The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Fifteen | Titus O'Reily

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The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Fifteen

Footy is a passion, not some cold hearted, spreadsheet 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.

Melbourne (50) v Sydney (85)

This week, Melbourne’s players were either injured, drunk or belting people. They were more bad 21st party than footy team, and the result proved that.

We spent last week debating how out of character Bachar Houli hit on Jed Lamb was.

This week, they’ll be no such similar debate. If you had to guess which Melbourne player would punch someone in the head and you knew Jesse Hogan wasn’t playing, you’d guess Jordan Lewis.

But your next guess would be Tomas Bugg.

Everyone is in agreement that Tom Bugg’s hit on Callum Mills was very much in character.

As well as being a low act, it was also a spectacularly stupid one, given the previous week. He really should get a loading of two weeks for idiocy.

Sydney dominated this game, as the Demons struggled to contain their midfield. Only the Swans terrible accuracy at goal gave Melbourne any hope of staying in touch.

It means the Swans are now very much in the September hunt. It turns out you can take the first month of the season off and still make it work.

Western Bulldogs (80) v West Coast (87)

The reigning premiers playing West Coast at Etihad Stadium. Finally, an easy game to tip. But there are no easy tips this season. This season is out to ruin your tips and you. Yes, you personally.

Especially when the Bulldogs are playing at home against a team that travels worse than tired toddlers.

It took until the Eagles had a thirty-point lead in the third quarter for the Bulldogs to even realise the game had started.

Their fans had certainly noticed the game had begun a few hours earlier and had been trying to let them know by yelling at them.

Once the Bulldogs woke up, they gave winning a real crack, coming back with fighting fury before Nathan Vardy stopped them just short.  

There are certainly question marks over the Dogs premiership defence. For instance, they made Jack Darling look like the best player in the game. Even Eagles fans thought that odd.

For West Coast though, this was a great win. Losing at home a few times meant they had to pinch a few on the road if they’re to stand any chance of staying in the eight.

With this win, it’s safe for the Eagles players to fly home.

Carlton (77) v Adelaide (89)

There’s a lot to like about Carlton. I mean, not the club, or their fans, or any of the people involved, they’re all awful, but as a football team, they are heading in the right direction.

Brendon Bolton said he has no interest in honourable losses, which I read as meaning he prefers ‘dishonourable wins’. How quickly he’s adopted to the Carlton culture.

Against the Crows, a team with a lot more talent, the Blues worked hard all day, even after falling behind early.

Considering many thought Carlton wouldn’t win a game this year; the Blues are certainly a team that makes you earn a win.

The Crows at times this season have looked like a team that’s not so keen to earn a victory, so in many ways, this was a pleasing performance.

Sure, they didn’t boot one of their 140-odd totals, but they won on the MCG against a team that never gave up.

In this weird season, it no longer matters how well you win, just winning is a bar many can’t jump.

Gold Coast (118) v North Melbourne (99)

Even though he hates them, the Gold Coast help deliver a win to Gary Ablett in his 300th game.

Ablett, of course, contributed 37 disposals to the win, in a sign that he is far from done. He obviously isn’t aware that you’re meant to decline as you get older.

I know I’ve certainly declined in every area as I’ve got over and it was off a very low baseline, to begin with.

In pleasing news for Suns fans, Tom Lynch returned to form with five goals. Let’s hope Lynch has got everything working again, although we can’t rule out it was just the fact he was playing the Kangaroos.

North started off terribly before mounting a late challenge which fell short. It showed another way the Kangaroos can manage not to win. They’re creative in that regard.

North now sit 17th on the ladder and may be the most frustrating team in the league.

They don’t feel like the second worst side in the competition, but I guess they’ve earnt the right to be called that.   

Greater Western Sydney (68) v Geelong (68)

Whoever is writing this season must have watched a lot of Lost growing up. Just as you think you’re about to learn something that will fill in some of the gaps, nothing is resolved, and everything gets more confusing.

This game was at least meant to give us some sense of who is better out for two serious premiership contenders, so of course, we get a draw.

Both sides had a lot of outs, so this probably wasn’t a fair representation of what a meeting in September between these two would be like.

Pleasingly, for other supporters, there were lots of negatives for both sides to take away from this game.

