Sep 11, 2023
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Finals Week One
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.
Collingwood (60) v Melbourne (53)
The AFL started the finals with a Coles ‘Prices are down’ mascot attending the coin toss. It was a wonderful reminder that the AFL will protect the sanctity of the game unless you offer them money.
Once the game started, the niceties of the regular season were over quickly, with Brayden Maynard committing attempted murder in the opening moments of the finals.
The jury is literally out on whether it was intention, or he was bracing himself.
The general consensus of the people, both Pies and Demons fans, I’ve spoken to, is he’ll either get off or be suspended for three weeks.
How can this be so? Because it’s the AFL Tribunal, where anything can happen.
The AFL are torn. They want to send a clear message about concussion, but it’s finals.
One thing the majority of us could agree on is chanting your team’s name as an opponent is laying unconscious on the ground is not a good look.
The rest of game was defined by one thing, the Dees avoiding scoring to a level that was almost pathological.
For large swathes of the game, the Dees had the ball up forward, only to invent innovative new ways not to score.
The Pies would then wait for the Dees to tire themselves out then rebound and score a goal almost immediately.
The Dees had an inside-50 advantage of 69-37 for the game and outscored the Pies 3.2 to 0.2 in the final quarter.
It was rope a dope and the Dees played the role of the dope to perfection.
While Melbourne’s forward line was as dysfunctional as my family, special mention needs to go to their midfield, who bombed the ball into the forward line all game, despite all the evidence it was not working.
Not since Daryl Somers performed at the Logies have so many bombs been launched.
The Pies were thrilled. Their pressure game paid off even when they weren’t at their best, they get a week off, Nick Daicos will be back, and they consigned the Dees to having to go through Brisbane in Brisbane if they make it at all.
Carlton (74) v Sydney (68)
Something unbelievable happened on Friday night, like watching a hamster sing a perfect aria, or Qantas putting customers first; Carlton won a final.
It was that unexpected, and I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t watched it with my own eyes.
We must now all face the reality that Carlton are a good football team.
I am at the anger and bargaining stage of grieving about this.
While Carlton were good, the Swans decision to kick just two goals in the first half may have been a mistake.
Personally, I would have kicked a lot more goals than that.
In the second half, the Swans seemed to realise this and started storming back. The Carlton supporters near me had all the ghosts from the past rushing back to visit them.
Yet the Swans couldn’t take their chances, and some desperate acts in the final moments got the Blues over the line.
Blues fans celebrations were momentarily dampened when they realised finals went more than one week, but here they are still alive in September.
Being Carlton, there was some bad news, Harry McKay was ruled out of next weekend with a concussion, and Jack Martin got two weeks for striking Nick Blakey.
John Longmire complained about the Score Review System, and to be fair, he admitted they had benefitted from it themselves recently.
The problem is, the AFL use the same cameras that people use to film UFOs and Yetis for score reviews.
St Kilda (77) v Greater Western Sydney (101)
The AFL’s dream of a Port Adelaide-Greater Western Sydney Grand Final is over, as the two will play next week.
For the Giants to be here at all, and so convincingly, is a testament to the turnaround under Adam Kingsley. Imagine if they’d gotten rid of Leon Cameron earlier!
Someone said to me on the weekend that the Giants are everyone’s second team, which made me wonder if they are anyone’s first team.
But, at the MCG, there they were, actual Giants fans and they were thrilled as their team tore apart the Saints with their speed.
This shouldn’t be that surprising, there is so much talent at the Giants, take for instance, Tom Green who had 36 disposals and nine inside 50s. He’s 22 years old.
My biggest achievement at 22 was winning a meat tray at the local pub raffle.
And yes, I know that eclipses Green’s performance, but he still did a good job.
In many ways, St Kilda impressed to get this close.
Twice, they fell behind by more than 40 points. It’s to their credit they kept coming back, but falling behind by forty points twice is something most teams try to avoid.
In the end, they looked out of their depth, like when I’m in a conversation and it moves onto any topic but football.
Saints supporters left with mixed feelings. Their side got a lot out of themselves this season, given the injuries they started the year with.
But honourable losses are like alcohol-free beer; they aren’t what we’re here for.
Brisbane (123) v Port Adelaide (75)
The most one-sided of all the games, as Port underwhelmed so much it was like they were a TV series created by The Weeknd.
The pitchforks will be out for Ken Hinkley, given there are many Port fans who want him gone even if he wins the Premiership.
Again, it was the Power’s defense that was the problem, it managed Brisbane’s forward line like I manage money.
Joe Daniher finished with five goals, and there were contributors everywhere.
Charlie Cameron kicked two, and nothing says Australian Rules football like John Denver’s Country Roads.
But selecting a song to play after you kick a goal is always hard. I would choose Closer by Nine Inch Nails.
Port now have to take on the Giants, not exactly an easy game for them, while the Lions can sit back, knowing they get a prelim at home. They can’t lose!
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This week’s Sports Bizarre episode is The America’s Cup: Part Two, available wherever you get your podcasts.