Sep 05, 2022

AFL

The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Finals Week One

29 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

Brisbane (106) v Richmond (104)

Well, that was a rather intense few days of football, but it’s nice just to feel something again, even if it was heartache and pain.

We began with this game, where the two teams tested the theory ‘what if we just didn’t bother with defending?’.

The answer is you get an exciting game, 17 lead changes and Joe Daniher gets a chance to play a role in a final.

The Lions got off to a horrible start, when their ruckman, Oscar McInerney, went off concussed three minutes in, which you file under ‘things I certainly don’t want to happen when my team is playing in the finals.’

Without a ruckman, Brisbane had no chance, except this was Richmond, a team that made ‘almost but not quite’ their motto this year.

When Dion Prestia was subbed out with a hamstring injury late in the second quarter, a lot of Richmond’s momentum went with him, but there was still hope for the Tigers, being they were playing the Lions.

And it could have gone so well, except Tom Lynch missed a chance to seal the victory, with the goal umpire calling it a goal, only for the AFL Review Centre (ARC) to overrule it.

People need to admire the fact that the AFL can get things wrong in both digital and analogue forms, quite the achievement.

If the AFL had been in charge of building the ark in the Bible, not a single thing would be alive today.

The ARC was of course correct, because the AFL is never wrong, and if you think it has ever been, you’re breaking several laws, even more, if you’re in one of the Southern states.

But in the most alarming moment of the night, after the ball was failed to be punched through the goal by the Richmond defence, Joe Daniher managed to get a foot to the ball for a goal.

Moments later the siren went, and so shocked was everyone at this turn of events, they played the Richmond theme song like this was a Crows pre-season camp.

There have been people pardoned on death row who have looked less relieved than Chris Fagan did on Thursday night.

Friday

Melbourne (69) v Sydney (91)

There are some moments in life that are just brutal, finding out your parents don’t love you, watching your team lose a final, and discovering you forgot to drink your tea and it’s now cold.

In the past week, I’ve had all three happen to me. The tea thing really hurt.

The Swans repeated their efforts of earlier in the year by pressuring Melbourne into making mistakes, and the Demons obliged by making a lot of them, not least of all moving the ball forward with the pace of a glacier.

While part of the problem was the fact that Melbourne’s forward line is firing as well as NASA’s Artemis 1, the constant fumbling and dropping of marks further up the field didn’t help.

This was all due to the Swans relentless pressure and their ability to handle the Dees attempts to pressure them.

It looked like the Dees were playing in slippery, wet conditions, while the Swans were playing in the purest sunshine ever to grace the surface of the earth.

Steven May blanketed Buddy all night, but the difference was Buddy’s supporting cast were more than up to the task of lifting around him.

The Dees, instead of lifting when it counted, looked bruised and battered, with Christian Petracca playing with a hairline fracture, which is less than ideal in a finals series.

Personally, if I had a hairline fracture, I would be lying on the floor crying hysterically, but Petracca decided to play on, which is a legitimate option too I guess.

You can overcomplicate these review things; Sydney was simply better and more desperate, Robbie Fox proved that several times in his Gandalf moment.

Saturday

Geelong (78) v Collingwood (72)

It’s September, which means it’s Gary Rohan time.

In one of the greatest finals games ever streamed on Kayo, Geelong and Collingwood stood toe to toe and threw haymakers at each other, and it was a shame there had to be a loser, even if Craig McRae doesn’t think there was.

In front of an enormous crowd, this was the brash young challenger up against the wily veteran.

There were so many factors in the Geelong win, and it could easily have gone the other way, but Jeremy Cameron was a big one.

When Cameron decided to leave the Giants, he had so many options, and I’m just glad he chose Geelong, a team starved of success for so long.

Collingwood certainly gave themselves every chance, and for one single reason, they were relentless in their pressure.

Like a newspaper columnist writing about gender identity, they had a singular, unwavering focus and had no interest in deviating from their preconceived plan.

This meant Geelong couldn’t really get their own game going, which is a testament to their victory because despite that, they still got the job done.

This was certainly helped by Taylor Adams going off injured in a moment that made even the hardest Pies hater feel sympathy.

He tore his groin right off the bone, a phrase you never want to hear.

