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

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The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Fourteen  

Footy is a passion, not some cold hearted, spreadsheet dominated rational exercise.

On a Monday, you want an irrational reaction. You want emotion to trump reason.

What you really want is idiotic hysteria.

You’ve come to the right place.

Adelaide (82) v Hawthorn (96)

What a crazy round of football, in arguably the most unpredictable season we’ve ever had.

This round wasn’t ‘isn’t the weather crazy at the moment?’ crazy, it was ‘shaved head Britney Spears hitting a car with an umbrella’ crazy.

Champion Data announced that up to now, 21 matches have been decided by under a goal in season 2017. Only the 1928 season had more at the same stage.

Who remembers the 1928 season? Boy, was it exciting.

I remember it because that was the year I had a nasty case of consumption and the next year I lost my potato farm in the Wall Street Crash of 1929.

Still, they were happy times.

This game gave us a hint of what was to come, with the lowly Hawks travelling to fortress Adelaide and finding the fortress was made of paper mache.

The result just added credibility to the theory that no one will win the premiership this year.

Hawthorn looked like the old Hawthorn, which was like the moment you think the mother alien is dead in Aliens but it appears back on the orbiting ship.

I should have said ‘spoiler alert’, but the movie came out in 1986. Unlike the movie, the Crows, in the role of Ripley, lost to the Alien.

Adelaide were up by 18 points at halftime but then didn’t come back out; I assume they got lost in the corridors of Adelaide Oval like a scene from Spinal Tap.

The game was also one of many affected by the ridiculousness that is the score review, or as I like to call them 'Technology Assisted Guesses'.

I swear, the rovers on Mars send back better pictures than the AFL's goal review system.

Sydney (86) v Essendon (85)

In a week the AFL started talking up AFLX as a ‘high octane’ and ‘exciting’ version of the sport, this game proved they are building a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.

In fact, ‘building a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist’ could be the AFL’s slogan.

This was a truly breathtaking game, and it snuck up on us. In the fourth quarter, it seemed the Bombers had wrest control of the game from the Swans, who appeared to have stuffed things up royally.

Essendon though were determined to prove that snatching defeat from the jaws of victory was not something reserved for Richmond.

In a display of slapstick comedy not seen since the silent movie era, the Bombers proceeded to let Sydney score the last 20 points of the game in the final eight minutes.

In a scene unlikely to make his epic movie, Brendon Goddard managed to make a couple of huge mistakes in the last minute. They were so bad Goddard didn’t even try to blame them on a teammate.    

When Gary Rohan took a mark in the goal square on the siren, Bombers fans looked on in horror. How had they managed to stuff this up? How indeed.

I’ve watched the last few minutes a few times, and like a magician’s trick, I still can’t figure out how it was done.

After the game, there was controversy when the Swans didn’t allow Brian Taylor roam around their rooms. BT lost it on air as a result.

What struck me as strange, was that BT seemed surprised a group of people didn't want to spend time with him. I would have thought that was an iron-clad law of the universe.

The most surprising thing to me is it took until Round 14 for a team to put an end to the footballing equivalent of the drunk uncle annoying everyone at Christmas.

Collingwood (62) v Port Adelaide (93)

After this game, Buckley said the Pies were not giving up on finals. I suppose there’s not much else he can say, at least publicly but giving up on finals seems to be the club’s master plan in recent years.

To be fair, the Pies have a lot of injuries but then drafting people like Daniel Wells makes you wonder if they can always use that as an excuse.

On a positive note, the loss keeps our collective dream of the Pies missing finals again very much alive.

One tactical mistake the Pies made in this game was letting Robbie Gray do whatever he wanted.

Gray booted five and regularly found himself in so much space he must have wondered if the siren had gone and he just hadn’t heard it. Even when he had a Pies defender hanging off him, he still managed to conjure up something.

Port now sit in fourth position and don’t seem to be getting all the hype other teams like Melbourne currently are. I suppose there are benefits to being in Adelaide.

Even a quick scan of the Chinese media reveals a surprising lack of hype, in fact, no mention of Port Adelaide at all.

Can the Power win the premiership? Sure.

Anyone who finishes in the top eight this year is probably a legitimate chance. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if a team outside of the eight wins it by coming out of the crowd WWE style on Grand Final day.

Brisbane (86) v Greater Western Sydney (146)

In a season so even, it must suck being a Lions supporter. While everyone else is a chance on any day, Brisbane are a beacon of predictability.

