Jul 16, 2018
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Seventeen
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.
Adelaide (112) v Geelong (97)
It was a good week for Crows fans.
First, Rory Sloane decided that unlike Patrick Dangerfield and Jake Lever, he didn’t hate Adelaide and everyone single person living there.
Second, the Crows beat Geelong keeping their slim finals chances alive.
Third, Port lost to Fremantle in one of the worst games ever.
The Adelaide fans were pretty happy about Rory sticking around after he kicked a goal, they celebrated like they would have if they’d won the Grand Final last year.
Sloane deciding to stay certainly seemed to boost the morale of his teammates, they also seemed to want to be there for the first time this season.
Geelong’s experiment of playing a season with just three players continues to deliver mixed results.
They trailed most of the night, and while at several points they seemed to be interested in winning it, like me when I think about going out, it all seemed too hard, and they lost momentum.
It leaves Geelong clinging to the bottom of the eight like one of those cats in those ‘hang in there!’ posters.
St Kilda (116) v Carlton (52)
I did watch this.
Why am I telling you this? Because I deserve a medal or at least a new set of eyes.
I forced myself to watch it for you dear reader because I knew you’d want my tactical analysis in this column.
Am I a hero? Well, that’s kind of you to say, but I prefer to think of myself as a man with few options in life and no friends.
This match was predicted to be terrible, and unlike Carlton’s players, it hit the target.
What did surprise me was that 33,780 people showed up to this.
Now I don’t think there are 33,780 St Kilda fans in the world, so this means some were Carlton fans willingly went to this.
The other possibility is the Masochists Society of Victoria decided to hold their annual meeting at this, the mid-strength beer making it the perfect venue.
There’s been a lot of talk about Carlton ruining Friday Night Football this year, but the other thing they’ve been destroying for quite some time now are the lives of Carlton supporters.
Hawthorn (65) v Brisbane (98)
Thought to be something people only did in the early-2000s, the Lions have now won three games in a row.
This was a stunning win over Hawthorn in Tasmania, coming the week Jeff Kennett had told Tasmanians to get behind the Hawks, or they’d leave.
Hawthorn’s display took a lot of the sting out of that threat.
What was most impressive about the Lions display is it was done by a lot of their young players. Luke Hodge wasn’t playing, and Cameron Rayner and Eric Hipwood were highly influential when it mattered.
For a coaching team with apparently no tactical ability, they certainly seem to be doing reasonably well. I guess you can’t judge ‘tactical ability’ on wins.
Hawthorn’s game plan came unstuck in the second half when they started missing targets more regularly than Simon in sales when he was going through his divorce.
The loss sees the Hawks fall out of the eight and into the pack with North and Adelaide all desperately hoping to get back in.
Hawthorn’s run home was once looking ridiculously easy but losing this made it significantly harder.
At least they have Carlton next week.
Melbourne (119) v Western Bulldogs (69)
Early in the third quarter, the sound of engines starting filled the MCG carpark as Melbourne supporters texted their drivers, “Start the car.”
The Bulldogs’ Patrick Lipinski had just booted a goal to put his team in front and the sense that the Dees were phoning in another performance, like their one against St Kilda a fortnight ago was felt around the members.
Twelve minutes later and the engines fell silent again. Melbourne had booted seven goals in a row, and the game was effectively over.
What happened? Max Gawn happened.
In a display of some of the best ruck work you’ll ever see, Gawn fed his midfielders flawlessly and they responded.
Angus Brayshaw and Clayton Oliver both stepped up and destroyed the Bulldogs midfield, a much-needed change of gear considering Jack Viney had been a late withdrawal.
Bulldogs fans had seen this all before, their third quarters are uglier than an Ed Hardy T-Shirt and once it again it so proved.
Melbourne had to win this, they’ve got a tough road home.
Gold Coast (51) v Essendon (95)
The first half was more like a game of volleyball than footy. The ball would go to the Suns, who would kick it to the Bombers, who would kick it back to the Suns and on and on.
It meant the Suns were five points up at halftime, and Bombers fans were tearing their hair out.
This was shaping up to be the worst thing to happen to the Bombers on the Gold Coast since Shane Charter had a poolside chat with James Hird at a Gold Coast hotel.
The great thing about playing the Suns, however, is you just need to wait for them to shoot themselves in the foot, repeatedly.
After halftime, the Bombers got serious, and instead of kicking the ball back to the Suns after a turnover, they kicked it to a teammate. It was a revolutionary new tactic and suddenly the goals flowed.
It meant Essendon won the third quarter, something they usually avoid doing.
Despite defeating the Suns easily in the end, Essendon still lost the free kick count.
That will make the Bombers fans angry, especially considering in the Melbourne game Razor Ray was low fiving Angus Brayshaw. Personally, I thought it wasn’t a big step for Razor to show he was playing for one of the teams.