For GWS, letting the Cats get a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter when playing at home makes their claim to the premiership seems as shaky as ever.  
Despite coming back, if Tom Hawkins had kicked a goal after the siren the Giants would have recorded an embarrassing loss.

Geelong will be rueing missed opportunities. Leading by twenty with eight minutes to go, while hardly a sure thing this season, should get a premiership team home.

At least both teams will get a lot of players back, and in Geelong’s case, their young players seem to finally be stepping up. Won’t it be great to see Geelong finally taste some success?

Port Adelaide (63) v Richmond (76)

Port’s inability to beat the top sides has long been discussed and it turns out they can’t beat Richmond either.

Are the Tigers a top side? There seems to be a body of evidence building that they are, but my tiny brain still struggles to accept it.

Richmond fans certainly deserve some September success. Like any group of people who go through traumatic events on a regular basis, you hope things turn for them at some point.

We’ll all feel good for them too if it happens, even though we’ve taken far too much pleasure in watching their world regularly fall apart.

I watched this game with a Richmond supporter, and it was fun watching them when the Tigers looked headed for another disappointing loss. It became less fun as the Tigers turned things around, to the point I stopped filming them altogether.   

This game was so mistake-riddled, it had more physical comedy than a Jim Carey movie.

In the third quarter, Richmond managed to reduce their errors from ‘unrelentingly’ to ‘only fairly regularly’.

That was enough to overrun the Power.

Port’s terrible goal kicking certainly didn’t help and the fact they are so soft inside they should be a flavour in a box of Roses, was highlighted again as Dustin Martin just ran over them.

Oh, I forgot to mention that Alex Rance is the greatest defender ever, as required by legislation

Essendon (82) v Brisbane (90)

Now, to the best of my knowledge, Etihad Stadium has a roof. It’s a trade-off for it having a terrible surface. One of the great benefits of rooves, in fact, all solid objects, is they can be used to deflect the Sun’s rays.

The Sun is a sphere of hot plasma at the centre of our solar system. A portion of the electromagnetic radiation given off by the Sun reaches us here on Earth in the form of ‘sunlight’.

Almost all this sunlight streams directly into Etihad Stadium, and when it hits the eyes of players and fans, it tends to blind them, temporarily at first but permanently if they keep looking at it.

It turns out, being blinded by the Sun produces some awful football, not that these teams always need any assistance from nature.

The AFL, in their quixotic wisdom, decided not to close the roof, despite knowing full well that not doing so, turns the stadium into a sun temple of which the Maya would have been proud.

Why? Well, the AFL always prefer complex fixes rather than simple ones, and simply shutting the roof is so simple a solution, they’ll never do it.

Anyway, solar blindness issues aside, this was an entertaining match. Essendon appeared to be cruising towards an easy win and seem surprised when the Lions midfield started to offer some resistance.

So surprised, that they watched on as the Lions kicked six of the last seven goals, recording a morale-boosting win for the young team.

To win in Melbourne, against a team like Essendon means everything to the Lions.

It’s like seeing a green shoot in the desert. There are finally some signs that footy in Brisbane may be slowly coming back.    

An apology from me too. I misjudged the Essendon marketing department.

When the laughably tried to position this season as some sort of ‘Comeback Story’, we all assumed they were still delusional about what happened at their club.

It turns out after the past few weeks; they were talking about their opponents. I got that wrong.

Hawthorn (118) v Collingwood (94)

I thought we were safe. I’d begun sleeping at night, and people said commented that I no longer looked like someone on the cusp of having a joint stroke-heart attack.

But now Hawthorn are in touch of the eight.

I’m not too worried yet. Hawthorn played so poorly that Collingwood had to help them out to win.

But the danger is there, like a great white circling beneath, sure you’re in the boat, but I’ve seen Jaws, I know what can happen.  

The Nathan Buckley era seems to be over. While sad, we opposition fans probably got two more years of it than we could have ever of hoped for. Any other coach who inherited a good side and drove them south would have been gone long ago.

Imagine if Bucks hadn’t been a club legend, a good media performer and regarded as a nice person? He would have been Collingwood’s, Mark Neeld.

There are still some that think he is a good coach, like Japanese soldiers, stuck on an island, unaware the war is already over.

What is true is this mess isn’t all of Buckley’s making. From the decision to replace Malthouse, to the list management ever since this has been a collective stuff up but will Buckley be the only one who pays for it?

