Aug 28, 2017
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Twenty Three
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.
Hawthorn (99) v Western Bulldogs (90)
In the end, it was great to see Luke Hodge go out with a win after a career so starved of success.
It was a big night for retirements with Bob Murphy and Matthew Boyd also playing their final games.
I know how Hawks and Bulldogs fans felt. When a club champion you’ve grown up watching retires, it’s an emotional time.
I remember Colin Sylvia’s retirement was a tough time for me, but the dinner the club held at KFC honouring him was a nice moment.
Bulldogs fans will head off into the summer hoping this was a one-off hangover year like the Hawks had in 2009.
Hawthorn fans will instead be wondering when this long nightmare will be over. The Hawks have not played finals since 2016 and haven’t won a premiership since 2015!
Talk about a drought. I hope they’re OK.
Collingwood (99) v The most frustrating thing ever invented in the history of time (83)
Some days it dawns on you that you’ve wasted enormous chunks of your life. As a Demons fan, these days come with alarming regularity.
Against a Collingwood side that had little riding on this game, except saving a not very successful coach, the Demons played this with the intensity of the EJ Whitten game.
There is no excuse for what happened. Melbourne had the chance to secure themselves a spot in the finals, and they blew it with a performance as disappointing as it was predictable.
Let’s not forget, the Demons had a chance to play finals last year, only to lose to an awful Carlton side.
The thing that made me most bitter about this performance was it meant I had to effectively barrack for the Dockers and then the Crows to win.
Who puts someone in that situation? Not a friend.
Was this the worst weekend of my life? The thing about Melbourne is they give you so many to choose from.
Did anyone in the world have a worse weekend than Melbourne fans? Well, let’s just say I had people who are living in Syria call me to see if I was OK.
I guess expecting to rush back into finals after just eleven years out was a bit ambitious.
I’m just waiting to see the Brisbane Lions rebuild overtake Melbourne’s in the next few seasons.
One thing you have to give Collingwood credit for is they at least have pride in their club.
They just wanted this more, pure and simple. They would have also been thrilled to discover the Demons decided this was the week to give up tackling.
Brisbane (79) v North Melbourne (130)
This was Brisbane’s first wooden spoon since 1998, and they certainly worked hard for it.
The Lions turned in a performance that showed they were truly worthy of finishing last this season.
The Kangaroos found it relatively easy, with Ben Brown kicking a career-high seven goals.
Brown has 63 goals this season. Not bad for a forward playing for the fifteenth placed side.
In a league where key forwards are worth their weight in gold, how Brown doesn’t get more recognition is amazing. If he played interstate, they’d be stories every day about which Victorian club was going to get him.
For fans of both these sides, the blessed relief of the season being over is some compensation for what has been tough going. Unfortunately, there’s always next year.
Buddy Franklin (138) v Carlton (57)
Buddy Franklin outscored Carlton singlehandedly, kicking 10.2, to the Blues 8.9.
Now, in fairness, if there’s a team you have a chance to outscore singlehandedly, it’s Carlton.
To put Buddy’s performance in perspective, Franklin’s 12 shots at goal was seven more than the entire Gold Coast side had this week.
Have Carlton improved this year? Not in a footballing sense. Off the field, they’ve been less of a shambles I guess.
Carlton fans must be getting sick of this constant not playing finals. If they’d wanted to support an irrelevant team, they would have become Dees supporters.
Sydney now becomes the team no one wants to play in finals. They take on Essendon in week one, and that realisation took some of the shine off the Bombers making their way back to the post season.
Obviously, that trade ban for no reason was not long enough. Best to make it permanent.
Geelong (103) v Greater Western Sydney (59)
While the Suns have used the money the AFL have invested in them to light the biggest bonfire in history; the Giants have at least given an impression of investing it wisely.
This game made that assumption seem a bit premature.
The Giants were terrible. Sure, this was in Geelong, but the ease at which the Cats breezed past the Giants in the third term made predictions that GWS could win the premiership seem fanciful.
