Jul 30, 2018
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Nineteen
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.
Essendon (109) v Sydney (66)
If you can’t beat the Suns, I guess logic suggests you won’t beat Essendon and so it proved for the Swans.
Any thoughts of Sydney bouncing back after that loss were put to bed on Friday night, raising the question, are the Swans just not that good?
They now sit outside the eight and look like missing finals for the first time since 2009.
There were few players for Sydney that could claim a solid four-quarter effort. They seemed to lose interest for whole stretches of the game, which I did too but I wasn’t playing.
Essendon’s early problem was they seemed to think Aliir Aliir was one of their key forwards, kicking it to him with alarming regularity.
Once they figured out he played for the Swans, they started to get on top.
A big reason was Michael Hurley, who was superb on Buddy; the last person he dominated like that was a cab driver.
Perhaps the strangest part of the night was the Swans came out very aggressively, with Zak Jones being reported twice, once before the opening siren, yet after starting it, they seem to give up and let the Bombers have the physical edge.
Like I tell people ordering a twenty pack of nuggets, don’t start something you can’t finish because if you don’t, I will.
Richmond (105) v Collingwood (77)
Both sides brought their traditional game styles to the MCG in this blockbuster. For the Tigers, it was their team defence, for Collingwood, numerous serious injuries to key personnel.
Collingwood’s injuries are so bad that even I feel sorry for them.
Matt Scharenberg appears to have suffered his third ACL rupture, something you wouldn’t wish on anybody and bigger than the loss.
Jeremy Howe was also kneed in the head by Darcey Moore (accidentally) and didn’t play the remaining three quarters due to concussion and Brody Mihocek hobble has a sore ankle and strapped head. Sam Murray also appeared to be playing hurt.
It was a miracle Moore didn’t do his own knee when connecting with Howe’s head, that would have been the most Collingwood moment of all time.
In that context, it was amazing the Pies fielded a team at all let alone stuck close to the Tigers for three quarters.
While everything was going against the Pies, the Tigers stuck to what got them to 18 wins in a row on the MCG, relentless pressure and a structure that holds for four quarters.
They’re like the bit in Braveheart when the Scots work out if they hold their formation, and not react to the English, they can defeat their cavalry. They just wait and wait until you break on them.
It certainly helps that they also have the flair to pull off things like Jack Higgins’ goal, in which he swerved around the goal post, flicked the ball into the air and kicked it through.
Some people thought it was a throw, but they’re just people who hate happiness.
You have to say after watching this, that rumours of the death of the game are greatly exaggerated.
Geelong (120) v Brisbane (78)
The Lions travelled down to old GMHBA stadium, the worst named stadium ever.
Naming a stadium something unpronounceable is probably the ultimate example of putting cash ahead of everything else.
I imagine the conversation went like this:
“Can we call it GHMBA Stadium?”
“If you give us lots of cash you can call it anything you want.”
“Won’t the fans be annoyed they can’t pronounce it?”
Tom Hawkins is currently as good as a lot of the media used to make him out to be.
Another big haul of seven goals was the difference in this, as the Lions reverted back to ‘gallant defeat’ mode and the Cats kept their finals chances very much alive.
Lions fans want wins now, not brave losses, but it certainly beats ‘unwatchable destruction’ they’ve put up with in recent years.
Gary Ablett continued to show he’s too old for this game with a disappointing 38 disposals, 16 of them contested. It’s sad watching him turn in performances like that.
Geelong’s major issue in this was losing Tom Stewart to a left ankle injury, hardly ideal given they play Richmond this Friday.
Greater Western Sydney (86) v St Kilda (61)
The Giants started this one slower than Mark Weber before kicking it into second gear and shooting past the Saints. Unfortunately for St Kilda, they were in sixth gear at this point.
The Saints first half was an example of some of the best defending I’ve seen. Unfortunately, it was against themselves, as their forward line turned repeated entries into the forward fifty into 3.10.
It was a return to the first half of the season, in which St Kilda always kept their opponents in the game.
The Giants managed to handle no Jeremey Cameron again, with Harry Himmelberg kicking four goals.
Harry Himmelberg sounds like a detective on an SBS show who solves murders in the dying days of the Weimar Republic, as the shadow of war loom over Europe.
I might pitch that to SBS later today.
Gold Coast (44) v Patrick Cripps (79)
If you can’t beat Carlton are you really in the AFL?
Given the Suns beat the Swans last week this made absolutely no sense at all.