Michael Walters (80) v St Kilda (89)

Credit to St Kilda, who only a few weeks ago looked like meekly exiting finals contention.

Now, after getting across the line against Michael Walters, they remain in the hunt for September glory.

Walters had 32 touches, 18 of them contested and kicked 6.2 in a performance so exciting that it was shocking that it was occurring in a Fremantle jumper.

The Dockers lost Aaron Sandilands in the first quarter after he’d already been out for six weeks and he won’t play again this season. It’s not surprising that hamstrings that hold up a person the size of a tree might struggle from time-to-time.

St Kilda created plenty of controversy during the game, with Jake Carlisle pushing Haydn Ballantyne when he was on the ground after a heavy fall. The Fremantle fans were filthy with Carlisle, but their booing said, ‘we’re angry but understand it’s Hayden Ballantyne.’

Nick Riewoldt also faked a free kick when the ball was thrown back to him after a free while the umpire wasn’t looking, so he didn’t catch it and pretended it wasn’t returned properly to him.

Some would call it gamesmanship, but those people are awful, it was a low act. Not Tom Bugg low but still a low act.

Still, the Saints won’t care, this was a hard-fought win, with Sam Gilbert stretchered off the ground.   

For the Dockers, this was the signal to start training for AFLX.

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Holden Broke 3 July 2017

Nick Riewoldt - it's not clever, or cheeky, it's cheating.

Mr B 3 July 2017

As an Eagles' supporter, I rarely feel any sympathy for the Shockers, but Riewoldt deserves a spanking for this one. It was very poor sportsmanship, out and out cheating.

Con 3 July 2017

I agree entirely.. unsportsmanlike. Brett Harvey did same against WCE in Tasmania.

Con 3 July 2017

I agree entirely.. unsportsmanlike. Brett Harvey did same against WCE in Tasmania.

Ian 3 July 2017

No it's not

Dion"Woosh"Turner 3 July 2017

For the Dockers, this was the signal to start training for AFLX. Love it!

The Shag 3 July 2017

Brilliant as always Titus, keep it up!

Margotdeepa 3 July 2017

Comeback Story, very funny indeed. I don't know who Essendon are asking to comeback because if they keep playing like that.

The umpires did their very best to completely confuse everyone including themselves. Must congratulate them though on getting better and better at getting worse every week.

Alistair Smith 6 July 2017

Essendon need Stephen Dank and The Weapon to come back, clearly

Pablo 3 July 2017

As a West Australian with a chip on each shoulder (well balanced) I get that it's our god given right to boo and scream out ball at every opportunity.
But sometimes a contest is just a contest and after two players have tussled and fallen over, play should just go on.

Yours sincerely sitting with my head in my hands in the the second tier, Western end, left pocket at Subi Oval.........wondering what the problem is with my fellow supporters.

AndyH 4 July 2017

Not confined to WCE fans. 'Ball' has replaced 'Yamug' as the football match call for everything.

OscarDolly 3 July 2017

Was there anything more awkward than watching BT 'warmly' welcomed into the Sydney rooms after the game? Like having the in-laws round and you can't get rid of them.

Don Henley 3 July 2017

I loved the fact that he didn't detect that everyone was taking the piss, and he appeared to genuinely believe he was being welcomed. Even Bruce said he thought it was a waste.

MN-S 3 July 2017

SO awkward, Swans didn't want BT there, BT didn't want to be there, zero insight into game = awful TV, Oh that's right C7 Friday night footy...

Fully Dee 3 July 2017

How many fans abhor the deliberate out of bounds interpretation, yet howl for a free kick when the ball goes out? Just emboldening the AFL and their f*#kstick rule changes.

Michelle 3 July 2017

When my team is playing, I'll take any free the ump deigns to give. But outside of those 2 hours I resume being a rational human and will agree that the out of bounds rule is a joke.

saywat 3 July 2017

Bugg bringing out all the low blows now he cant throw any punches on instagram

Barry Quirk 3 July 2017

While not condoning the Houli's or Bugg's, with 50 umpires on the field these days surely they can start penalising the scraggers, at least the ones with their backs to the ball.

Richorama 3 July 2017

Not sure how much footy you've watched Barry, but Callum Mills is hardly a scragger.