Leon Cameron admitted 16 or 17 of his players lost to their opponent. I thought it was higher than that.
That’s not exactly what premierships are based on. Still, it’s 17 more than the Suns players had on the weekend.
The Giants now have to go to Adelaide, which shows that if you don’t work hard, bad things happen.
The Cats face Richmond, which makes this win feel like a winning twice in one weekend.
Port Adelaide (135) v Gold Coast (20)
You could have played a team of random people from the crowd and scored more than twenty points.
To think the Suns players got paid for this ‘performance’. For two whole quarters, the Suns didn’t score a solitary point.
That’s almost impossible to do. Every week, these players practice playing football, but there was no evidence of that in this game.
Port were made to look like the greatest defensive side in the history of the game.
The bad news for the Power is that with the bye week, they effectively won’t have played a game this week or the next ahead of playing the Eagles.
There’s not a lot of point in analysing the Power’s performance. What impressed me most is they managed to not laugh openly at the Suns during the game and saved that up for behind closed doors.
To think, the AFL have paid about forty million for every shot at goal the Suns took.
Essendon (107) v Fremantle (92)
Here was a neat trick, with their destiny in their own hands, the Bombers grasped the opportunity with both hands. Oh, how stress-free that must feel.
Say what you like about Essendon but that club’s cult like belief in itself, certainly means they fight for every inch.
It wasn’t all easy going, Fremantle teased Melbourne supporters by putting the pressure on in the fourth quarter, but Essendon did a weird thing and stood up to the pressure.
Fremantle have been an odd team this season, at times looking half decent and at others looking like a slow-moving disaster that you can’t tear your eyes away from.
Don’t worry Dockers fans; I’m sure Ross will sort this out over the next five years.
For Essendon, they face Sydney, which is like finding out first prize is spending the night in the Lions’ enclosure at the zoo. Unarmed.
Richmond (122) v St Kilda (81)
Last night, I heard the loudest sound I think I’ve ever heard. Assuming some major piece of infrastructure being built, I stuck my head outside, only to see it was the heavily laden Tigers’ bandwagon making its way through town.
Oh, it is full. And why wouldn’t it be? The Tigers are in the finals and have the chance to get their traditional loss out of the way and then keep going.
In Nick Riewoldt’s final game, the Tigers made sure there was no repeat of their early season debacle against the Saints.
Whatever way you dress it up, the Saints season has not been great, and with Riewoldt leaving, there’s not sign they’ve found someone to replace him.
Tigers fans though will be thrilled to have finished the season off so strongly. They’ve done what no Richmond side has done since 2001, finish in the top four.
While the comedic potential of Richmond going out in straight sets is impossible to measure, the idea of Richmond winning the premiership would be a fitting end to a season so crazy, it should be President of the United States.
Can Richmond beat Geelong? Sure they can. Can they defeat their mental demons? Well, that’s the tricky bit.
West Coast (100) v Adelaide (71)
I can’t believe the Crows rested Talia and Walker with Melbourne’s season on the line.
Actually, I was more surprised with how hard the Crows tried when this meant nothing to them. I’m sure Eagles fans thought the same, as they bobbed in and out of the eight in the finals minutes.
In the end, the Eagles deserved to make finals, because they took an opportunity that was presented to them, while others did not.
Adelaide played not particularly well but still got closer than they really should have, they will go into their final against the Giants with every confidence they can get that job done.
West Coast gets to play Port Adelaide, and that’s certainly not the worst match up you can get in these finals.
The Eagles may have scraped in by the skin of their teeth, but a win against Port would suddenly make this season not seem the disappointment it’s been at times.
The finals are here, and none of us knows what is going to happen, and weirdly, I still love football despite its best efforts to stop me doing so.
I'm touring my new show 'Insufficient Intent' around the country. Come see me in the bye weekend before the finals. Brisbane date just added: 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: https://titusoreily.com/support-titus