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

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The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round One

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.

Carlton (89) v Richmond (132)

What the hell was that round? I didn’t realise it was a themed round, the ‘Ruin Everyone’s Tips’ round.

It would have been brutal this morning when you went into work and Bruce in accounts, who doesn’t even watch sport and listens to Radio National all day, got nine and asked, ‘is that good?’

Is that good? No, it is not good Bruce and turn off the radio.

This was probably one of the more predictable results if the words ‘predictable’ and ‘Richmond’ can ever be in the same sentence.

The Tigers got rave reviews after this game. It seemed to be forgotten that they were playing arguably the worst team in the league.

Dusty Martin apparently won the Brownlow in this game, according to Channel Seven’s commentary team, and added $200,000 to his next contract.

Don’t get me wrong, Dusty was terrific, but I can’t see the competent AFL sides letting him waltz around like the Blues did.

At times, Carlton players looked like spectators, disinterested spectators. They needed to take Martin out of the game but didn’t realise they could have done that by just asking him about his contract.

All I took out of this game is that the Tigers should have a good season if they only play the Blues, nothing more.

Carlton looked exactly how we thought Carlton would look, bad. Not as bad as we perhaps thought, but it’s going to be another long season for Blues fans, like all their season since the mid-nineties.  

I do think young Silvagni is going to be very good, but the older Silvagni seems to be struggling now that he’s at a club where the AFL doesn’t just hand him a truck full of first round picks each year.

Collingwood (86) v Western Bulldogs (100)

A lot of people wondered why the Pies supporters booed Travis Cloke and it’s a fair question.

Why boo him now when he can only hurt them once a year? Surely that’s a massive improvement for them?

Mike Sheahan blamed the booing on Collingwood’s ‘bogan element’. What’s Mike on about? That suggests Collingwood have a non-bogan element.

Either way, Cloke was about as effective as usual, not very, but because he’s no longer at Collingwood many in the media described it as a return to form, even though he turned in similar performances last year and was labelled a dud.

Probably the biggest surprise is that Collingwood wasn't that bad. It’s not panic stations yet, though; they’ve got plenty of games left to get back in the groove of playing awful footy.

What if they don’t though? What if they’re actually good? That’s going to keep me awake tonight, mainly because I’ll be out of material for the year and it hasn’t even started.

The Bulldogs seem to win despite 'park' being the only gear they could seem to find.

They did enough, but they lacked the slickness they had last year. It’s not surprising, people who have not drunk for ages tend to get the worst hangovers. They’ll fix a lot of their mistakes as the season ramps up.

Happily, Australia’s next anointed Saint Bob Murphy was back, and he looked good.

He is a rare footballer Murphy, and I’m not just saying that because he can speak in full sentences and displays original thought.

St Kilda (90) v Melbourne (120)

St Kilda managed to get on the ground late for this game, which is pretty poor when you’re literally in a room next to the field for hours before the game is meant to start.

Every club has a culture, and maybe the Saints have one of those cultures that can't tell time?

This game started off as you’d expect. The Demons looked lacklustre and were behind in the second quarter by 24 points. It was at this point I put my head in my hands and wondered why I do this to myself. Every. Single. Year.

Yet at some point in the second quarter, a portal to another universe where Melbourne don’t lose at Etihad as often as Nicole Kidman’s movies’ bomb, opened and the Dees kicked ten goals in a row.

How could this happen you ask? Well, it’s hard to go past the fact that Etihad Stadium is now offering four types of salt for your chips. 'Chilli, lime and thyme', 'lemon, garlic and oregano', a secret salt and normal salt.

I believe the ‘secret salt’ is what they have been rubbing on the grass for years to stop it growing. Seriously, four types of salt? When I was a kid, the most we got at the footy was Dad’s left over UDL to warm us up.

The Dees were terrific. Clayton Oliver has got me over my belief that redheads are bad luck on boats and in footy teams. While I know the science about redheads being witches or sorcerers hasn’t yet been decided, I’m now of the belief that they can be a net positive to an organisation.

St Kilda, on the other hand, seemed to drop off at an alarming rate after the first quarter. You know when Melbourne are running freely on the Etihad turf that something is worryingly wrong.

Saints fans must be wondering if this was a one-off a sign that their rebuild is not as strong as everyone thought.

Sydney (82) v Port Adelaide (110)

A lot to ‘unpack’ here. I say ‘unpack’ because I heard someone use it in a meeting and I laughed for so long they asked me to leave.

Seriously, who comes up with these business terms? I’ll tell you who, idiots who think they’re smart, the most dangerous people on Earth.

Which leads me to the fact the biggest drama was off the field in this game. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang was at this game, and David Koch, of course, gave him a Port Adelaide scarf. Not to be out done he was also given a Swans scarf, so he decided to wear both.

The Chinese premier said through an interpreter, and I swear I did not make this up said: “On this occasion, wearing two scarfs is making me really hot.”

If David Koch doesn’t trigger a global war out of his China push, we should consider ourselves lucky.

