The Footy Almanac 2007 Week 2 Finals – North Melbourne v Hawthorn: Watching from a rugby state

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 Hawthorn

7.30pm, Saturday, September 15

Melbourne Cricket Ground



OH, NO. THIS WON’T DO. THIS WON’T DO AT ALL. I looked around the pub that had been recommended to me as being “good for AFL”. I’d only moved to Sydney six weeks prior and had imagined a venue bustling with southern- state expats draped in team scarves; a place where umpires weren’t called refs and everyone ordered pots (and were served middies). It was 45 minutes until the first bounce and I was sharing the bar with overweight men in Wallaby jumpers (as common in Sydney as burkhas in Kabul) and a flotilla of plasma screens with racing results.


No. This won’t do. I got myself home quicker than an Eddie McGuire denial of conflict of interest. I perched on the couch, opened a stubby and pulled on my beanie. Come on, Kangas.


The MCG looked magnificent from 800 kilometres away. I turned the volume up as if to bring the crowd closer to me. The game started frantically with North’s Aaron Edwards and Hawk Jarryd Roughead kicking goals within the first minutes. The ball flew from end to end with both teams trying to establish some rhythm.


Hell, even I was trying to establish some rhythm; there was so much to take in. Brent Harvey was getting smacked around off the ball. Lay off him, Hawks. Aaron Edwards took the screamer of his life. I relished every replay. He had his kicking boots on, too, had Aaron. The veterans, Glenn Archer and Shane Crawford, were getting plenty of it, setting the tone for their respective sides. And North’s Josh Gibson had picked up Hawthorn star, Lance Franklin. Gibson on Franklin? Not Shannon Watt or Michael Firrito? What was Dean Laidley up to? I had read earlier in the day a distressing Franklin-as-the-new-Carey article in the Australian which had ruined my breakfast. But Gibson was up to the task: by quarter-time Franklin hadn’t had a kick. He’d also given away five frees and North were eight points up.


Which was the margin at half-time, too. North had the run of the play in the early stages of the second term but weren’t making it count on the scoreboard. For the Kangaroos Drew Petrie and Jess Sinclair were having some impact while the terminally under-rated Daniel Harris was having a great half. Brady Rawlings was doing a fine job minding Luke Hodge. But the Hawks were resilient, with Franklin finally getting his first goal (from a set-shot, 45 metres out on the boundary line, on the wrong side for a left-footer… if you don’t mind) at the 19-minute mark, and a Chance Bateman goal moments later. It was a gritty, tough first half. I needed a cigarette.


The early signs weren’t good for North in the third quarter. Brent Guerra kicked truly for the Hawks four minutes in and, had Franklin done likewise a moment later, Hawthorn would have snatched the lead. He sprayed it. Blessedly, goals to North’s Hamish McIntosh and Scott “Sonia” McMahon settled the nerves. I gave thanks to the lure of sunny beaches and the promise of streets cluttered with gold nuggets that had brought the sons and daughters of Scotland to Australia’s shores.


As we entered time-on, a curious jumble of emotions descended upon me. North’s Edwards received a soft free-kick for having his arms chopped. His arms were as chopped as western Tasmania’s trees circa 1750. A goal for North. Minutes later Harvey enjoyed the benefits of a ludicrous 50-metre penalty that put him 25 metres out from goal. A goal for North. Soft. Very soft. Had I been watching the game with a Hawthorn supporter I would have muttered something about umpires being fools and even thrown in something derogatory about the Rules Committee. I’ve liked to think of myself as magnanimous in such situations.


But I was alone. Suffer Hawks. Go Roos.


I knew, though, that the last quarter wouldn’t be easy. A 17-point margin can be gobbled up quicker than a pill at a dance-party. The Hawks wouldn’t let this game slide. North had been shaky in final terms this year. Was I right?


Happily, I was Mr Wrong residing at 1 Incorrect St, Falseville. The last quarter was a snack. Harvey made the term his own and kicked three goals. The Hawks became rattled, weary and began turning the ball over. North kept finding space and their disposal by hand and by foot improved immeasurably. A Daicosian goal from Daniel Wells in the final seconds iced the cake. We’d won our first final in seven years.


I sang along, joining in the chorus with the television, and went to bed thinking of Port Adelaide. They hadn’t been that good against the Eagles. We could do them. Sure we could.


When I awoke on Sunday I found some cheap fares on-line and booked myself a flight to Melbourne on Grand Final day. North will be there. I will be there, too.



Kangaroos         3.3          5.5          9.7          14.9 (93)

Hawthorn            2.1           4.3           6.8           8.12 (60)



Kangaroos: Edwards, Harvey 4, Grant, McIntosh, McMahon, Petrie, Swallow, Wells

Hawthorn: Franklin 3, Bateman, Boyle, Guerra, Lewis, Roughead



Kangaroos: Harris, Gibson, Rawlings, Harvey, Edwards, Grant, McIntosh, Simpson, Wells

Hawthorn: Sewell, Lewis, Croad, Bateman



Vozzo, Rosebury, McLaren



Harris (K) 3, Gibson (K) 2, Sewell (H) 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

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