Aug 10, 2020

AFL

AFL Mad Scramble: Day Thirteen

17 Comments

A column every day for twenty days, as we get more football than we even asked for.

Occasionally, this column will even mention football but rarely sensibly.

Last Night

West Coast (72) v Carlton (50)

Thirteen days into this festival of footy and everything is becoming a bit of a blur.

I hope you are doing as best you can. No one is really handling this well.

What drives me nuts about this whole thing is all the ads from companies making out this is some inspiring, collective experience, it’s not, it’s horrible.

Trying to put a positive spin on everything is what I find exhausting.

I prefer the saying, often incorrectly attributed to Winston Churchill, ‘If you’re going through hell, keep going.’ I add to that, ‘don’t pretend hell is some wonderful interesting experience.’

Keeping going is all we’ve really got, but the good news is it will get us there.

‘There’ of course being the footy or the pub. How I long to sit at the bar talking nonsense with someone about footy.

Those nonsensical conversations are all I long for. These days the only conversation you get, via social media, is people arguing from increasingly set positions.

‘Daniel Andrews is a fraud and everything he has ever touched has been a disaster’, or ‘Daniel Andrews is a god living among us and has never made a mistake and my cousin who had terminal cancer was cured simply by touching his North Face jacket.

It’s a bizarre time. What I don’t get about politics, is people who are true believers never admit fault with their own side, and if they do they say ‘well the other side did the same thing but worse.’

Contrast this with footy fans. We are no less delusional or fanatical, but every footy fan I know has a very realistic view of their own club.

I was talking to a Carlton supporter recently and they said ‘Carlton are the greatest club in the AFL. They then went on in great detail about how badly run it is and all the mistakes they’ve made over the last thirty years.’

I feel the same about Melbourne, I love them, think they’re the best club in the competition and all that, but at the same time recognise they are an ongoing disaster that will make this COVID pandemic seem short lived.

Footy fans can do this, bag their own club without feeling they are a traitor to the cause, people that barrack in politics do not.

If I acted like political barrackers do about Melbourne, I would not only claim we have done everything right over the last twenty years, I’d argue Tom Scully and Jack Trengove have proved themselves to be better selections than Dustin Martin.

No wonder normal people stay away from politics in the main, the people on both sides are nuts.

I’m glad there is footy to travel alongside us us, every distraction is welcome at the moment.

Before Covid, I never realised days could last months and months, years. Now every hour feels longer than Carlton’s rebuild, but unlike that enterprise, the hours do finish.

The Blues started off really well in this, and when they were up by 19 points early in the third quarter, Carlton fans knew there and then that they had lost.

It was more predictable than Sam Newman saying something controversial to get some media attention.

The Eagles had Dom Sheed to thank for them staying in the game before they got their act together.

He said during the week that a mate of his texts him each week to remind him West Coast could have drafted Patrick Cripps instead of him.

That must really burn, when all Sheed has to comfort himself is a premiership medallion and the memory of kicking the game winning goal in a Grand Final.

Poor guy.

Melbourne (92) v North Melbourne (35)

I must admit that I was very nervous when I saw Max Gawn was being rested, but I hadn’t factored in just how bad North Melbourne are.

They are terrible, and Melbourne were too for large stretches of the game, as both teams put on a performance so amateurish that if it was repeated at an Auskick game, the parents watching on would rightly boo their own kids.

The only point worth discussing is whether the skills, or the decision making was the worst bit about the game.

Time and again, players from both sides would make a terrible decision, like deciding to handball to a teammate who was about to get smashed, only to then miss the handball, resulting in their teammate getting smashed anyway while the ball would sail over their head to an opposition player, who would then fumble it.

They couldn’t even execute their own terrible decisions. Extraordinary.

The only real difference was the Demons are fitter, so North began tiring and then Melbourne ran all over them.

Both teams face real problems now. North’s problem is they are eye wateringly inept. If Adelaide didn’t exist, they would be the worst team in the league by a fair bit.

