Jul 23, 2018
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Eighteen
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.
St Kilda (57) vs Richmond (111)
The tone was set early in this one when the umpires almost immediately handed Dustin Martin a goal via a free kick.
There was no incident that triggered the free kick, the umpires are just huge fans of the Brownlow Medallist and wanted to give him some confidence early on.
The first half went on to be more one-sided than Sky News, as the Saints managed just two goals and the Tigers executed one of the slickest training runs you’ll see on prime-time television.
It was nice to see the Saints make an appearance after halftime. Unfortunately, I imagine the vast majority of people would have flicked onto Netflix by then and didn’t notice.
The second half was a bit more competitive, in that the Saints gave it a real go with the heat out of the game and the Richmond players chatted amongst themselves while they waited for the final siren to sound.
At least those that stuck around for the second half got to see Jack Steven boot a ball out of mid-air without grabbing hold of it in the forward pocket and send it straight through the big sticks.
How freakish was it? Well, the degree of difficulty was up there with people not adding an ‘s’ onto the end of Jack Steven.
In the end, the ease at which the Tigers brushed aside the Saints showed how big the gap is between them.
How bad has the Saints season been? Well, the only positive you can take out of it is they are not Carlton.
Collingwood (130) vs North Melbourne (64)
Like the T-1000 in Terminator 2, Collingwood keep coming no matter how many serious injuries befall them.
Against the Kangaroos, the Pies just cruised, piling on six goals at the start to take all the heat out of things early.
Collingwood’s Scott Pendlebury found the game so boring he began looking for other challenges, like bouncing the ball off a pigeon, regathering and continuing his run.
Not many players can bounce a ball off a pigeon and get it back.
After the game in the media conference, Pendlebury asked if the pigeon was ok.
“It was fine,” said a journalist.
“That’s a shame I was trying to kill it,” responded Pendlebury, his cold expression unchanging, as a prolonged silence descended over the media conference.
Everyone knew they were in the presence of a man who would as soon kill them as look at them.
Finally, to break the ice, someone asked Nathan Buckley was happy to get a win without the beard, but Buckley just blinked help me in Morse code.
At least, that’s how I like to imagine the media conference went; I didn’t actually see it.
The loss is a big blow to North Melbourne, who after spending the first half of the year proving everyone wrong, seem to have changed tack and are now attempting to prove everyone right.
Sydney (64) vs Gold Coast (88)
No one tipped this result, not even Stuart Dew.
After 11 losses in a row, the Suns entered this looking like a team unlikely to win another game this season.
Instead, all these players no one knows the names of, played their hearts out and got the most unlikely of wins.
That short guy was great, as was the other blond bloke, not to mention the guy of roughly average height with the arms.
The co-captain that isn’t Tom Lynch was also impressive.
So bad was this loss for the Swans, that I believe they will be forced to relocate to Tasmania.
It was embarrassing. Sydney were up by 29 points after a six-goal opening quarter.
They then kicked just two more goals for the remaining three quarters. The Suns kicked eleven.
What was most surprising is the lack of interest from the Swans after the first quarter. I’ve seen more intensity from a room of stoned teenagers.
It’s hard to explain what’s wrong with the Swans.
When they win everyone raves about the young talent they've unearthed, when they lose, it’s because Buddy takes up all the salary cap and they have no supporting talent.
Both those explanations can’t be right.
Essendon (99) vs Fremantle (70)
This was a long grind, with Fremantle negating a lot of the Bombers dominance with the ball before the pure weight of numbers became too much.
Fremantle play like a boxer who knows they don’t have a knockout blow, so they defend and counter punch.
It was incredibly frustrating for Essendon who kept trying to finish them off but found themselves thwarted time and time again.
The Bombers were a man down from the second quarter when Shaun McKernan did his hamstring. He signalled to the bench, and then weirdly had to stand there for what seemed to be an eternity as no one came out to him.
Finally, one member of the Bombers’ support staff got out there, but they too had to wait for some time until another joined them to help him off.
It was a long time. There have been shorter customer service calls to Telstra.
Despite the Dockers’ endeavour, the Bombers can score, and Orazio Fantasia was the difference, with five goals.
Brisbane (88) vs Adelaide (93)
Unfortunately for the Lions, you can’t play Hawthorn every week.
Against Adelaide, their run of three wins on the trot came to an end, not that they didn’t get very close.
They trailed in the fourth quarter before launching a comeback, with the Crows down two players due to injury.
The Crows were also without Tex Walker who had been suspended for bumping Geelong’s Zach Tuohy (not hard enough if you ask Melbourne supporters).
It keeps the Crows’ thin finals chances alive, which may be crueller than the Crows pre-season camp.
