Sep 09, 2019
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Finals Week 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.
West Coast (116) v Essendon (61)
The reviews are in and the first week of the AFL Finals were a flop. Good footy was harder to find than meaning in a Zack Snyder film.
Still I watched them all because it’s footy and even bad footy is better than the rest of life.
The only thing interesting in this game was when Zach Merrett pulled Nic Naitanui’s hair, only for Naitanui to throw him into the advertising boards like a child toss a toy across the room.
It’s a reminder to never pull someone’s hair who is twice the size of you, at least not without consent.
Both players received fines, Naitanui for threatening the safety of an advertising board, something the AFL cares about.
There also appeared to be a moment in the ensuing scuffle where an Eagles fan appeared to throw beer at some Essendon players. Now that is concerning.
Wasting beer is not something to be taken lightly, no matter how tempting Essendon players are as targets. Beer is a precious gift and should be treated as such.
Although it was probably mid-strength, so throwing that away in disgust is a fairly normal reaction.
As for the game, the Eagles are just a lot better than Essendon. You can over analyse it all you want but it’s that simple. They have better players and they play well under pressure.
The loss keeps the dream of Essendon making 6000 days without a finals win, well and truly alive.
It means the calls for Worsfold to go will only increase, but really, I think he’s done well with a list that not only had injuries but is massively overrated. That’s not to say it’s a terrible list but it’s not any better than where it finished.
But we’ve all learnt that arguing facts with a Bombers supporter gets you nowhere.
Geelong (51) v Collingwood (61)
On reflection, Chris Scott was right, it would have been nice for the Cats to have lost on their own ground.
But instead of complaining, Scott should have seen this as the perfect opportunity to prove his Cats can lose a final anywhere.
Geelong’s ineptness began before the game, when they decided to drop Rhys Stanley. That made perfect sense, why would you need a ruckman when you’re only going up against the best ruckman in the competition?
The decision to drop Stanley was made because rain was expected, only for the rain holding off. Even with rain it still seemed an odd move.
Mark Blicavs was given the ruck role and spent the night looking like someone who had been given the worst job at work.
Then there was the uniform clash which got Eddie McGuire so angry. Granted that’s his resting state but he was really angry. Let’s not mention the fact Eddie has flat out refused to let the Pies develop a proper clash jumper.
The Pies victory means the Doomsday clock ticks closer to midnight. Prepare your bunker.
The game itself was about as interesting as doing your taxes.
The final score makes this seem more interesting than it was, the only interesting thing was how did Geelong get so close playing like they did?
Now the Pies have a week off and Geelong have a week of more complaining ahead of them.
Greater Western Sydney (113) v Western Bulldogs (55)
The Bulldogs surge to the finals was exciting, high scoring and fast, all things they weren’t in this game.
It was a surprising capitulation by the Dogs, who seemed as overwhelmed by the Giants midfield as some people are by the difference between AV1 and AV2 on their remote.
The Giants were ferocious. Toby Greene, no longer allowed to kick people, decided to eye gouge them instead and is off to the Tribunal, in perhaps the least surprising event to happen this year.
Only Jack Macrae seemed able to withstand the Giants midfield, with the numbers around the ball making it look like an OH&S workwear ad more often than not.
For the Giants, this was a much-needed confidence boost. They’ve been patchy at best this season and their record in finals makes Geelong’s look good.
Now they head off to Brisbane, which is a much bigger task, and they look like doing it without Greene.
Heading to the Gabba will be a challenge, up there they can’t play “Let’s go, Giants, let’s go” over the speakers. There’s no better way to draw attention to the lack of a crowd than playing fake chants.
Brisbane (65) v Dustin Martin (112)
This was always a test of how much the Lions had learnt in round 23 and it seems like they didn’t learn much.
Luke Hodge showed he is far from past it, often holding back the Tigers at key moments singlehandedly, but it was like trying to hold back the tide.
The real story though was Dustin Martin who showed he could do it all, including get away with a throw that wouldn’t have been out of place in the NFL.
Martin ended up booting six goals in a display that already has Tigers fans sleeping out for Grand Final tickets.
Meanwhile down back, Dylan Grimes was like a third wheel on a date, he just spent the entire night stopping anyone scoring. I’m trademarking ‘The Chaperone’ as his nickname.
The difference between the two sides is experience. The Tigers are like the crafty veteran boxer up against the hot new thing. Richmond don’t panic, they soak up pressure and they put you to the sword when you make a mistake.
You could see the Lions losing composure, the look on their faces was ‘this is really hard’.
The Lions now face the Giants, but you feel their season isn’t over yet, but they’d want to start taking something out of these lessons the Tigers keep giving them pretty soon.
As for Richmond fans, get excited, but not, ‘I’ll get my 2019 Premiers tattoo this week’ excited.
Titus is touring around the country in the upcoming months, visiting Hobart and Brisbane. Tickets available here: http://www.frontiercomedy.com/titusoreily
Titus’ new book Please, Gamble Irresponsibly: The rise, fall and rise of sport gambling in Australia will be out on 5th November 2019. You can pre-order it now.