Melbourne’s problem is they’ll take a false sense of security from beating the two bottom sides.  Two in a row! Their social media trumpeted, like this meant something.

If they serve up what they did in the first half of this game against an even mildly competent side, they will get smashed so hard it will make the Victoria economy look in good shape. 

Today

St Kilda v Geelong (G) 6:10pm Foxtel

I should add, the umpiring over the weekend was truly terrible. The holding the ball rule is a disaster, while throwing the ball seems to have been legalised while we were not watching.

The umpires share some of this blame, but they’re also being asked to do ridiculous things at the moment, so it’s no wonder they are as confused as the rest of us.

I always imagine that when it comes to telling the head of umpiring about his new ideas for rules, Steve Hocking comes across like Mr Burns telling Smithers to get in the model of the Spruce Moose.

“I said, hop in.”

Being an umpire is hard enough, but it must be nigh on impossible when your employer is passing on rules that are destined to make you even more hated.

As for this game, the Saints can take another big step towards proving they are the real deal with a win against the Cats.

The problem is, Geelong are always tricky.

Tipping this is hard, as these short breaks makes it very difficult to know how a team will be on the night.

At least that’s my excuse for my terrible tipping, despite the fact it was just as bad when teams had normal breaks. But that’s just facts and I’d appreciate it if we all just ignored them, as is the fashion with uncomfortable truths these days.

Saints to win.

Fremantle v Hawthorn (OS) 8:40pm Foxtel

I know this is on late because it’s being played in Perth time, but staying up to watch Fremantle v Hawthorn is a big ask.

And yes, before Western Australians write to me pointing out the timing of there games are always awful because of the eastern states, I know this and sympathise with you.

I will probably watch this all, but only because I can’t sleep these days. It seems sitting around doing nothing all day delivers the wonderful combination of you being both tired all the time but also unable to sleep.

I have a fond spot for the Dockers, after they beat Collingwood, and if they beat Hawthorn here it would be a wonderful gift in a tough time.

The Hawks have been pretty bad this year, but many people thought they turned it around last week, only for people to point out it was against Carlton.

Either of these teams could win this game, I’m tipping Fremantle, but I hope no one reads that as a vote of confidence.

At the moment I’m barely able to work, so you can help support me in producing this ridiculous nonsense I churn out on a regular basis. It’s greatly appreciated. Find out more here: https://titusoreily.com/support-titus

COMMENTS

Fat Side

Aug 10, 2020

Nicely put Titus, that sounds like my life - can't even execute my own terrible decisions!

Andrew Pelechaty

Aug 10, 2020

I’m loving the regular Simpsons references (and sharing them to the Tenuous and Obscure Simpsons Facebook group); in these tough times, you can count on The Simpsons to make everything better.

I support the far-middle in politics

Aug 10, 2020

Strongly agree your points about politics. At some point in Australia (possibly starting in mid-70s but increased exponentially in the late 90s), the political narrative became “our side is always right and the other side are wrong and demon-spore”. In football parlance, the political narrative became playing the wo/man not the ball. I’ll call it...when an Australian media baron, became a US citizen to further his business empire but still felt it appropriate to use his publications to loudly cheer for his best interests and to personally denigrate the opposition, then Australia lost the ability to debate the ideas. Wasn’t helped by most politicians thinking an election is ‘a battle for them to win and then get the spoils’. Their priorities become 1. Their party, 2. Themselves. 3. Australia. :(
Go the Blues :)

Brian McPalaszczuk

Aug 10, 2020

Well Titus, you're the one that decided to start shoving your inner-city lefty political commentary into all parts of your podcast. Now you've decided that you don't like politics and barrackers on both sides are idiots. That's a bit liking giving up on footy because you just realised that you've been following a terrible team.

Antonio

Aug 10, 2020

Thought my eyes were failing re throwing the ball.