Suzie Spence 3 July 2017

Sigh. As a life long Dees supporter (I'm 52) I was about to get optimistic until Hogan, Watts, Jones, Garlett and now Viney and Tyson all pull up injured. Not to mention Tom Bugg losing the plot for one nanosecond completely and possibly being out for 6. At the risk of sounding like an arrogant Hawthorn supporter, my great great great Uncle is Tom Wills. Lucky that statue of him at Gate 1 is a statue or he would've fallen over at the poor old Dees rotten week.

Mr.D. 3 July 2017

The GWS Geelong game had everything that's right and wrong with the game. Superbly fit, brave players in fierce contests. Fitful, erratic sometimes quality umpiring. Fitful, erratic kicking, excusable only if you had a full time job outside football. Sublime ( if brief) passages of play (usually involving Dangerfield). A slippery ball on a slippery ground that randomises opportunities and defeats skill ... and finally ... finally that awful blend of rugby and wrestling that blights the modern game.

Josh 3 July 2017

Cale Hooker's man bun yanked out while he was celebrating a mark that had been called to play on after being touched was the highlight of the weekend for me.

Mark 3 July 2017

Now I know I will open my self up for howls of "excuses, excuses" but does any one expect that a team that has to play 4 matches in 18 days including a trip to the far side of the moon would 1. win, or 2. not start getting a lot of injuries?

People talk about bad grounds, poor high performance coaches etc etc being to blame for injuries but no one seems to look at frequency of games...

No matter who the team is that cops it, the possibility of getting such a horrendous draw should be abolished from the game.

Vic Parkes 3 July 2017

"Excuses! Excuses!" he howled.

Bombers piss-taking. 3 July 2017

Are Essendon just taking the piss by playing Mark Baguley? Is this part of the NDIS funding or something? He makes Zac Dawson look almost good enough to play in the half-time Auskick game. No player in history has officially cost his team 3 wins in one season, until now. Even Brent Stanton is shaking his head in disbelief.

Pancho Pete 3 July 2017

How much does Bruce love Hawthorn? If they do make the finals and Cyril's back the mute will be the most pushed button in the nation.

Boris 3 July 2017

Warning to all : Do not attempt to eat a bowl of pumpkin soup whilst reading Titus' work. My tablet's now orange.

Marcus 3 July 2017

"Michael Walters v St Kilda" hahahahaha
A week is a long time in football!!

patricii 3 July 2017

I am still concerned Titus that Nick Davis as Swans goal kicking coach is too focussed on his love of fast food-39 behinds in a fortnight! That is an answer to a methane challenge!

GungpaDin 3 July 2017

can someone please do something about the CH7 commentary or whatever it is supposed to be - a basic understanding of the rules (get Gary Rihan to explain the diving rule you muppets) bi partisan calls, no screaming and that throwback of an ex player but class A grub Carey all must be exorcised from our screens - surely a paragraph a week from Titus would be a start

Craig 3 July 2017

Eddie, the favourite son thing just doesn't work, let it go mate, your killing us !

Davo 3 July 2017

I greatly enjoy your column, Titus, in spite of the anti-Freo comments, but did your proof-reader take a holiday this week? e.g. Rooves? Or was it a ghost writer this time?

Al 7 July 2017

I just saw an earlier comment berating Titus for using the word 'rooves'. It is the plural of roof although not used much anymore. In my childhood (1st) a horse was said to have 'hooves'.

Bloke from the outer 4 July 2017

Anybody defending Reiwoldt's low act - just replace Reiwoldt with Ballantyne and tell me you still approve. Always liked Reiwoldt - great, great player - but he should hang his head in shame.

Gungpadin - Class A grub, so true. Don't watch Talking Footy because he's on it (oh and BT, little Mr Smarmy pants (whatever his name is), Watson - we didn't do anything wrong, and that tall muppet with the presence of a mannequin). Apart from them I'd be all over Talking Footy. Then again there's always the racist, sexist blokey, blokes to watch on CH9. Wayne Carey almost looks OK (almost).

Bloke from the outer 4 July 2017

Pablo, Lived in Perth for 2 years in the 90s. Had to stop going to the footy, the bias was just too over the top. You can take some comfort though, its worse in SA.

Al 7 July 2017

Most refreshing to see a writer use the word 'rooves'. Congratulations.
Please don't write 'watched on'. It is an American barbarism.
I like your work.

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