You could see the look of concern on the four people in attendance when Dayne Beams went off in the first minute.

This is why you bring an iPad loaded up with Better Call Saul episodes to a Lions game.

Greater Western Sydney, then proceeded to run all over the Lions, the gulf in class on display was like when Luciano Pavarotti did that duet with Bryan Adams.

The Giants sure can beat up a bad team; the question is can they do this consistently against the top teams?

If the competition were won on talent alone, they’d be easy favourites but footy, like life doesn’t always go to the most talented, which is good news for most of us.

Unfortunately, it’s often won by hard work, and hard work is awful.

Hard work is something to be avoided, like Brian Taylor in your change rooms.

Western Bulldogs (107) v North Melbourne (106)

Stop the presses! North Melbourne lose a close game!

If getting closest to a win without winning was a sport, the Kangaroos would be the Michael Jordan-era Chicago Bulls.

On Saturday night, these two put on an error prone but exciting game, in which the Bulldogs managed to secure the win while also failing to address any of the concerns people have about them.

Leading by 26 points early in the fourth quarter, the Doggies looked like that had done enough, but this is season 2017. In season 2017, you have never done enough.

It’s like a difficult partner in that sense. Nothing is ever good enough.

The last quarter was full of controversy, with the umpires doing all they could to get the Bulldogs over the line.

In one instance, Shaun Higgins used up his full 30-seconds taking a shot at goal and was tackled. Instead of the umpire next to him telling him that he’d used up his time, the umpire 40 meters away did.

That’s just crazy. What was the umpire close to him doing? Can he not count to 30, so left it to the other umpire?  

It was part of a 26-14 free kick count in the Bulldogs favour.

Obviously, North can rightly be annoyed; the Bulldogs got the home field advantage even though this is North’s home too.

West Coast (96) v Melbourne (99)

Not many of us had thought a Drew Petrie-Tom McDonald shootout would be one of the more exciting games of the season.

Partly that was because Tom McDonald is a defender and Drew Petrie retired last year, yet here they were, duelling it out like two 1980s full forwards.

The Eagles, of course, are unbeatable at home except when they aren’t, which is actually quite often at the moment.

Melbourne just wouldn’t give up on this one. Even when Clayton Oliver caught the most vicious elbow seen in AFL, the Demons just picked themselves up and fought on.

Now some people say he staged, but that’s nonsense. Oliver is not only not a stager, but he is also the greatest person who ever lived. Trust me; I’m not biased about these things.

Without Hogan, Jones and Watts, it fell to Jack Viney to almost singlehandedly drag the Demons across the line. He was everywhere, kicking goals and running into people. One of the scariest sights on a footy field must be Viney running at you full tilt.

The Eagles are now in a fair bit of trouble. Listening to Perth radio was interesting, it was just people ranting and making crazy claims. So, like all talk radio really.

Geelong (74) v Fremantle (72)

In the opening minute of this, Joel Selwood was knocked out, and despite being out for some time, he got up and jogged off.

While I always question the life choices of someone who willingly gets hit in the head a lot as a career, there’s no doubt Selwood is a tough nut.

Surprisingly, for someone with my personality, I haven’t been knocked out too many times so I don’t know if I could do the same. I did once stub my toe, and instead of walking it off, I went back to bed for a few days.

Without Selwood, the Cats just got on with their usual game plan, that is not playing the first half, then relying on Patrick Dangerfield to fix everything. Weirdly, it is often a winning strategy.

I guess paying off a new stand means you can’t hire full-time footballers, so you rely on casuals and part-timers. They’re much cheaper now that those pesky penalty rates have been cut.

Fremantle got so close in this one that they looked almost like a functional AFL side.

They came so close to winning it too, with a Michael Waters attempt at goal just missing in the dying stages, making this a painful loss.

Still, Fremantle were facing a side with only one man left on the bench and will be kicking themselves they let this go, although based on this they’ll probably miss.

Richmond (84) v Carlton (58)

It says a lot about Richmond that this win was met with a great sense of relief. The Tigers have shown a rare creativity for manufacturing losses this season. In fact, that’s the only manufacturing still occurring in this country.

In this, the Tigers had control for most of the game and kicked away when it mattered. They did kick away inaccurately though, booting 11.18.

While it took a lot of the comedic potential out of the game, the footy gods, like all great torturers, always know when they’ve pushed Tigers fans to breaking point, and they pull things back for a while.