Carolyn

Aug 10, 2020

Your reference to time is, well, timely. And next thing you know it's bin day. I've been watching the Storm games - what with their 2 point field kicks and Aus Rules players throwing the ball, round the neck, in the back and endless tackles it's getting harder to tell the difference.

Dylan

Aug 10, 2020

Hey Brian - you don't like the podcast? Go back to listening to the riveting sensible tones of Mark Latham or Alan Jones.

Holden Broke

Aug 10, 2020

"I’m tipping Fremantle, but I hope no one reads that as a vote of confidence."

Don't worry, Titus. No true Dockers supporter would ever admit to being confident of a win.

The golden rule is: "Are the Dockers 70 points clear of, say, Carlton with less than 10 minutes to go? There's a good chance Freo might win this".

Pete

Aug 10, 2020

Titus, what's your opinion on the way the players constantly spin the ball in their hands as they approach a set shot kick for goal? It's crept in over the past five or so years at the same time the goal kicking has become woeful. The greats like Tony Lockett always held the ball steady as do today's recognised best kicks (Gunston, Bruest, Brown) and you would never let a kid learning do it. So why aren't coaches telling the players to knock off this habit? Can't do any worse surely?

The g train

Aug 10, 2020

Yeah, politics. I reckon a pragmatic and truly democratic centrist organisation should run the country. Something akin to The AFL. Maybe The AFL can register as a political party and hopefully win the next federal election? As Nelson Mandela said: “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, it has the power to unite....Sport can create hope, where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments...”. The AFL can offer all of this, and in spades. Vote 1: AFL. And for the second time Titus, please STOP hyping up St Kilda and even suggesting they may be the “real deal”. Just stop it.

Keith

Aug 10, 2020

Onya Titus, spot on as usual. The North v Melb game was excruciatingly bad for all the reasons you mentioned. Clearly modern coaching is about hoops and other bits of plastic to run around. Why don't they practice the actual game, you know, kicking and hand balling!

Anthony Smith

Aug 10, 2020

Further to the name of Bailey theme raised recently:

No wonder Melbourne’s Fritsch is so wayward when kicking for goal – he spells his name with a ‘y’ (- Bayley) whereas the other names listed in the comments section the other day were all spelt with an ‘i’ (– Bailey).

Flank Rroyd Wlight

Aug 10, 2020

'At some point...the political narrative became “our side is always right and the other side are wrong and demon-spore”. '

There's also the argument that voters have become increasingly liable to base their choices not on who's right or who's wrong, but on who's good and who's bad. So they're allowed - even encouraged - to throw logical analysis to the wind. This helps explain many of the election results we've seen globally in recent years.

Mac Hawk

Aug 10, 2020

'I support the far-middle in Politics"
You had me until you closed with "Go the Blues" Now I realise that everything you said is shit and that Rupert Murdoch really does have my best interests at heart. In Clarko we trust ! Always Hawthorn ! One fallen soldier stands up for another !.....or something like that.....Lest we forget !.....or should that will read - at least we forgot 2020.

The Dude Abides

Aug 10, 2020

Hey Dylan , I love an intelligent , irreverent political/sporting discourse but it seems , as a paid operative of Sleeping Giants, you may be a tad oversensitive.

If you are, as I suspect, a Hawthorn supporter you are going to be torn between watching two of the most overpaid and irrelevant performance artists this evening: Jonathan Patton from 8.40pm or Paul Barry from 9.17pm.

Love your work Titus!

WARNEy

Aug 10, 2020

Mate, the start was some of the more pithy observations about politics that you have come up with.
Sadly your review of the Melbourne game was just shit, bar some tips Melbourne played exactly like a better side should and North was facing a 100pt flogging.
Take a rest, get a sub, your playing like VDB, a hammer in search of a nail.

SAint Peter

Aug 10, 2020

To "I SUPPORT THE FAR-MIDDLE IN POLITICS". Absolutely spot on.

To Titus. Never pick the Saints again. Especially when we play old teams. They have bigger bodies than ours & treat us like boys. I call them bullies & they should be all suspended for scaring us.

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