Oct 05, 2020

AFL

The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Finals Week One

25 Comments

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.

Thursday

Port Adelaide (58) v Geelong (42)

What a weekend of Finals. In complete contrast to a season that felt like a slow-moving train wreck but less fun to watch, these games were actually exciting.

Not only was there good footy, the results threw the Premiership race  wide open, if the team that finished top of the ladder going straight into the Prelim can be considered ‘throwing the Premiership race wide open.”

But Port did come into this with question marks over them, their lack of recent finals experience and their poor game against Geelong earlier in the year, meant this was no certainty.

While the game itself was great, it only enhanced my belief that a lot of footy’s problems could be solved by turning off Ray Chamberlain’s mic.

‘Razor Ray’ again made himself the centre of attention, failing to grasp he is meant to have the profile of a state opposition leader, barely noticed and not able to be named by anyone.

Add to that Bruce and BT talking him up, and the idea that shutting off microphones would be a blessing only grows.

When it comes to Channel Seven’s commentary, the phrase ‘addition by subtraction’ certainly comes to mind.

Razor even copped a spray from Chris Scott for his poor centre bounces, which looked like the ones a toddler would do, and despite Chris Scott being 100 per cent correct, it still fun to laugh at Scott’s ability to whinge no matter the situation.

What was impressive about the actual game, was Port’s ability to shut down Tom Hawkins, who had destroyed them earlier in the year.

Hawkins seemed keen to assist the Power with their plan, missing shots and being generally useless, but this was partly due to them forcing him to the boundary line at times. Yet he should be acknowledged for his versatility, he missed some easy shots too.

Geelong’s ability to choke in a final is really becoming a central pillar of their ‘brand’, which I concede is better than having a reputation of not making finals, but it’s hollow consolation.

After the game, Chris Scott says it’s ‘a bit lazy’ to criticise Geelong’s finals record. I guess his right, in the way that for me to say ‘it’s raining as I write this’ is so obvious it’s barely worth mentioning.

Port fans now have every right to believe. They were fantastic, both in negating Geelong’s game plan, while also executing their own.

Their commitment was on display when Xavier Duursma flew back to take a mark and got knocked out briefly. It was indicative of the Port players desire to do anything to win, and it makes you realise you were wrong to doubt them.

Well, that and the fact I tipped 0-4 this weekend. Although, tipping 0-4 is just as hard as tipping 4-0 when you think about it, at least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Friday

Brisbane (69) v Richmond (54)

Slick. That’s all I could think as I watched the Lions take apart Richmond with a focus and intensity usually reserved for when I eat a souvlaki at three in the morning.

Where Richmond has built their impressive reputation on relentless pressure, on Friday, the Lions both stood up to it and exceeded that pressure.

Where early on, Dusty Martin was carving them up, much to the collective excitement of the Channel Seven commentary team, the Lions limited his impact, and then played so well the commentators were forced to mention there was another team out there.

Charlie Cameron was a big part of the Lions surge, but every single Lions player stood up at some point when it mattered.

Even Lachie Neale forgetting to play the first quarter didn’t matter, the Lions simply had the Tigers covered.

As for the Tigers, the result confirmed their patchy form this season. Not having Tom Lynch certainly didn’t help, it allowed Harris Andrews to do whatever he wanted.

It was like that week I had without my ankle bracelet. There Department of Justice had no way of keeping me honest.

Without Lynch, the Tigers are like a vegetarian pizza, technically meeting the basic criteria of what it’s meant to be but in the end, deeply unsatisfying.

In the end, Brisbane has set themselves up on the inside track with the rest of their finals being at the Gabba.

If Brisbane wins the Premiership, they will be the first team to do so on their home ground since Richmond, all the way back in 2019.

And people say this column lacks insight.

Saturday

St Kilda (67) v Western Bulldogs (64)

You have to say, given a chance to coach his first AFL club, Brett Ratten has really made it count.

For the first time in a decade, St Kilda has won a final, and it wasn’t stressful at all.

Leading by 24 points at three-quarter times, the Saints fans, an optimistic bunch at the best of times, calculated in their heads that there were 13,452 ways things could go wrong in the last quarter, and all of them almost came true.