Yet, this is the Gold Coast, a side that keeps showing you that when it comes to them, there is no rock bottom.
Carlton had only won a single game all season, in what is arguably their worst season ever, which is like saying the best vintage of Grange ever, there’s a lot of competition.
The Suns managed to let the Blues look slick, something they’re not.
Patrick Cripps had 37 disposals, 11 tackles and a goal, as the Suns players decided it was best to avoid him or you might have to try and tackle him, which looked hard.
Carlton fans celebrated the victory like they’d won a premiership and seeing Blues fans willing to talk footy on a Monday is a weird experience, like seeing a Tasmanian Tiger.
Adelaide (77) v Melbourne (90)
As a Melbourne supporter, I’m well aware my chances of dying of a heart attack are only matched by the odds of me being murdered by my household staff during the coming revolution.
Once again, my heart was put through its paces, as the Demons started terribly, slowly pulled it back, shot ahead and then almost stuffed it up again.
Melbourne started this game fumbling the ball like it was their first time at an Auskick clinic.
It said a lot about the Crows that with Melbourne playing like the school team for Mrs Mains’ School for the Gloriously Uncoordinated, they were only 20 points down in the second quarter.
The Demons were certainly helped by Paul Seedsman being out for most of the game.
What hurt the Crows was when Max Gawn decided in the third quarter he wasn’t going to let this one slip and started handing the ball directly to his midfielders out of the ruck, having a quick chat to them about where to run and then getting to the next stoppage.
The Crows came back late, they seemed to weirdly play better after the pouring rain arrived, but it was too late this time. Melbourne fans got to go to bed not questioning their life choices again.
Adelaide’s finals hopes now seem as over as their relationship with Collective Mind.
North Melbourne (81) v West Coast (41)
It turns out the Kangaroos weren’t dead, just resting.
In Tasmania, they kept their finals chances alive with a win over the second-best side in the competition.
Not that the Eagles played like the second-best side in the comp. They played like the other team from Western Australia.
Playing North in Tasmania is never easy, but it was the way the Eagles played that would be worrying. As it got physical, the Eagles didn’t seem to be able to match it.
Josh Kennedy pulling out with an injury before the game seemed to have distracted them or maybe it was the majestic beauty of Tasmania.
Yet it’s hard to imagine Kennedy’s absence or the wild ruggedness of the Tasmanian wilderness can explain this lack of effort.
North could certainly make finals if they play like this. They’ve got a pretty good run home, and if they make it, they will prove a lot of people wrong.
Not me of course, I totally backed them in this year, except for all the times I didn’t.
Western Bulldogs (34) v Port Adelaide (78)
Ballarat is wonderful in winter if wind, rain and freezing temperatures is your thing.
Oh, and darkness.
Naturally, if you’re playing in a venue with sub-optimal lighting, you make it a twilight game.
The AFL’s knowledge of how light works is not the best.
Remember in the AFLW when the lighting at Princes Park was no good? The AFL announced for the men’s game they had scheduled there that they would add more lights because there were more players on the ground in the men’s version of the game.
That means the AFL thinks you should turn on more lights if another person enters the room. Like we’re all blackholes that absorb light.
Ken Hinkley said it got so dark that he couldn’t see the game in the fourth quarter.
He said it like it was a bad thing.
Personally, I thought not being able to see this game was a blessing as the Bulldogs showed us once again that they are a really terrible side.
Once again, the Bulldogs forgot to come out for the third quarter, in a habit that’s becoming alarming.
Fremantle (53) v Hawthorn (112)
Instead of being paid a salary, the Dockers players should have had to buy a ticket if all they wanted to do was watch Tom Mitchell put on a clinic.
I’ve been pretty critical of the Dockers in recent times. It resulted in me getting one email last week from a Fremantle supporter telling me I was too harsh, only to receive another less than an hour later telling me I’d gone too soft on them.
If only the team had that level of passion.
Hawthorn, who are looking like playing finals now, dominated the Dockers from the start.
This may have looked hard on paper, but in real life, it proved nothing more difficult than an energetic training session.
In a shock for all involved, while Hawthorn scored easily, Fremantle didn’t.
Ross Lyon is like someone who keeps saying they’re going to fix a stuck door but never actually does it.
“Yeah, I know the scoring is broken, I’m going to fix it.”
“You’ve been saying that for years.”
“And I’ll be saying it until at least 2020.”
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
5 September- Brisbane
Ticket available here: http://www.frontiercomedy.com/titusoreily
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