Overall, this was a game of errors, Carlton looked way below their recent levels of intensity, and Brendon Bolton looked far from impressed after the game.

Bolton certainly doesn’t like losing. He’s like Alastair Clarkson in that regard, Bolton just has a nicer smile and less punching things.

St Kilda (103) v Gold Coast (72)

In a weekend of exciting games and countless highlights, there was also this game.

It was awful, with the only loser being the very soul of football.  

Gold Coast are rubbish. Here they had their season on the line, and they just phoned it in. They just didn’t seem that interested.

Lacking Gary Ablett didn’t help but welcome to season 2018 Suns fans.

The Suns did have a lot of other injuries, but it’s a long-term pattern of behaviour from this side, no matter who is playing.

Tom Lynch was held goalless again. You could give credit to Nathan Brown, but I like to think he was ruined forever last week by the World’s Greatest Defender, Liam Jones.

Despite how ugly it was, the Saints win puts them back in the eight. Their challenge now is to stay there, based on this performance, I wouldn’t get too comfortable if I was them.

Today I announced a new tour. Come see me in the bye weekend before the finals. All the details are available here.

You can help support me in producing this ridiculous nonsense I churn out on a regular basis. My aim is to keep as much of my stuff on this site and available to everyone and not behind paywalls. Find out more here:


Marc 26 June 2017

"In a scene unlikely to make his epic movie, Brendon Goddard managed to make a couple of huge mistakes in the last minute. They were so bad Goddard didn’t even try to blame them on a teammate." - Pure gold. Had me reaching for my pretzel bowl.

Mark 26 June 2017

What the hell is your deal with Bristles. >:(

Will 26 June 2017

His uncanny knack of being the worst?

Mark 26 June 2017

BT provides solid entertainment in a sport that is bereft of good people in the commentary box now that Dennis has retired.

CaptainFatNavel 26 June 2017

This is an attempt at irony, right?
Best stay out of this space and leave it to Titus.

Mark 26 June 2017

Nope, I'm completely serious.

P-Man 26 June 2017

"Solid entertainment" of the "what a GOAL!!!... it's touched on the line/he just misses" variety. BT's ability to call the wrong player is truly exceptional.

Simon 26 June 2017

I think Basil gives him a run for his money in that dept

Anonymous 26 June 2017

Basil is just terrible
The other is just an extremely large embarrassment

Stephanie 26 June 2017

He's the worst commentator. I don't know how he hasn't been fired 10 times over by now.

Bear 26 June 2017

He's an embarrassment to the Human Race not just Football

Holden Broke 26 June 2017

Unaccountably harsh concerning the Dockers, as usual. Did someone from Fremantle steal your favourite toy sometime?

Matt 26 June 2017

Who points and yells when Goddard makes an error? Paradox, is who.

SAC 26 June 2017

Even if he remains unconscious til Fri, and has his jaw wired in the interim, I expect Clayton Oliver to play next weekend.

Cam 26 June 2017

A 26-14 free kick count favoring the Bulldogs!!!!
The bloody free kicks should be split down the middle - if not it just not fair. The umpires should have the ability to award 15 frees to each team and when they run out they run out. Doesn't matter that North were second to the ball all night, that's beside the point and I agree with them when they whinge. They deserve the same amount of frees whether they were there or not

Joey 26 June 2017

Couldn't agree more! Once upon a time we could even tell the umps they were getting wrong....Even about an absent team!djsa

Howard 26 June 2017

Haha, you're missing the point of the game itself...

Michelle 26 June 2017

A set number of frees each week is moronic. Imagine how dirty north would get if theybknew tge umpire wasn't going to pay any frees. The Kangas just have to try harder.

Arky 29 June 2017

Firstly, North was second to the ball more often than the Bulldogs, but not every single ball. Secondly, you can get plenty of free kicks being second to the ball... or you can when the umpires pay holding the ball and throws, which they weren't doing against the Dogs.

Any neutral could see the inconsistent umpiring in that game.

MG 26 June 2017

A new feature to the coverage was the instant slow motion when a player gets hit so that their falling gets perfectly captured. This can lead to Oliver looking like Olivier.

Bloke from the outer 26 June 2017

I remember a game in Hobart where North got 34 free kicks to 10. Nobody seemed to mind then.

Joey 26 June 2017

Could be better umps down here!

Keith 26 June 2017

Is that the game where the coach threw his arms out so much he is now being interviewed to host an Italian cooking show?