As for the Lions, their fans can still be very positive about the future.
It’s their young players driving this, and they have to work out if they can fit Like Hodge back into the side.
Geelong (100) vs Melbourne (98)
Not for the first time, my Saturday night ended in tears.
To begin, this was a cracker of a game. Any neutral observer would have enjoyed it immensely.
I didn’t of course, ending the night with a hollowness inside me, colder than the void of deep space.
As I drank the rest of the night away, Leonard Cohen constantly playing in the background, tears streaming down my face, I wondered why the Demons can’t have nice things.
Melbourne should have won this, and that’s taking nothing away from the stunning blitz by the Cats midfield in the final quarter and Tom Hawkins destroying Melbourne.
The Demons once again dominated the inside fifties and shots at goal and still found themselves on the losing end.
Zach Tuohy’s goal after the final siren breaking Melbourne hearts once again.
You could point to some umpiring decisions relating to the nominated ruck rule or the protected zone as going against Melbourne, but the truth is these were probably called correctly, they are just terrible rules and have hurt every team at some point.
The fact was Melbourne had their destiny in their hands and blew it.
As I awoke on Sunday morning, however, I felt a calmness I don’t normally feel in these situations. Why? I may be that I was still drunk, but I also think that the club and most importantly the team are set up to get better.
Like the Tigers did last year, I believe, for the first time in living memory, that things will come good. This is either a profound statement or the sign of delusion to protect my shattered psyche. Time will tell.
As for the Cats, they can thank Melbourne for almost single-handedly keeping their finals hopes alive.
Carlton (52) vs Hawthorn (124)
A few Hawthorn fans told me before the game that they were a bit worried about this game.
I said, ‘why have you not watched football in fifteen years?’
It’s a shame when the most fight shown by a Carlton player last week was from Stephen Silvagni, and he finished playing in 2001.
After he defended the club to the hilt on TV, his team then turned in a first half that was bad even by their impossibly low standards.
The Blues didn’t even score in the first quarter, and it was almost a surprise when they did in the second one.
There was a lot of complaining about the lack of tagging by the Blues of Tom Mitchell, who had 46 touches and two goals. My concern Carlton though they were tagging him.
Mitchell cruised around and got the ball like someone feasting on a buffet. He seemed about as stressed too.
It was a near perfect day for the Hawks, a big win and no injuries. The only downside was Daniel Howe punching Patrick Cripps. It was an incredibly stupid act, exacerbated by how unnecessary it was.
There was about as much heat in this game as an Uber Eats meal when the driver had four other stops to make before getting to you.
West Coast (100) vs Western Bulldogs (46)
While the Bulldogs Premiership in 2016 was rightly labeled a miracle, their falling off a cliff ever since is almost as miraculous.
They were not even slightly in this at all, at times doing a passable impression of an AFL team before reverting to their more comfortable ‘half decent VFL team’ style of play.
The Eagles at no stage looked in any real danger, although Shannon Hurn could be in trouble for some of the most aggressive standing still I’ve seen outside of those African gangs that are terrorising Peter Dutton’s imagination.
Hurn’s standing saw Mitch Honeychurch run into him at full pelt and get taken to hospital.
My understanding is that Steve Hocking is already looking at banning standing in games, making laying down or crawling being the only options in the future.
That should be good, starting positions and players laying down in their own zones.
Can’t wait for someone to be pinged for not crawling out of the protected zone fast enough.
Port Adelaide (58) vs Greater Western Sydney (80)
Those sleeping Giants have awakened!
Sorry, every single article about the Giants has to have that in it somewhere, or you lose your AFL media accreditation.
Wait a second; I don’t have AFL media accreditation. I’ve never applied, and I certainly have never been offered it.
I imagine the worst bit about AFL media accreditation is you have to sit with members of the AFL media.
I prefer to be in one of those crowd brawls everyone is so fond of at the moment.
The Giants do seem to be back, with their much-vaunted midfield living up to the billing.
Despite their problems a few months ago, Greater Western Sydney have kept their hopes of choking in a Preliminary Final alive.
Port Adelaide showed that barely scoring last week was no fluke.
Without Ryder, Dixon had to play in the ruck, and the Power supporters are discovering that Jack Watts is still Jack Watts.
Titus has a new live show ‘Manifestly Inadequate’and new dates to announce.
They are his traditional bye round tour wrapping up the 2018 season and previewing the finals.
The dates are:
4 August- Hobart
27 August- Canberra
29 August- Perth
31 August- Sydney
1 September- Melbourne
2 September- Adelaide
Ticket available here: http://www.frontiercomedy.com/titusoreily
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