One of those 13,452 scenarios was Paddy Ryder going off injured, which happened after he’d dominated the game. It’s shattering he’ll miss the semi-final.

With Paddy off, and an ignoble defeat staring them in the face, the Bulldogs started to get moving in the fourth quarter.

Saints fans started panicking as I did at the local café when a woman actually spoke to me. “This is it,’ I thought, “someone like me.”

It turned out she wanted me to move down a seat because her boyfriend was coming.

For Bulldogs fans, a similar fate was ahead of them, a brief flicker of hope, snuffed out by the cold hand of reality.

They can’t blame the Saints, they gave them every chance, the Bulldogs just didn’t take them.

Saints fans on the other hand are experiencing a sensation they’ve not felt in a decade, joy. Some of them are handling it well but not all.

One Saints fan said they’d prepared themselves so well mentally for a loss, that they spent all Sunday wondering why they felt positive about life.

I told them not to worry, they only needed to deal with those emotions for a week.

West Coast (75) v Collingwood (76)

So West Coast hates going to Queensland that much. At home and against a side that was ‘only making up the numbers’ the Eagles stuffed this up worse than getting the employee of an art gallery to be part of a hotel quarantine program.

In some of the most painful words I’ve ever had to write, Collingwood were magnificent.

When Taylor Adams smothered the Eagles hopes and dreams, you realised you were watching one of the Pies’ great finals victories.

What a lot of us did is confuse what we wanted to happen with what we thought would happen.

With the benefit of hindsight, the Eagles had looked brittle all year, so this shouldn’t have been the shock it was, but still, at home and against a Pies team that has spluttered into the finals, this was the Eagles to win.

What Collingwood did so well is to take it to the Eagles, to not react to them but make West Coast react to what they were doing.

The signs were there early on that something weird was happening, in a five-minute period, Mason Cox booted three goals, and briefly looked like a 90s key forward’s DNA had been discovered in a mosquito trapped in amber and been brought back to life.

Brody Mihocek also starred and with Jordan De Goey, it almost looked like Collingwood had a forward line.

The real difference was desire, the Eagles seemed keen to win but not desperate. The Pies on the other hand brought a desperation that reminded me of my friend Greg on Tinder, it was scary and a little over the top.

Unlike with Greg, in this instance, it worked.

Like all sane people, I firmly believe that a Collingwood premiership is literally the last thing I need this year, but credit where credit is due, making up the numbers, they are not.

My new book Cheat: The Not-so-subtle Art of Conning Your Way to Sporting Glory is now available for pre-order. 

At the moment I’m barely able to work, so you can help support me in producing this ridiculous nonsense I churn out on a regular basis. It’s greatly appreciated. Find out more here: https://titusoreily.com/support-titus

COMMENTS

BLOKE FROM THE OUTER

Oct 05, 2020

I'm a tiges supporter and even I felt for Paddy Ryder, he was great.

And this a real season; well, except if Collingwood win it, then it will have an asterisk against it.

the g train

Oct 05, 2020

The Titus Effect—a case study.

The study of The Titus Effect is a recent and growing area of research within a small Aussie rules scientific community. A case study is presented to illustrate The Titus Effect and to encourage further research within the broader Aussie rules scientific community.

Titus O’Reily (a fringe nonsensical footy analyst) regularly pens the Highly Unhelpful Guide to present his ridiculous analyses of upcoming AFL fixtures. On 1st October 2020, Titus O’Reily wrote a highly unhelpful guide to the elimination final between StK and WB to occur on 3rd October 2020. From this guide: 1. Titus reminded us that Saint Kilda recently and factually lost to Melbourne 2. Titus predicted a victory to WB.

Statements 1. and 2. give rise simultaneously to opposite and incompatible “forces”: Thus The Titus Effect is now fully “in play”. Force resulting from statement 1.—immediately disintegrates all hope (realistic, false or otherwise) of a StK victory. It simply now becomes an impossibility; Force from statement 2.—very significantly increases the probability of victory to the predicted loser, even to the extent that an impossible StK victory now becomes possible. Scientifically, we say that when these two forces are acting simultaneously, the “ratio of logic” vanishes.