If this is a preview of the Grand Final, we are in for a classic.

Fremantle (73) v Western Bulldogs (60)

To be a Dockers supporter is to experience a lot of emotions, and this game crammed them all into one game.

Fremantle fans looked mortified when their team failed to run out in the first quarter, and it was a terrible oversight.

Against any other team this could have been fatal, but in finals, the Bulldogs don’t play four quarters in Perth. 

And that’s what is going to sting, up by 41 points in the second quarter and playing a team that has delighted in letting their fans down, this seemed a chance at another miracle run.

But this Dockers side seemed keen to not send their supporters home with tears in their eyes, and instead booted 11 of the last 13 goals, which is a great way not to lose a game.

Not that it was easy, the Dockers themselves were the very definition of their worst enemy, missing easy shots and seeming more nervous than Prince Andrew receiving a new subpoena.

Finally, they pulled it together, with Caleb Serong and Andrew Brayshaw driving the turnaround, while their defence just put up the ‘closed’ sign in the second half.

Fremantle’s faithful looked shocked. They liked what was happening, but they didn’t really understand it.

What looked like a belting suddenly turned into a character-defining victory.

As the final siren went, the crowd went wild, and then news started to filter out that there is a second week of finals, and their team would be participating in it.

Ahhh finals. Where sleep brings dreams of home.

You can help support me in producing this ridiculous nonsense I churn out on a regular basis. Find out more here: https://titusoreily.com/support-titus

My new podcast Sports Bizarre is out now: https://sportsbizarre.com/ 

 

COMMENTS

F Onthemoon

Sep 05, 2022

The Bulldog's most important job this year was keeping Carlton out of the finals so i consider the whole thing a success.

Con Cushion

Sep 05, 2022

Turn it up Titus ... Hairline fracture. If Christian is feeling that vain about his fracture. I suggest he wears a wig!! Con.

Pablo668

Sep 05, 2022

As a Freo supporter, I was gobsmacked. I didn't get to watch the game, only listen to the first qtr and a bit, then the final 8 or so minutes. Unbfknlvble.
Commiserations Doggies, we have to go and play Collingwood now.

Peter

Sep 05, 2022

Clearly, Titus,you have not experienced the outer limits of anxiety: I once found my extra large sausage roll was frozen in the centre, and after I had put sauce on it. I never came back from that one.

Paul

Sep 05, 2022

"Richmond, a team that made ‘almost but not quite’ their motto this year." Very accurate comment but it seems to have been overlooked that for 35 years from 1980 to 2015 Richmond did exactly that...almost but not quite. The recent hype of the Dusty flags have been the anomaly in a long term trend......

The g train

Sep 05, 2022

“…but it’s nice just to feel something again, even if it was heartache and pain”. So, so true. Us StK supporters are constantly feeling something, and we endlessly thank the club for that.

Only a genius could comedically satire that first epic and magnificent first week of finals. And Titus nailed it. In the world of footy, there are things that are known and things that are unknown. And in between, there is Titus O’Reily. (Apologies to William Blake).

Marjory

Sep 05, 2022

I thought the Fremantle crowd went wild two weeks ago.....when they realised that the season doesn't finish at the end of August!

Saint Peter

Sep 05, 2022

Great job Titus. Must correct one point - if the AFL built the ark, only the cockroaches would have survived.

Kevin Fitzgerald

Sep 05, 2022

So much excitement at Fremantle that minds at the club went ballistic to such an extent that members travelling to Melbourne for the Woods game received the wrong tickets and unknown person's PERSONAL INFORMATION!!!! Thank God they win or there would have been hell to pay! *Imagine if this had happened at Collingwood!!!! K.

BLUENATIC

Sep 05, 2022

Great weekend of football, and one in which Blues fans got the comforting knowledge that no matter who they played they would have been walloped - EVEN BY FREO!. Geelong, Collingwood are the teams with a real chance. Sydney, irritatingly, may also be in it. But this looks like one year it will bring superb quality football. Even if it's all done by J Cameron and G Rohan.

Running Dog

Sep 05, 2022

The noise at Optus Stadium on Saturday night was so loud I didn't hear the siren. The Bulldogs obviously did- only they heard it at half time. Unfortunately the hairline fracture of my heart from last year's grand final has not receded. I now have to face the bald truth that a coach who quotes Che Guevara as having anything to say that might be relevant to footy is the kind of crazy fool who would quote Che Guevara.

