Jul 22, 2019
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Eighteen
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.
Adelaide (75) v Essendon (96)
It hasn’t exactly been a vintage year for South Australian football. Last week Port showed they could get thumped at home and not to be out done, the Crows engineered a loss to an undermanned Bombers outfit.
The signs were all there early, as Essendon showed a higher work rate, but the scoreboard didn’t reflect it.
It even looked like the Crows would run away with it, but John Worsfold did some coaching stuff, moving some players around, as Don Pyke looked on helpless, like ‘what is this sorcery?’
The second half saw Adelaide’s scoring become slower than The Phantom Menace, and before you knew it, there was a low murmur around the ground as Crows fans began to realise they were watching another of their nightmares come to life.
Essendon could smell blood and threw everything at the Crows in the last quarter, which was mean because Crows players tend to drop anything travelling in their direction.
As the game ended, you could hear Mark Ricciuto on the phone to Alastair Clarkson asking how locked in he is at Hawthorn.
Richmond (101) v Port Adelaide (63)
Richmond fans will be thanking Port Adelaide this week for allowing Tom Lynch and Jack Riewoldt to work out their forward combination in simulated match conditions.
Port allowed both to get in some practice both up the field and in the goal square, and it looks like the Tigers are as good a chance for the Premiership as anyone else at the moment.
The Power have worked hard to consolidate a position outside the eight, a strategic aim that was in danger earlier in the year.
At least I have to assume that’s what their strategic aim is, what with the accuracy Ken Hinkley seems to deliver every season.
Xavier Duursma pulled out his bow and arrow, celebration again in this one. I’m looking forward to all those who found Adam Goodes’ imaginary spear scary to come out and condemn it.
The official AFL twitter feed tweeted out the celebration with the phrase ‘SHOOT THAT POISON ARROW TO MY HEART!’
This is a worrying escalation. Goodes’ imaginary spear was dangerous enough, but we can’t have imaginary poison arrows being shot off into the crowd. You can imagine a shield pretty quickly, but an antidote to poison can take days to imagine.
I hope the AFL is stockpiling it if it’s allowed to carry on.
I would have thought we would have learnt from the Mark Williams shotgun celebration. My friend was in the crowd that day, and one of the imaginary pellets caught him in the side. You can imagine the scar to this day.
Carlton (99) v Gold Coast (75)
David Teague’s personal crusade to make Chris Judd look silly continued on the weekend.
If this is what training wheels look like, then could someone send Simon Goodwin some?
It’s taken 43 games, but finally, Carlton has won two games in a row. Hawthorn win premierships more often. Four wins from six games with this team makes him the greatest coach they’ve had since David Parkin.
They shouldn’t be interviewing other coaches at Carlton; they should be erecting a statue of Teague outside Princes Park.
Blues fans must be looking at Michael Voss being interviewed for the position and wondering how just as you are learning to be happy, your club’s board is trying to snatch it all away from you.
The Suns to be fair seemed to take an interest in this match, something they’ve not done in months.
They showed flashed of competency, at times they hit targets and even did some tackling.
Greater Western Sydney (122) v Collingwood (75)
After last week’s heroics, the Pies hit the wall.
That wall was an eight goals to one opening quarter, as the Giants jumped Collingwood and never looked back.
The Pies did have injuries, but so did the Giants, with Phil Davis, Callan Ward, Stephen Coniglio, Josh Kelly and Matt de Boer all out.
Which made this an even stranger result. The Giants have been playing like a team heading out of the top eight fast, but here they were brutal. I’ve seen muggings that showed more concern for the victim.
It certainly helped that the Pies played like a group suffering from a big night out. Lethargic would be a compliment.
Nathan Buckley said the team didn’t turn up, and he gave them a massive spray at quarter time which was more of a workout than his team had in the first quarter.
They got back into the game a little bit, but the damage had been well and truly done.
The Pies now sit fourth on the ladder and face Richmond at the MCG. If the Tigers beat them, we can set the Doomsday clock back to five minutes.
Brisbane (87) v North Melbourne (75)
There will rightly be a big focus on the free-kick awarded to Oscar McInerney in the dying stages of the game, but the umpiring had been rather abysmal throughout the game.
The free-kick was so bad that the AFL even admitted they were wrong. They rarely do that.
The umpires seemed to go out of their way in this one to find free kicks, often awarding them if someone lightly brushed an opponent.