The now completed and astonishing StK v WB final verifies The Titus Effect. The skeptic that lacks depth and insight may foolishly state that it’s simply a case of a possible outcome eventuating, but the astute and wise reader of Titus’s Highly Unhelpful Guide surely knows better.

Finally, Titus was 0/4 in his predictions for week 1 of finals. Any student of probability knows that a prediction outcome of 0/4 is as difficult as 4/4. The Titus Effect. With a sprinkling of Genius.

Cheated

Oct 05, 2020

West Coast failed us this week. It's now up to Geelong to do us all a favour.
As much as it hurts, Go Cats!!!!

Judy

Oct 05, 2020

Credit where credit's due....Collingwood were (was?) magnificent. Eagles did their part too. Ryan is a star. Enthralling match.

Keith

Oct 05, 2020

Thanks Titus, tipping 0-4 is why I gave up tipping years ago. In a moment of madness I actually barracked for the Pies as underdogs and now they will beat the Cats on Saturday. Chris Scott should count the last qtr possessions of Selwood, Ablett and Taylor and wonder why he didn't suggest graceful retirements last year.

Tipmeister

Oct 05, 2020

Titus I regret to advise your 0/4 tipping effort was nothing special this weekend. I was 1/4 and went UP 3000-odd places in the rankings.

Lazy Tot

Oct 05, 2020

Great weekend - thanks Gill, but not Ray.
And Titus, the Crust Vegetarian Pizza is very satisfying.

Locked down in Melbourne

Oct 05, 2020

Titus, how was it that you were sitting down in a café? Either you escaped from Melbourne, somebody was not following the rules, or you sometimes write things that are not completely accurate ;-)

Greg

Oct 05, 2020

Richmond will forever be known as the Margheritas
Top shelf TO’R

Crippa

Oct 05, 2020

Hey Titus,

Was it sarcasm that I missed when you stated Ratts has never coached an AFL team? Cause he took Carlton to finals before he was unceremoniously dumped for the man who dismantled Carlton, Mick Sh*thouse....

Lyle

Oct 05, 2020

Tell me Titus, where do you get your Souvlaki?

Gyfox

Oct 05, 2020

Titus - there are qualities of an opposition leader that Razor Ray does have: always negative & disrupting things

Andrew Hudson

Oct 05, 2020

Huzzah for Titus. I agree that the whole game would be approved by sending Razor Ray to mime school with the Channel 7 commentary team. Well if only someone could remind the Channel 7 team that the Tigers have an opponent every week who warrant. And that Dusty may feel awkward about their focus on him.

andrew hodder

Oct 05, 2020

A few random observations:
The full forward for Geelong is the most over rated player in the competition. 1 good game out of 4. He's probably due to slaughter the Pies this week.
Titus, your continual criticism of the Seven commentators is too harsh. For instance, when the Doggies kicked a goal in the last quarter to get close to the Saints, the call was: "the dogs are barking". One has to reach deeply in to historical literature to come up with such a philosophical non sequitur.
I can heartily recommend Dominos 'Spicy Veg Trio' on a Thin and Crispy base.
That's it..I'll get back to reading the G Train's thesis....although I got a headache going through it the first time.

Andrew

Oct 05, 2020

While we are turning microphones off please can we unplug Cameron Ling permanently

woody

Oct 05, 2020

Souvlaki at three in the morning ... just the idea made me want to vomit. Your guts must be made of cast iron. I also went 0 from 4 with tips and followed up with 0/2 in the SANFL on Sunday. It reminded me of why I gave up tipping in the first place

Melanie Mikakos

Oct 05, 2020

If we all have to put up with Razor Ray again this weekend then I demand an enquiry. Has it been some kind of creeping assumption that he knows what he’s doing and hasn’t been ruining football matches for the last 10 years. Who keeps selecting him and why? We deserve to know.

Daniel B

Oct 05, 2020

Locked Down In Melbourne,

Rumour has it Titus also wears a ring on his left fourth finger, but hey, who am I to judge?

BIll Dusting

Oct 05, 2020

Strange. Padres in the baseball play offs, two non Canadian teams in the NHL play offs, and the probability of a replay of the 1966 Grand Final.