Jarrod

Sep 05, 2022

Geelong seem to get 5 extra seconds in the tackle to hold on to the ball, and how they dispose of it is optional. Must be some sort of Old Age Pensioer discount I guess.

Lynne Black

Sep 05, 2022

Titus, I’m sure your parents really do love you 🥲

SB

Sep 05, 2022

Cmon Titus…. Im in NZ on hols. Two miracles happened. The Watch AFL app worked (mostly) and I saw a glacier move. I have photos. Very expensive photos.

David Robertson

Sep 05, 2022

And just as the games have lifted a notch, so has the Monday knee jerk reaction.

Norman W

Sep 05, 2022

VAR is not perfect we saw it here and see it in the Premier league in England but it’s an aid.
Where it goes wrong here and in the UK are the people making the decisions
It’s very clear the umpire has made a call
Unless definitive and that’s the key , if there is none or the technology doesn’t confirm it , the officials need refer the call back to the field umpire
I don’t know why these billion dollar industries can’t just stick to the rules they made …seriously !

Graeme

Sep 05, 2022

May prodded the Bear all night, but was so dumb he fell for the Bears ploy of taking him into the the stands So his teammates could still wreck havoc in the I50 whilst also leaving him with no milk for his weetbix.

Louellyn

Sep 05, 2022

Now Titus, I’m sure your parents love you

September Docker

Sep 05, 2022

Simple really. Master Coach Longmuir lulls Dogs into complacency so a few of them depart for the nearby casino at quarter time. Also, thinking that someone 20 metres behind you won’t be laying a tackle on you is a reasonable assumption unless the someone happens to be Michael Frederick.

BLUETANIC

Sep 05, 2022

Irritatingly, Cralton haven't been in any finals for how long?

Obstrep Porus

Sep 05, 2022

Actually, Joe Daniher played a role in Essendons 2014 finals loss to North, kicking 4 goals as a leading tall forward, rather than the crumming small forward goals he appears to kick in finals these days.

Lion of Floreat

Sep 05, 2022

Beyond excited last Thursday night !

Love your work Titus, great to see that at finals time you really lift to a new level, especially with gems like
" ... There have been people pardoned on death row who have looked less relieved than Chris Fagan did on Thursday night.. "

Tigertough

Sep 05, 2022

ARC was of course correct, because the AFL is never wrong,
Glorious!

Benno

Sep 05, 2022

Absolutely fantastic round of finals matched by tremendous knee jerk prose from our scribe.

Something magical happened at Optus on Saturday night... no not the comeback...but we were not given time to grieve the first quarter thanks to a performance of “let it go” from The “Frozen” musical singer complete with everyone switching on their phone torches.

We literally let the first quarter go! And from then on fate was on our side plus the flying squadron of Sonny, Shultz and Frederick.

It’s the Freo boys making all the noise everywhere we go!

Fat Side

Sep 05, 2022

They sell groin-off-the-bone at the deli at my local supermarket. Shaved, of course.

Colly

Sep 06, 2022

Culmination of a week from hell. My Dees premiership poster fell off the wall. Titus I regularly drink microwaved tea!

Merlin’s Mother

Sep 06, 2022

Peter - I hope you had the GastroStop handy after eating that half frozen sausso roll mate. Otherwise you’ll be painting the bathroom walls about now. Hoping you recover before Friday night!!

Speaking of which, I wonder what Maysy will do with Baby Joe Daniher on Friday night. I am betting that the Lions only let him have three weetbix for breakfast and then run out of milk.

Or Maysy might zone his inner Allen Jakovich and give him a great big hug and a kiss at the start of the game? Baby Joe just won’t know what to do with that kind of pre-game routine. Different.

Same same for Daniel Rich - I wonder if there is a penalty for unwarranted kindness on the field? Charming and disarming might work as a strategy? Or tie his shoelaces together when he is not watching?

You never know what might happen in finals.

Whisper

Sep 08, 2022

True fact

No team has ever won a Grand Final with Gary Rohan playing for it!

SHEMP

Sep 08, 2022

@ WHISPER:

That's good to know.

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