to secure victory over the Blues, the word that kept coming to mind was efficiency. Despite having a dozen players out through injury, the Crows used their resources to sufficient effect to win the game. When opportunities arose, the Crows took them. Carlton had as many opportunities, maybe more, but were neither organised enough, nor skilful enough, to make the most of them.


Adelaide is an efficient football team. Neil Craig has systems in place. His players trust these systems and they know that if they get enough of the football, the structure they assume, and the precision of their handball and foot-passing directed at players who run to the best positions will yield enough scoring opportunities to win the game.


Much has been made of Craig’s background as a sports scientist. And, from all reports, he is not one to build an approach based on instinct, gut-feeling, and anecdotal evidence. But you don’t have to have a Ph.D. to understand some of the theories he uses. Like getting numbers around the ball. Like handballing to blokes who are moving, and better still, moving in the direction of their goals. Like timing your run so that you are calling for and receiving the footy at the optimal moment.


For a while in this match, however, it seemed that efficiency wasn’t going to be enough for the Crows. Passion looked like triumphing. In perfect sunny conditions (the roof was open), Carlton started brilliantly. Jarrad Waite took control up forward. He flew, roved his own pack, and dished to Heath Scotland for a brilliant goal. Soon after he led and marked for another. And when he intercepted a handball, faked an opponent, took a bounce and hit Lance Whitnall on the chest for another goal, the Crows’ box was shuffling the magnets on the board.


The second term bore no resemblance to the first whatsoever. The Crows started to win the clearances. Every time they had clean possession they moved the ball forward with precision. It was a classic case study of efficiency. By contrast the Blues’ granulated confidence was dissolved by a few drips. They know who they are. Dumb decision after dumb decision. Fev had the sooks. By half-time the game looked over.


The crowd was delighted to find it wasn’t. After the break Waite took control. He sneaked clear, marked and goaled. Then he won a tough contest, handballed to Fev for another, and took an absolute screamer for yet another. After yet another mark, he had the chance to kick his fourth for the quarter but missed.


The Crows were under pressure. They had to dig very deep to stick with the exuberant Blues. Up forward, Luke Jericho and Jason Porplyzia were given additional responsibility and responded. Ben Hudson was strong in the ruck.


Thompson, Goodwin and Shirley knew they had a game on their hands. Especially when Anthony Koutoufides started to win the footy. Every one of Kouta’s disposals were creative, and his roved goal from the top of 50 had fans thinking of 1995 (tearily). It was a fair dinkum contest.


Carlton began the last quarter playing with real belief. The crowd lifted. The players lifted. Fisher kicked a goal. The Blues went forward again. Waite crumbed, baulked, had time to put the jug on for a cuppa, and missed from 15 metres. A goal would have put his team in front. The behind levelled the scores.


The game turned into a cracker. End to end. With tired players trying to find the spirit to keep running; to keep choosing the best option. Carlton made the play. Andrew Walker ran into goal on a tight angle and at the last moment passed from 30metres to Waite– who spilled the mark. Waite is a cigarette paper away from being a match-winner. He is so talented you hope that one day he’ll kick nine, realise he has it in him, and never look back. This could have been the day. But it wasn’t. The Crows countered, the final link in their chain a pass to Scott Welsh one-out inside fifty. He got away, marked, and goaled.


Again the Blues won the footy but Luke Blackwell couldn’t see Fev, who was 40 metres in the clear. They kept pumping the ball forward but twice Marty Mattner outmarked Brad Fisher in classic one-on-one contests. They were what old-time commentators called “telling marks” in the last line of defence.


Carlton had to keep attacking to peg back the Crows, so turnovers cruelled them. Welsh had the entire fifty arc to himself. He led and marked and kicked truly.


The Crows won a very entertaining game of footy. Carlton showed they’re not far away.


They just need to be more efficient.



Carlton  5.2 5.4 11.11 12.14 (86)

Adelaide  2.5 8.10 12.12 15.15 (105)



Adelaide: Welsh 4, Porplyzia, Jericho 3, Reilly 2, Shirley, Perrie, Bock.

Carlton: Waite 4, Fisher, Fevola, Koutoufides 2, Whitnall, Scotland.



Adelaide: Thompson, Goodwin, Shirley, Jericho, Hudson, Mattner, Knights.
Carlton: Waite, Koutoufides, Simpson, Lappin.



Bock (Adelaide) 50 games; Carrazzo (Carlton) 50 games.



Hartlett (Carlton).



Donlon, McBurney, Head.



Thompson (A) 3, Waite (Carl.) 2, Goodwin (A) 1.



Thompson (A) 3, Shirley (A) 2, Waite (Carl.) 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

About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and 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 (appeared?) on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three school-age kids - Theo, Anna, Evie. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst four. His ambition was to lunch for Australia but it clashed with his other ambition - to shoot his age.

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