SouthWestCoaster

Oct 05, 2020

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. (This is the drivel that iOS autocorrects in for f#ck*$ umpires and Collingwood. In Nick Nat’s greatest ever season we fall behind to Mason Cox’s rapsta 3 goal spree? Natanui should have filleted him sideways then vertically before spending more time on the bench resting up for the long flight………
What a dreadful experience and dreadful year.
I think we should sack the coaches, senior list, board, committee, car parking attendants etc and start again with re..... re...... re-setting? Rebuilding..... funny phrase that no one east of Fremantle really uses much however I do think we should demolish Optus as it clearly has bad juju and rebuild that mucker somewhere else. Preferably less East than current position. Anything eastern always gets bad press here. Maybe get some more of those surplus cheap led’s from the Chinese Winter Olympics painstakingly hand assembled by Uighur (hope I spelled that correctly) slaves along with the asbestos panels and shitty brass (see new Perth Children’s Hospital list of deplorable actually supplied products).
Anyhow, sack the lot of them. Or make them ALL get those bloody awful scalped-temple haircuts. Something to remember over each and every of the 560 days of a Western Australian summer....
Now, back to the double blind logic thesis. I, too have a blister on the bonce from the cognitive shenanigans but it might just explain a few things like...... why schadenfreude only has three syllables. Or why Donald Trump wasn’t shot in his first term.....
Oh, I’m angry and floundering about like an 80’s sitcom just not knowing who to blame.
See, er, chat, er, will read all your comments next year. Thank you everyone for keeping me highly entertained and especially BIG BIG THANKS to you Titus for doing the hardest of yards. Really appreciate it and will beg wife for annual gift of a Titus Thesis (no pun intended, yet)!
Cheers

I have a dream

Oct 05, 2020

“If Brisbane wins the Premiership, they will be the first team to do so on their home ground since Richmond, all the way back in 2019.”

I love that statement, is it Karma or could it be the real start of the AFL rather than the current souped up VFL?

Just dreaming :)

Bulldog

Oct 05, 2020

A perfect end — the Doggies are out, footy's over — to the year-long preseason competition that has been 2020. As soon as the siren blew, I jumped immediately over to the Saints' wagon: nothing would give me greater joy than for St Kilda to win their first flag since '66, only to be told by the rest of the footballing community that it didn't really count, COVID and disrupted-season and didn't-win-it-at-the-G and so on…

Graeme Dodd

Oct 06, 2020

Thank you Titus for recounting what happened over four remarkable contests on the weekend .

Three in the morning is about when I get up to stare into the Fridge hoping there’s some leftover to sustain me until the morning light . Souvlaki is not something I would have thought of .... but hey if it’s sitting there ....

Party

Oct 06, 2020

Ray had his 14 metre tape measure out Thursday night just so he could make an impact on the game. Counted Gil’s little brothers pontifications directly unrelated to the action in front of him during the Saints Dogs game. Averaged 7 per quarter and I was going easy - works out to be roughly one spewing of abstract worthless meaningless self grandiosity every minute and a half in the tag team main commentary duo - not counting special comments guys who are usually less so as they have nothing to prove. Luke Darcy probably through the roof but I've developed a habit of blocking Mr Triple M out completely.

Saint Peter

Oct 06, 2020

I don't understand all the talk about Essendon. They know exactly what they are doing & are heading in the right direction. They just need time to execute their grand plans. As for the players supposedly wanting to leave, the club knows it is bigger than any player it has on its books. They should maintain & advise all their players that the club is the bigger person. No one should be allowed to leave no matter what the player wants. The club knows what is best for its players. Also Essendon have the best list in the league. You try & take any player off them & they expect a low 1st round pick in exchange if not 2 1st round picks. There are the only club with 44 "A" grade players on their list & they know that.

As for the commentary its a shame Channel 7 have the rights so their commentators call games even if you watch via Fox. It ruins the game for me. I do exclude the special comments guys/girls. When are they going to invent a mute scenario based on voice so you can mute certain commentators out my discretion. Sometimes less is more (take note LD, BT, BA)

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