Elon Musk said he could fix the Power in 100 days and he seems to have done it. The Power were good, a phrase I didn’t think I’d need this season.

Paddy Ryder was a big difference, but Port had winners across the ground. If they keep playing like this then maybe the game in China won’t be the diplomatic incident we all expect.

One question that does arise is where was this the last few years?

Swans fans though must wonder what has happened to their team that almost won a Grand Final last year? They seemed to be always a step behind the Power and were being beaten at the contest time and again.

I blame their inability to re-sign Xavier Richards.

One thing to keep in mind is this is only round one. The other thing to remember is it is an important tradition to overreact to round one, so Swans a lock for the wooden spoon.

Essendon (116) v Hawthorn (91)

It was so great to see the club's stirring comeback from shooting themselves in the foot repeatedly for several years. To finally overcome a string of bad decision you have made, is like finally finding ‘the one’ after years of dating.

The media have reacted to the win like Nelson Mandela being released from prison, which makes you wonder if they think we’ve all forgotten why they were not playing in the first place?

I’m not saying the players should continue to be persecuted, they’ve done their time and are welcomed back but let’s not pretend this is some heart-warming story of redemption.

Essendon can be added to Melbourne and West Coast as teams that have benefitted from Hawthorn’s drunken offseason trade period. The Bombers looked good, but the Hawks also looked a shadow of their previous team.

It turns out trading away your best players does have a negative impact. I know it’s counterintuitive, but Carlton had already taught us all this lesson.

After the game is when I'm told Ty Vickery stepped up. He pointed out that this was but the first loss many and they needed to starting preparing immediately for their next loss. After his speech, Luke Hodge asked to have his suspension extended.

Are the Hawks done? Well, they always start slow, but they also used to have a lot of really good players. Perhaps most worrying for Hawthorn is it appeared they trade away the umpires for a pick in the 80s too.

At least Jarryd Roughead was back, a return that is worth celebrating.

Gold Coast (96) v Brisbane (98)

A decent Q-Clash that was worth watching, although watched by less at the ground than the AFLW Grand Final that proceeded it.

On the early game, it was great to watch, and the pub I was at was packed for it. People got into it, proving this wasn’t just a bunch of hype but a genuinely new addition to the footy landscape.

Garry Lyon this morning questioned Erin Phillips bringing her kids on the ground after the match as it could have been unsafe.

Better listen, Erin. Garry’s advice on family is always worth listening to.

The men’s game was entertaining too, especially with the Lions managing to hold on against the Suns.

Gold Coast are meant to improve this year but losing to Brisbane at home doesn’t exactly fill you with confidence that that’s going to happen.

Chris Fagan must be thrilled however that his players seemed to have picked up a few things in his short time as coach. Having a coach people want to play for is arguably one of the biggest contributors to success and not trying to get your coach fired seems to lift effort across the ground.

Rockliff was great and showed some maturity after losing the captaincy, while a healthy Dayne Beams reminded everyone why he was such a big get a few years ago, even if he probably struggled to remember the team song after the game.

North Melbourne (93) v West Coast (136)

North had obviously not got the memo that they are meant to be not very good this season when this game started. Luckily, someone at the Eagles managed to find a copy and hand it to them at half time.

This started at 1 pm Sunday in Melbourne, which meant it was Saturday night still in Perth. No wonder Western Australians think the AFL hates them.

The Kangaroos showed a lot of positives in this game. They’re skills and having Brad Scott as coach is what let them down. The Roos were inaccurate in front of goal, but this youth approach might get them somewhere. Not this year of course.

The Eagles managed to get on top because of Sam Mitchell and Josh Kennedy. Mitchell showed he had not lost anything due to age and set up countless attacks, while Kennedy booted seven and is clearly going to love having a scarily good midfield this year.

Kennedy is an interesting key forward in that he can accurately kick goals from a variety of angles. Imagine if other forwards could do that? Not that I’m looking at anyone Jarrad Waite with your solitary goal and seven behinds.   

Adelaide (147) v Greater Western Sydney (91)

If both Sydney and GWS are bad this year, who is Eddie going to blame when Collingwood miss the Finals? It’s a tough one, but if Adelaide play well, he can always go after them.

The main take out from this game is that the Giants are obviously in CRISIS. The AFL Commission are meeting as we speak to discuss ways to give the Giants some assistance.

Of course, round one is known for these little strange outcomes, and it’s just as likely we’ll soon all be hearing about this being ‘The Loss They Had To Have’. It should at least prove again that there is a reason we play the season and not just hand out the cup based on the opinions of footy experts.

What was worrying for the Giants was how easily they were beaten in the end with the Crows just looking faster than them. Once again we learn that Australian Rules is a team game, having lots of talent is nice but not when half the blokes seem to be phoning it in.

We should also take nothing away from the Crows; they were fantastic and genuinely exciting across the ground. They even did it without Tex Walker.

Rory Laird clearly won the Brownlow as much as Dustin Martin did, while Wayne Milera proved he is going to live up to the hype.