Pancho Pete 26 June 2017

The deciding factor with the two contentious last Q score reviews that went against the Swans should not have been whether the ball was touched or not but was the ball over the goal line when it was/wasn't? To my eye the ball was over in both cases and yet they were decided on inconclusive evidence that the ball had been touched as the goal umpire had very hesitantly conveyed to the field umpire. I'm surprised he didn't call Rohan's winning shot at goal touched 'just in case'.

JuliansPostie 26 June 2017

As one of the four people there, I was mildly concerned when D. Beames went off, but felt much better when I took a mark over 3 kids when R. Bewick kicked a point, squashing them as I fell over onto their seats. Not such a great day for them, but I thought I played well.

Nick 26 June 2017

"Technology Assisted Guesses " classic!

Tony 26 June 2017

Oliver should be nominated for a gold logie and should shunned by the red head community

Sleevetattsareidiotic 26 June 2017

The AFL app tells me that the Demons have the best goal accuracy in the league. The Suns have the most bounces. Lions the most frees for. Dockers the most hitouts.

We clearly need more stats, because all of those equate to nothing more than pure dribble.

I would lobby for a 'self-imposed head knocks' stat, but no-one cares, Joel. No one.

WARNEY 26 June 2017

Thanks to all the Freo supporters barracking for Melbourne on the weekend, never quite understood the depth of love they had for the Eagles until now.

So Titus, please stick to form and pick Sydney on Friday, don't you dare jinx up by jumping on the bandwagon in a lame attempt to fix your tipping.

Fully Dee 26 June 2017

I didn't think Pavarotti was that bad in the duet.

Norm Allard 26 June 2017

Give BT a break. No one but no one comes close to being the worst commentator like Luke Darcy. I'd swear be is calling another game than the one I'm watching.

Shaz 26 June 2017

So true

Daniel B 26 June 2017

So Sydney pull off one of the all time great escapes/come-from-behind wins, and all anyone can talk about is how Essendon threw it away? Give me a break.

Bristley 26 June 2017

The fact BT labelled the Swans win "bubble over" says it all. Was flatter than a bush biscuit after the siren too. Wander off BT

Stuck living in Canberra 26 June 2017

Yeay Titus - Thanks for including Canberra in your tour plans.

Guy 26 June 2017

On the weekend I consumed a full bag of pretzels by myself, it was a glorious afternoon. I then cried upon realising I emptied the bag without any assistance. I need someone like Brendan Goddard in my life to ensure these mistakes don't happen again.

Doug 26 June 2017

1. I watched on the telly the game called by Dwayne Russell and the game called by Brian Taylor and decided that if I were blind, I would have more idea about what was happening if Taylor were calling it than if it were Russell. As I am not blind, I had more idea about what was happening than either of them.
2. I attended a Richmond-Collingwood game at the MCG in either 1967 or 1968. The time clock for the quarter just ticked into the grey "time-on" piece of pie and Richmond was 17 points ahead. Five minutes later the siren sounded on a one-point win by the Pies. I blame Richmond's failure on close finishes on the legacy of Tom Hafey.
3. According to Damien Martyn, Clayton Olivier was doing an impression of Ginger Rogered.

Kevin 27 June 2017

Swans - Bombers, great game to watch. I've seen my team lose quite often so don't really mind, as that's football, even when there are rumours that the ground was heavily watered before the game.I did enjoy singing "Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye" to all the 'loyal sons a-marching' out of the SCG with 15 minutes to go. I further enjoyed watching some of those same people trying to run back into the ground when the heard their team song played. Like the Swans, but I'm not a fan of some of their supporters.

Bigusdickus 27 June 2017

Titus, loved your comments about Clayton Oliver. I'm a Demon supporter too and agree wholeheartedly. If he took a long time to actually go down it's because of his innate sure- footedness.

Gunga Din 27 June 2017

Had to endure BT and the Ch7 dribblers - funny how BT didn't yell "Orazio" as he let Rampe run uncontested to the last ball up. I suppose footy basics don't translate to YELLING. After all that at least my sanity was restored when Fox after game confirmed that the Swans dominated as CH7 had the Bombers as the team of the century.........

Kevin 27 June 2017

Was that just after he was clearly shown holding Fantasia by one arm to keep him off Grundy? Glasses? Maybe with an unbiased lense?

Gunga Din 27 June 2017

Missed it a bit like Orazio............

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