The Footy Almanac 2007 Week 1 Finals – Port Adelaide v West Coast: Excitement, frustration, pain

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!

 

 

Port Adelaide versus West Coast

7.50pm, Friday, September 7

AAMI Stadium, Adelaide

NATHAN HOLLIER

 

THE 2007 FINALS SERIES GETS UNDER WAY on a damp Friday night in Adelaide. In Perth (where it still rains) it’s cold and wet. Rowdy, just-knocked-off-work crowds are gathering in pubs across the city. At the Victoria Park Hotel in East Perth an acoustic guitarist is, I suspect, disappointed at not having gained more attention for his innovative didgeridoo lead-in to the Oasis classic Wonderwall. All eyes are on the biggest television screen outside of Tokyo.

 

The game begins at a frantic pace which, along with the finals pressure, has a noticeable impact on skill levels. Even Judd, who is playing up forward because of his groin problem, misdirects his handball to Lynch in the goal square, costing his side a certain major. Port scores the first goal through Chaplin but West Coast, and particularly their midfield, dominate most of the quarter. They lead by six points at the first break.

 

The second quarter is hard fought and takes a heavy toll on both teams. Like First World War armies they grind each other to a standstill for little reward: West Coast manages nine points, Port ten. Port’s Salopek is felled in a devastating bump. It brings roars of approval. Shortly afterwards West Coast’s Brett Jones cops a knee to the face and is helped off to get his cut stitched up. Ominously, the Burgoyne brothers look full of running. They find the football.

 

The third quarter: the premiership quarter. West Coast surges: quick hands from Rowan Jones frees up LeCras, who goals; a lightning clearance from the centre gives Judd a chance in the goal square: he capitalises also; less than a minute later the play is repeated almost exactly. The usually unrestrained Victoria Park Hotel crowd manages to restrain itself even less.

 

But Port fight back. As Motlop, who has marked on a lead, walks in to take his kick, he looks like he’s been asked a question he doesn’t know the answer to, and fails to make the distance from 40. Peter Burgoyne kicks a signature running goal. A Tredrea set-shot from a tight angle is disallowed, the umpire saying (I think) that he had to kick over the mark. When he takes the kick again he slots it through.

 

With a minute and a half to go in the quarter Cousins crashes to the ground clutching his hamstring. Screams, of the kind usually made by trophy girlfriends in the front rows of heavyweight title fights, are heard. That looks like his season. A wit suggests, “He’ll want to get some ice on that.”

 

Motlop marks and duly puts his set-shot from close range out on the full, but takes another classic mark immediately afterwards and this time squeezes the ball through the big sticks from 15 metres out. He and his teammates go in at three-quarter time on a high, just seven points down and knowing that West Coast is hurting.

 

Port dominate the early part of the final quarter but can’t convert. Rodan plays on after a strong Tredrea tackle and kicks a goal, but the umpires haven’t called advantage. Tredrea takes the kick and misses. The Victoria Park Hotel crowd is ecstatic. But they’re disgusted moments later when a free to Kane Cornes right in front gives Port the lead. Then Salopek, back on the field after his heavy knock, takes a running chest mark and converts.

 

Things are starting to look dire for West Coast but Cox, who has been terrific, takes an overhead mark in the goal square and cuts the margin to one point. The wit’s form is slipping: “I love big Cox.”

 

 

The ball continues to fly from end to end. Port’s talented Westhoff takes an effortless one-handed running mark, goals, and does the Brett-Lee chainsaw. Brett Jones finds Rosa inside fifty. He shoots and misses. The umpire gives him 50 metres. Is the pressure getting to the umpires as well? Rosa goals.

 

A point the difference. Dramatically, Choco Williams’s wife is going into labour. In the coaches’ box, he looks like he’s steeling himself to give birth.

 

Motlop takes another fantastic contested mark on a lead. He’s muffed the kick again. West Coast have a minute to go, but panic a little from the kickout. There’s another turnover. It’s all over.

 

“Fuck,” says the wit. Men are stamping their feet and glaring around. I’m scribbling down how magnificent the Burgoynes have been and hoping no-one suddenly realises that what has always really pissed him off is blokes who sit around writing in pubs.

 

But tempers cool. Smiles break out for a toddler walking around. After all, West Coast has another chance next week and this time at home.

 

 

Port Adelaide  1.3  2.7  6.9  9.14 (68)

West Coast  2.3  3.6  7.10  9.11 (65)

 

GOALS

Port Adelaide: P. Burgoyne, S. Burgoyne, Chaplin, K. Cornes, Ebert, Motlop, Salopek, Tredrea, Westhoff.

West Coast: Judd, Lynch 2; Cox, Hurn, LeCras, Rosa, Seaby.

 

BEST

Port Adelaide: P. Burgoyne, Chaplin, S. Burgoyne, Motlop, K. Cornes, Salopek, C. Cornes, Lade.

West Coast: Waters, Stenglein, Hunter, Rosa, Priddis, Lynch, Cox, Judd.

 

UMPIRES

Vozzo, Rosebury, Ryan.

 

OUR VOTES

Burgoyne (PA) 3, Cox (WC) 2, Chaplin (PA) 1.

 

CROWD

37,750

 

 

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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