Aug 13, 2018
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Twenty 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.
Essendon (122) v St Kilda (79)
It was a roller-coaster of a night for Bombers fans, with the good fortune of Brendon Goddard going off injured early on, soon offset by Adam Saad being stretchered off.
Saad was injured after Nathan Brown cleaned him up with a late hit.
How late a hit was it? Well, after disposing of the ball, Saad had time to raise a family, put them all through university, retire and write his memoirs all before Brown came through.
The Bombers’ injuries didn’t end there, with Orazio Fantasia and Cale Hooker also going off injured. It had been a while since Essendon's medical staff had been so busy.
Having no one on the bench could have had huge ramifications for Essendon, but in a stroke of good luck, they were playing St Kilda.
The Saints big problem is they have an unskilled workforce in an industry that requires a fair bit of technical ability.
Despite putting in effort for long periods of the game, when they got the ball, they were like watching your parents programming a VCR in the 80s. Bewildered, hesitant and in the end frustrated.
Hawthorn (71) v Geelong (60)
Perhaps the most worrying thing about 2018 is the return to prominence of both Russia and Hawthorn.
The Hawks rebuild shows that if your coach knows what they’re doing, it doesn’t have to take several decades.
It’s been a dark path Hawk fans have had to walk all these months, and all footy fans are excited for them that their suffering may finally be over.
As always, a Hawks-Cats clash is a close game, and despite Geelong taking the second and third quarters off, they came back hard in the fourth, with Joel Selwood turning up to play the last quarter.
At three-quarter time, Chris Scott gathered in his troops and suggested a bold strategy of not just relying on Patrick Dangerfield.
It came close to working, but depressingly, a lot of Hawthorn’s young players seem to be not only good at football but good when under pressure.
Like their game style, Geelong’s approach to making finals has been to leave everything to the last minute; it may now be too late.
Gold Coast (51) v Richmond (125)
Who thought that the Suns would look to their predecessors on the Gold Coast, the Bears, and see them as something to emulate not a cautionary tale?
Many people have holidayed on the Gold Coast and done more work than Richmond needed to do on Saturday.
The Tigers could have saved a lot of money on flights and just sent Jack Riewoldt, who booted 10.6, outscoring the Suns on his own.
Gold Coast were excellent, in terms of helping Richmond try out a few different set plays and giving Bachar Houli and Dion Prestia a run after returning from injury.
The Suns are a shambles at the moment, well they’re always a shambles.
It’s lucky the AFL believe the Gold Coast are a multi-generational investment, worth pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into without requiring any immediate returns, unlike say, the AFLW.
Port Adelaide (58) v West Coast (62)
It’s hard to know who put their fans through more pain this weekend, Port Adelaide or Melbourne.
Port certainly gave it their best shot. They started with a five-goal to one opening term, a great strategy to not only get their fans hopes up but to make them confident of a win.
Then they let the Eagles reel them in, but slowly, to make their supporters still believe everything was going to be OK.
Finally, they had Jeremy McGovern kick the match-winning goal after the siren the first time the Eagles had led all day, a brutal twist of the knife.
Add to that, the Power suffered several key injuries, with Charlie Dixon, out for the rest of the year with a bad ankle injury, Paddy Ryder having further hip trouble and Dan Houston sent for X-Rays, and this was a masterclass in crushing the spirits of your fans.
West Coast seems to take particular delight in upsetting Port Adelaide fans, as last year Luke Shuey ended Port Adelaide's season in the elimination final.
They got lucky here though, as the Power’s injuries got worse they got better.
After the horror week they had, nothing helps more than the soothing balm that is winning.
Collingwood (104) v Brisbane (73)
Everyone says the Lions are an exciting team and much better than their record suggests but they’ve only won four games and sit 16thon the ladder.
Is it possible then that this is the cleverest season of tanking we’ve ever seen?
Like Verbal Kent in The Usual Suspects, the minute they secure a reasonable draft pick they start walking normally, and it dawns on us they could have won a lot more games.
Suddenly watching Cam Rayner’s misses is like staring at the noticeboard and piecing everything together.
Chris Fagan even said after the game, "We're better than a four-win team, I think everyone knows that."