They went both ways too, against Brisbane and North.
The Lions may have been lucky at the end, but they shouldn’t have needed the umpires to win, if they’d kicked a bit straighter during the game.
After being jumped in the opening quarter, they clawed their way back, to the point it seemed very likely they might run over the top of them.
It means the Lions will be playing finals which are a tournament held at the end of the season to decide the premier.
Brisbane: Christensen 3, Lyons 2, Cameron 2, McInerney 2, McCluggage 2, Rich
North Melbourne: Brown 3, Wood 2, Larkey 2, Thomas 2, Higgins, Cunnington, Polec,
Brisbane: Fisher, Stevic, Stephens
North Melbourne: Higgins, Cunnington, Polec, Dumont, Anderson, Williams
Fremantle (52) v Sydney (51)
Sydney’s horrible season found new depths on the weekend, losing to Fremantle.
Sitting through this grind of a game was bad enough, but to then lose it would have been heartbreaking.
It serves Sydney right though, they created Ross Lyon, so losing to his side in this fashion is karma, especially when it was two behinds that got the Dockers over the line.
In the first half, Aliir Aliir was vomiting, which is the feeling I had watching this, but like me on a big night out, he didn’t let that stop him and continued on.
The victory keeps the Dockers finals chances alive but based on this; there’s more chance the AFL will admit AFLX is a waste of time and money.
Geelong (61) v Hawthorn (85)
Time and again, I’ve warned people about the dangers of thinking Hawthorn are no longer a danger to us all.
Not since the West though Germany were no longer a threat have we seen such dangerous complacency.
You see, the whole ‘get Alastair Clarkson’ thing every ‘expert’ opines when a coach gets sacked, well there’s a reason for that.
In a field where there are few, Alastair Clarkson knows what he is doing.
Clarkson doesn’t rebuild; he doesn’t write off a year, he battles for every inch in every minute of the season. At Hawthorn, failure is treated like a body treats a virus, it must be destroyed, except in this case, Hawthorn are the virus.
There’s no ‘let’s get better in the future; you have to get better all the time. Hence, a side that was average at best, is now winning regularly and knocked off what appeared to be the premiership favourites.
Geelong seemed weirdly disinterested. They’ve gone from crushing even the best sides to being worryingly easy to shut down.
It seems if you don’t let them just do what they want, they tend to struggle. Weird that.
Melbourne (78) v West Coast (91)
The Demons weren’t as horrendous as they have been this season, and the club will pat itself on that back and say, ‘good signs for next year’, when really, this was a horrible loss that they should have won.
First, they started as slow as you can, only realising the game had started in the second quarter, then they missed so many opportunities they kept the Eagles in the game, leading to the inevitable moment they would run over the top of them.
And you just knew the Eagles would make Melbourne pay for not doing the job earlier; they’re too skilful an outfit not to. In reality, they got lucky, West Coast were nowhere near their best, and you can’t play like this in finals, Melbourne won’t be in them.
It sees the Demons now sitting second last on the ladder, an outcome so horrific there’s no excuse for it, not injuries, pre-season, horoscopes.
At least Melbourne fan still have bragging rights over Suns supporters, which is about as useful as having bragging rights over the Loch Ness monster.
St Kilda (116) v Western Bulldogs (89)
After Damian Hardwick won the premierships, clubs became terrified to sack their coach, but this year has seen a real return to form.
Just like the sacking of Brendon Bolton and Brad Scott have seen improved performances, the sacking of Alan Richardson got immediate results.
Now that the Saints players have achieved their goal of getting their coach fired, they started playing with real intensity. I wonder if they should give back some of their pay from earlier in the year when they were obviously not giving their all?
This was an impressive performance too as the Bulldogs are still in the hunt for the finals, or at least they were.
Every Doggies supporter was cursing the Saints for choosing last week to sack Richardson, they all knew what it meant.
The newly energised St Kilda outworked the Bulldogs all game, except for the third quarter. It means finals are now a longshot for the Bulldogs and Ratten has got off to a good start to try to win the Saints head coach position before they give it to Brad Scott anyway.
Titus is touring around the country in the upcoming months, visiting Canberra, Adelaide, Sydney, Perth, Hobart and Brisbane. Tickets available here: http://www.frontiercomedy.com/titusoreily
Titus’ new bookPlease, 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.