Sep 10, 2018
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Finals Week One
Footy is a passion, not some cold hearted, spread sheet dominated rational exercise.
On a Monday, you want irrational reaction. You want emotion to trump reason.
What you really want is idiotic hysteria.
You’ve come to the right place.
Richmond (95) v Hawthorn (64)
Once a Tigers’ final was a chance to have a good laugh then settle in for a week of the club tearing itself apart, with the fans calling for more blood to be spilt than a Mayan human sacrifice.
Now, the opponent is the sacrifice, and the result is rather terrifying for the rest of us.
The Tigers did what they do on the MCG, strangle their opponent while Dusty throws in a few party tricks that defy the laws underpinning our reality.
It was certainly strange to see confident Richmond fans sitting next to nervous Hawks supporters during the night, like seeing the Sun out at night.
When Dusty kicked his rather astonishing goal from the boundary, you could sense the Richmond faithful relaxing in the knowledge that this was probably going to be their night.
The idea that Dusty has saved his best for finals is going to keep me awake at night, as well as the idea that Richmond supporters’ happiness continues to grow like some newly released primeval force that will one day sweep all before it.
Hawthorn didn’t seem even close as the game progressed.
Like that one time I went on a date, under pressure the Hawks crumbled when it mattered most.
An aversion to contact, little accountability, excessive sweating and having way too much to drink beforehand is what got me, and I can only assume the Hawks as well.
Hawthorn’s night wasn’t helped by the fact Ben Stratton went off with a hamstring injury.
After the game, Alastair Clarkson said to the media “you guys are like a bunch of sheep.”
He was forced to offer an apology to sheep afterwards.
Melbourne (75) v Geelong (46)
I remember the day a fire alarm went off at work, and before realising it was a drill, I ran screaming, down ten flights of stairs while crying hysterically, only calming down several days later when police found me huddled behind a dumpster several suburbs away.
The reason I tell that story is I still had more composure than these sides did on Friday night.
There were missed shots everywhere, kicks hitting opponents on the chest, simple marks dropped and Joel Selwood losing his cool and taking away the small amount of momentum the Cats had built up.
With no real composure to speak of it all came down to pressure, and Melbourne piled it on like a side who had twelve years of pressure behind it.
Every time a Cats player got the ball a Melbourne player was there to at least harass them and often tackle them hard.
The few times the Cats seemed to be on the way back, they’d be a missed goal, or Joel Selwood’s brain snap when he gave away a free on his way off the ground, just as Hawkins was taking a shot on goal, effectively reversing that and giving the Dees the ball back on the wing.
While giving a free away at that point was ill-disciplined, it was the bravest ill-disciplined free kick I ever saw.
As the Melbourne faithful began to realise they weren’t just in the finals but might win one, the rattle of jewellery was deafening.
Personally, it was easily the greatest night of my life, going right past the time I got an extra serve of fries at the Macca’s drive thru by accident, and when I got home Die Hard was on.
Melbourne will now face Hawthorn on Friday night in a match that will tear private schools apart this week.
Sydney (30) v Greater Western Sydney (79)
The Battle of the Bridge turned out to be more of a light skirmish as the Swans forgot to pack any firepower.
Calling it a contest would be misleading; let’s call it a get together to officially declare the Giants the winners.
Sydney’s problems were so extensive it would be easier to list what went right:
- End of list
Perhaps worst of all was the Swans forward line which worked about as well as Ticketek. It was intermittent at first before pretty much shutting down entirely.
John Longmire said afterwards, "We just didn't get anything right," which was the first sign of accuracy from the Swans all day.
The Giants had winners all over the field, with Phil Davis’ job on Buddy Franklin the best example.
Even Josh Kelly going off early with a knee injury had no discernible impact.
Toby Greene returned from his hamstring injury doing all the Toby Greene things, kicking goals and people.
The Swans will now wonder what happened all off-season, while the Giants travel to the MCG to play Collingwood, giving them a chance to actually win over the hearts and minds of Victorians.
West Coast (86) v Collingwood (70)
In the one good game of the weekend, the Pies and the Eagles gave us everything you could want in a final, momentum swings, multiple lead changes, high pressure and Collingwood losing in heart breaking fashion.
The Eagles got off to a flying start, but the Pies have shown all year that they annoyingly never give up.
Collingwood’s run was insane, and the Eagles were on the back foot for long periods of the game.
The Eagles hung in there though, having to overcome an equal free kick count of 23-23, which had the crowd booing at the unfairness of it all.
As the Pies tired, the Eagles started to run over the top of them, and you could sense the pressure as Channel Seven kept showing Eddie McGuire losing his mind in a manner that would normally result in people texting that number to report anti-social behaviour.
As West Coast went ahead, there was an air of inevitably about it, as the home crowd cheered on the Eagles.
The final quarter was mainly dominated by the Eagles intercepting the Pies and then scoring on them, making the loss sting all the more.
The Pies must now face the Giants at the MCG. If they lose that, Eddie will be trying to have the Giants kicked out of the competition before Buckley hosts his post-match media conference.
You can help support me in producing this ridiculous nonsense I churn out on a regular basis. I aim to keep as much of my stuff on this site and available to everyone and not behind paywalls.
Find out more here: https://titusoreily.com/support-titus