Given the win in the women’s AFL Grand Final, this was the best weekend for Crows supporters since Maggie Beer launch her ice cream range.

Fremantle (73) v Geelong (115)

I'm glad the Dockers didn't just fluke last season, they are not very good.

A lot of people wondered if last season was just a flash in the pan and thought that the Dockers might be the big surprise packet this season. Those people are wrong.

Fremantle looked like a Ross Lyon coached team. They tried to keep the score as low as possible but don’t have the quality for that to work.

Their new forward line didn’t inspire, with Cameron McCarthy finished with 1.5. You need to be kicking straight to pull off a moustache like the one he has.

It was in defence that the Docker produced some of the best comedy of the season, inventing some mistakes I’d never seen before. At one point Michael Johnson’s kicked in hitting the man on the mark, leading to a goal and Ross Lyon yelling at him for four hours straight after the game.

Geelong just had to keep piling on the pressure, and like a boxer who knows his opponent can’t throw a knockout punch, they just took their time picking them apart.

Perhaps the most interesting moment of the game is when a scuffle between a few players almost ended up in the stands. The fans were all very respectful and kept their distance. Lucky, this wasn’t an Eagles’ game.  

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MICHAEL MORSE 27 March 2017


Adam 27 March 2017

Brilliant as always. I will use the "unpack" term in my next meeting just for you.

Stefano Otto 27 March 2017

Bit disappointed you didn't mention Brisbane's horrible jumpers. Surely their stylist is colour blind..

Deborah 27 March 2017

Finished on a high re the Eagles crowd bit at the end (no pun intended). Priceless & I'm a WCE supporter! Excellent work Titus across all games.

Brent 27 March 2017

"I’ll tell you who, idiots who think they’re smart, the most dangerous people on Earth." - Titus this comment alone cheered the grumpy Monday version of me-thanks for that.BTW look up "Scrum master" Workland intelligentsia have come up with another beauty!

Foxtrot Foxtrot Sierra 28 March 2017

Just looked it up. I'm now going to kill myself.
Or make sure I'm first to use it in my non-'Agile' (there's another egregious term right there) work 'space', so that the idiots who think they're smart here are awestruck by how ahead of the curve I am. Keep your enemies closer....

Arky 27 March 2017

Weapons-grade burn on Garry Lyon there.

But he deserves it, apparently he's never watched the aftermath of EVERY GRAND FINAL EVER and also ever major sporting event final ever in every sport. I'm yet to see the one where players holding their babies and toddlers got mown down by a runaway Batmobile.

Bev 27 March 2017

Great read, Titus. I was wondering about the non-bogan element at Collingwood too.

Mark L 27 March 2017

Zac Dawson got a kick and it went 15m to a team mate. You should mention Freo's positives as well. ;-p

Adam 27 March 2017

Some spun gold here Titus.

Ty Vickery's post game speech and Hodge requesting a suspension extension.


Garry Lyon's advice on family.

In truth, Fagan's addition at Brisbane could be just as telling as his omission is from Hawthorn. Time will tell.

Wheels 27 March 2017

No mention of smug 'Pies fans thanking God that Nathan Brown and Jarrod Witts are off their worry list.

Panco Pete 27 March 2017

Do you think Freo would be better Titus if they had more players with man buns?

max 27 March 2017

vickery did not step up post game, that just has to be a furphy in every sense, its not possible titus

Ralph 27 March 2017

Sorry Titus. Maggie Beer's ice cream is not that exciting.
However, the release of her potted pate with extra quince had the town jumping, at least until the power went out.

Ellen 28 March 2017

I have to say this comment is better than Titus's. Bloody winner

GM 27 March 2017

We often unpack at work, right after running it up the flag pole and circling back on it. A deep dive is then often required

GPB 28 March 2017

well, sometimes you just have to suck it and see. We'll throw it at the wall and see what sticks.

Keith Martine 27 March 2017

Thank you Titus, all class as usual

Barb alger 27 March 2017

Just brilliant ! So hilarious but truthful at the same time . Titus you are unique

TC 27 March 2017

Unpacking is a massive pain point as we speak.

Warney 28 March 2017

Perhaps most worrying for Hawthorn is it appeared they trade away the umpires for a pick in the 80s too. Big Belly Laugh...but not enough gratuitous celebration of the Dees, considering we are sure to drop the Carlton game, it would have been nioce to revel a little longer...

fergus F ferdinand 28 March 2017

A slow start to the new season, Titus, a bit like the Swans. Either that or it's just a bit of a come down after reading Jarrod Kimber. Anyway, I know you'll come good and I look forward to more laughs as the season rolls along.

GGPPBB 28 March 2017

no mention of my wife's drunken screaming at the telly about Brisbane wearing their away strip at Metricon when it was supposed to be a home game so why the hell are they not wearing their home strip? They might be on the Gold Coast but it was a Lions home game, etc etc etc

Thought you might have heard it from Melbourne

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