We sure do Chris you evil mastermind. The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.
Now, I don’t want to unsettle people, but Collingwood made it through a game without an injury. That’s like me going into a bookshop and leaving without a book.
But just as Collingwood’s wellness team (I feel calling them a medical staff would be overselling their abilities) thought they could breathe a sigh of relief, Ben Reid injured his calf injury in his VFL return, from injury.
The Pies still have their top four hopes alive, and while the threat of a Collingwood premiership seems to have abated somewhat, the fact it’s still a possibility is cause for concern.
Greater Western Sydney (106) v Adelaide (92)
The Crows season appears to be finally over meaning we can now enter a period of finger pointing and blame sharing for their disastrous season.
Sure, they had injuries but so did Collingwood, yet the Crows seemed a team attacking the season with the enthusiasm the AFL executive have for women’s football.
It was perhaps fitting that Taylor Walker will face a suspension this week after a sling tackle that left Josh Kelly concussed.
Walker’s already been suspended this season, and this was just unnecessary.
He probably didn’t mean to concuss him, but it was a textbook example of what the AFL have banned so he’ll miss some time. Walker missing games isn’t new; sometimes he does it even when he’s on the field.
The Giants run to the finals continues, but they again suffered injuries with Heath Shaw appearing to get a season-ending injury to his knee, Kelly a concussion and Sam Reid did his hamstring.
It seems every time a team enters the ‘they could beat Richmond’ zone; they get a bunch of injuries.
North Melbourne (85) v Western Bulldogs (92)
After impressing people all season by not being awful, they Kangaroos decided to be awful in this essential game by blowing a five-goal lead.
I’m still not really sure how they did it, even after I poured over the replay like it was the Zapruder film.
North were up by 28 points at half-time and considering the Bulldogs traditionally take the second half off; a win seemed assured.
But in what could only be described as a comedy of errors, the Kangaroos not only let the Doggies back into the game but made them appear a competent AFL side.
Lachie Hunter, Jack Macrae and Caleb Daniel all managed to rack up more than 40 possessions and Marcus Bontempelli finished with two goals and 35 disposals.
It could be argued for that to happen the Kangaroos forgot to do a few defensive things.
It leaves the Kangaroos pretty much certain to miss finals, but at least they have that massive war chest to console them.
For the Bulldogs, it was a fitting way to mark Dale Morris' 250th game.
Melbourne (78) v Sydney (87)
Melbourne kept their ‘missing the finals in the most heartbreaking manner possible’ hopes alive with a stunning display at the MCG on Sunday.
Inventing new ways to torture their fans, the Demons kicked 10.18, missing easy set shots repeatedly to turn what should have been a comfortable win into a devastating loss.
The only time Melbourne didn’t miss all day was when they thrust a dagger into my heart.
Meanwhile, the Swans, who were two players down, including a heartbreaking knee injury to Alex Johnson, capitalised on every move forward.
Johnson may now need his sixth knee reconstruction. The Demons should immediately hire him to teach them about desire and wanting to play.
Melbourne may have made a late comeback, but they shouldn’t even have been in that position.
Nothing summed up the day more than when Jesse Hogan, who was having a nightmare and seems to be carrying an injury, was used as a stepladder by Isaac Heeney to take one of the marks of the year.
The game underlined two narratives, the first, that Melbourne have arguably the weakest mindset in the game, the second, that Sydney’s is one of the strongest.
Melbourne now face the Eagles in Perth and the Giants in the final round.
One of my eyes has started twitching, and the left side of my body feels numb.
Fremantle (101) v Carlton (72)
It’s an age-old debate. When making an Old Fashioned, do you use Rye or bourbon whiskey? Personally, I prefer the Rye, but it’s really up to you.
What is important is knowing how to make one, it separates us from the animals.
The ingredients are pretty simple:
- 60mL Bourbon Whiskey or Rye Whiskey
- Angostura Bitters
- 1 Sugar Cube
- An orange
Place the sugar cube in the glass, douse with bitters and add a few drops of water. Add whiskey and stir until sugar is dissolved. Then add several large ice cubes and stir rapidly with a bar spoon to chill.
Then you garnish it with a slice of orange. Some people use a cherry, but I consider it an act of war.
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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