Greater Western Sydney (79) v Richmond (77)
In recent weeks, footy has reminded us that it’s pretty great. This was another bit of evidence as two teams full of stars went at it right down to the wire.
Richmond’s form away from the MCG has been commented on a lot but this wasn’t some massive fade out, they were right in it to the very end.
Perhaps more interesting was the way the Giants, normally seen as being a bit flaky when things get hard, found a way to win.
There were countless players who stood up when it mattered, Tim Taranto, Sam Taylor and Zac Langdon, while Toby Greene was back to his annoying self.
Lachie Whitfield showed he only goes missing off the field, with 35 possessions and 12 marks, dominating in defence and blunting a lot of the Tigers’ attack.
Richmond will regret their slow start and inaccuracy in front of goal but did well to get back to their structure in the second quarter.
They wouldn’t be too worried; no one wins a premiership at Spotless Stadium. Well, not until at least 2057 they won’t.
Collingwood (67) v West Coast (102)
Collingwood can be beaten. I was beginning to worry as the Pies had won seven on the trot.
They hadn’t lost to the Eagles on the MCG since 1995 either. That’s a long time.
1995 was the year Bryan Adams asked us ‘Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?’
The answer is still no, Bryan.
As I told you in 1995, I’ve tried to put myself out there, but there’s just not a lot of interest in a mildly alcoholic Melbourne supporter who only watches sport. OK, Bryan?
Perhaps you should be asking ‘has a woman ever loved me?’ What about that?
Anyway, this was a great victory by the Eagles and having Josh Kennedy, Jack Darling and Mark LeCras back certainly makes them look like a completely different team.
A team with a forward line.
It wasn’t all good news though; Nic Naitanui appears to have done his knee again, a huge blow and one of those injuries you never want to see any player get, especially twice.
The big question for Collingwood now is ‘can Nathan Buckley coach without a beard?’
I don’t think he can. Buckley without a beard looks younger than half the players. He looks like an alpha male who only knows perfection. A man who doesn’t understand the flaws in the human character inherent in all of us.
Bearded Buckley looks like a man that’s been through the zombie apocalypse. He’s seen things.
He’s watched the world collapse around him and knows that perfection is no longer an option, just staying alive.
He’s a survivor who can help you live if you just follow what he’s saying.
Am I saying that the Pies lost because their coach shaved his beard?
Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying, and I’ve never been more right in my life.
North Melbourne (98) v Sydney (104)
I was watching this and Fremantle-Port at the same time, and it felt like two different sports. Well, one of them was a sport, and the other was a travesty.
This was exciting and skilful. It made you happy to be alive in this world.
It had Aliir Aliir and Majak Daw going at it, in a display that was both brilliant to watch and amazing in the fact it happened at all.
Daw, fled war-torn South Sudan as a nine-year-old, while Aliir was born in a Kenyan refugee camp after his parents had also escaped from South Sudan.
They’d come across the globe as children, settled here, taken up a strange sport, made all the sacrifices to make it to the top, and here they were competing on each other at the highest level.
And they weren’t bit players in the game either. Daw booted four goals during the match, but it was Aliir who would boot the winning goal for Sydney.
With less than two minutes left, a pack marking contest saw the ball spilled over the back to Aliir, who sprinted towards goal and slotted it.
North would be shattered but they have nothing to be ashamed of, they played brilliant football and I hope they make finals, they should be rewarded for playing a style so entertaining.
In the end, it was just a couple of moments that got the Swans across the line, Aliir’s goal and Ben Ronke spin and goal.
This was footy at its best. Let’s hope the efforts of Daw and Aliir are covered by the media with the same enthusiasm as some of them cover ‘African Gangs’.
Fremantle (59) v Port Adelaide (50)
From the best in football to whatever this was.
Ross Lyon ruins everything. Of all the rule changes discussed, how ‘ban Ross Lyon’ isn’t the first cab off the rank every time is beyond me. It would do a lot more than ‘zones’.
His negative style is genuinely awful, but I guess it delivers losing Grand Finals.
The Power it must be said were very disappointing. They should have been able to rise above these tactics, but they instead seemed to meet Fremantle on their level.
It reminded me of the old saying ‘never argue with an idiot, they drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.’
It didn’t help that Paddy Ryder was off injured from the second quarter and Robbie Gray went off concussed after a dirty tackle from Ryan Nyhuis.
Nyhuis drove Gray into the ground when he didn’t have the ball and was already going out of bounds. He unnecessary drove Gray down as hard as he could. The only thing he has going for him is Gray’s arms weren’t pinned, but it was a low act.
Despite these outs, Port were not able to handle a Freo team willing to throw everything at them.
The Dockers may be awful and play a brand of football that is a blight on all that is good in the world, but they try.
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
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