Sep 24, 2018
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Finals Week Three
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 (58) v Collingwood (97)
Not since George Lucas announced, he’d be making the Star Wars prequels has something been so anticipated and so disappointing.
Thirty-eight years after they last met in the finals, this had all the hallmarks of a classic, but instead, it bombed like Craig McLachlan performing stand up on the NRL Footy Show.
This was more a mugging than a game of football, with the Pies making the Tigers look like extras hired for a disaster movie, lots of panicking and running in different directions.
Richmond’s much-respected structure and disciplined seemed a distant memory as the Collingwood side ran all over them with wild abandon.
Jordan De Goey up forward made ‘the greatest fullback in the history of time’ Alex Rance look like someone who isn’t that great when held accountable to one player and not allowed to drift wherever he likes.
Richmond’s woes seemed best highlighted by the fact a guy who hadn’t even heard of the game a few years ago run amok like Wayne Carey on a trip to Miami.
In fact, in response, the Pies supporters started chanting ‘USA, USA’, like we needed another reason to hate Pies fans.
It was a now typical Collingwood performance, quick run, sharp passing and intense pressure. There was even the traditional injury with the Pies now sweating on Jeremey Howe’s fitness for the Grand Final.
The performance was a sweet vindication for the Pies who think no one has believed in them this year, but it’s not that we don’t believe in you, it’s that we don’t want to believe this is happening, like not looking at your bank account after a night out.
The Tigers certainly weren’t helped by Dustin Martin’s injury, but this was a defeat the whole team worked towards.
At least all those Tigers fans that went early on those ‘back to back’ tattoos can simply get ‘almost’ tattooed in front.
Richmond fans simply sat there in shock thinking, ‘this is going to be hard to top for the worst performance in a Preliminary final this weekend’.
West Coast (121) v Melbourne (55)
How was your weekend? Mine was one where my worst fears were realised, which happens with alarming regularity to me.
I’d like to be able to say I don’t know how to react to a performance like this, but the problem is I knew exactly how to react.
From the middle of the first quarter to the final siren, I tried to single-handily drink all the alcohol in Optus Stadium, and it would be fair to say I got close.
There’s not a lot of point analysing the game, because there really wasn’t one.
This was a massacre, which sent a convoy of Range Rovers fleeing the stadium seeking sanctuary in Margaret River.
The Eagles were simply magnificent while the Demons were not even present enough to be bad.
West Coast did every single thing right. They were fast, exciting, tough and clinical. It was awful.
It started early on with the Demons deciding slipping over was more important than kicking goals. I’ve been to kids’ roller-skating parties with less falling over.
Who knows why the Demons were so woeful? Being there at the ground, it is a daunting place. For starters it full of Eagles supporters.
It is also the loudest sports stadium I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to a lot. The noise was like a wave that you could feel hitting you.
Melbourne, after weeks of riding emotion just seemed overwhelmed.
As the second quarter progressed, watching it became the most painful thing I’ve ever sat through, and I saw Meatloaf at the Grand Final live.
How bad did it get? Well, multiple Eagles supporters bought me beer and they were all being really nice.
It was like being at a funeral, and everyone kept offering you their condolences. I’m used to pity, but usually, I have to be on a date to receive as much as I did.
I’ve been to funerals where I’ve cried a lot less.
Thinking about it, I haven’t ever cried as much as I did on Saturday, with the possible exception of watching The Notebook.
During the third quarter, I’d moved to near a bar to be closer to my support network, alcohol.
A police officer approached and asked if I was OK. I told him I’d like to report the assault currently occurring out on the ground. With a straight face, he got out his notebook and started taking down a victim impact statement.
It was simultaneously one of the funniest and worst moments of my life.
In the end, the Eagles should be applauded, this has been a fantastic year for them and, like Collingwood, they have never been given the respect they deserve.
As for my Dees, I’m still proud of them. This season was better than I could have hoped for and just as they have fixed their mistakes along the way this year, they’ll do the same after this.
On a final note, apart from the result, it was great fun in Perth, the Eagles fans were very welcoming, the stadium is stunning, and I met a lot of great footy fans.
Despite the fact my soul hurts at the moment, I still love football.
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