Jul 19, 2021

AFL

The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Eighteen

26 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

Fremantle (31) v Geelong (100)

First off, an apology for not getting the columns out last week, a combination of my computer dying, waiting for a new one, being incredibly unwell, getting a covid test, finding out I didn’t have covid, going into lockdown, then losing the will to live, all conspired against me.

Speaking of losing the will to live, Dockers fans certainly had their fair share of that during this routing.

For a team travelling quite well, this was a brutal reality check, with the Cats booting seven unanswered goals either side of quarter-time, when the Dockers forgot how to play football.

You know it’s not going well when your opponents have 123 more disposals and 72 more marks than you.

When the Dockers did get the ball, they took it forward with the confidence I bring to small talk. They were awkward, hesitant, and left a lot to be desired.

It was a brutal reminder that there’s a fair drop off from the top few teams.

Friday

Richmond (106) v Brisbane (86)

Going into this, the signs weren’t good for Richmond, coming off four losses to ordinary opposition, the game moved from the MCG to the Gold Coast, and then traffic to preventing the game from starting on time.

You know something is deeply wrong with our country when footy games can’t start on time.

But for Jack Riewoldt’s 300th game, the Tigers found that energy of old, with Riewoldt turning back the clock and booting six.

Yet the positive return of Richmond’s high-pressure came at a cost, Dustin Martin will miss the rest of the season with a kidney injury.

Many Australians know how he feels, all these lockdowns have done similar damage to our livers.

For the Lions, after last week’s performance against St Kilda, a top-four finish is now looking about as likely as Sydney getting out of lockdown this year.

Saturday

St Kilda (61) v Port Adelaide (74)

The Saints late charge for the eight hit a hurdle on the weekend, once again reminding us that leaving everything to the last minute has its dangers.

St Kilda’s Dan McKenzie was an early casualty, when during a tackle, Mitch Georgiades landed on top of him. It’s a reminder of the inherent danger of AFL when even an opponent landing on you can knock you unconscious.

Despite us all knowing this, we fans still reserve the right to call players soft, even though most of us would die if tackled by an AFL player. Being a footy fan is not a logical exercise, it is the polar opposite.

You could tell there was no real crowd at this because after the many misses for goal there wasn’t groaning. The fake crowd noises don’t have people losing their minds, which seems an oversight. It’s not like there isn’t plenty of such incidents on tape.

The win for Port keeps them in the top four, keeping their chances of losing to the top teams in the finals alive.

Gold Coast (79) v Western Bulldogs (90)

Who knows what time the Bulldogs’ bus left for Metricon Stadium after Richmond’s problems the night before?

Personally, I like to always leave early so I’m not late. This is always easily achievable due to me not having much on. When I open my calendar, there’s so little in it, I’m always struck by the thought that there’s no need for me to have a calendar.

Adding to that, repeat lockdowns mean I barely know what day it is let alone the month. Since early 2020, my mind just thinks of time as one mess surrounded by a solar system of other messes.

At least for Bulldogs fans got a moment to enjoy the work of their number one draft pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, who took some nice marks and kicked three goals.

Personally, after his first game, I’d written off his entire career, but it turns out I might have been hasty.

The Suns continued to show improvement, the last time these two met in Round five the Bulldogs destroyed them.

This time the Suns put up a real fight, with Touk Miller once again dragging his teammates along.

He had 38 disposals and surely he must now be seen as one of the best players in the game. He gets around more than patient zero for a covid outbreak.

Melbourne (79) v Hawthorn (79)

What the hell Melbourne.

In a season where they’re top of the ladder and we fans should be joyously happy; the Dees still find ways to torture us.

Hawthorn made this game messy, and the Dees seemed not that keen on getting messy.

Non-stop pressure can narrow the gap between the best teams and the worst.

Time and again, the Hawks just outworked the Dees at the contest, and this created their own luck, every bounce seemed to go their way, which happens when you are just putting in more effort.

A lot has been made of the Dees losing to the lower teams, but that distracts from the real problem, which is their last six weeks have been poor, especially when it comes to winning the ball at stoppages.

For Hawthorn, it showed what a great coach they have. They’re such a rare commodity, and when you’ve got when you should never let them go.

As for the draw, people say we should get rid of them and replace them with a penalty shoot out equivalent.

I hate that idea. A goal-kicking contest would be like deciding the final of MasterChef by seeing who can order from a Maccas drive-thru the fastest.

Sunday

North Melbourne (74) v Essendon (92)

This was another game shifted to the Gold Coast due to Covid. If only the AFL had listened to Jaidyn ‘Professor Science’ Stephenson, they could have stayed in Melbourne.

According to the good doctor, if the media reported on Covid less, it wouldn’t be ‘such a big thing’.

It’s right out of Trump’s ‘if we tested less, we’d have fewer cases’ theory.

It’s a reminder that listening to footballers, ex-footballers, their partners and reality TV stars when it comes to Covid, is like listening to your mate’s theories on footy. It’s amusing but you don’t take them seriously.

Essendon got the win in this despite spending the first half casually strolling around the field.

It occurred to them in the second half that this wouldn’t get the job done, especially against a North side that is improving every week.

Jake Stringer and Darcy Parish were key to turning things around, and their example of breaking out of a light jog inspired their teammates.

It wasn’t a convincing victory, but when the other teams contesting for the top eight keep falling over, it’s just enough to stay on your feet.

Collingwood (62) v Carlton (91)

Sam Walsh is so good, it’s hard to believe he plays for Carlton.

In this game, it was like a Ferrari had been dropped into a go-kart race.

A go-kart race where all the go-karts are painted the same colour so you can’t tell them apart.

Collingwood’s refusal to have an alternate strip made this look terrible but to their credit, as the game went on, their general play was what made it look terrible.

The Pies had the upper hand early, and the Blues fans were already calling for blood on Twitter before the Pies just stopped.

It’s like any time Collingwood get around 60 to 70 points, they slam on the breaks like there’s a speed limit or something.

The Blues, seeming to realise this, just kept getting better and better, and with the passing of Sergio Silvagni, and his grandson Jack playing a very good game in an emotional week, I felt happy for the Blues when they won.

I know. I’m not sure what’s wrong with me. I guess the pressure of lockdown V is getting to me. Not as much as Lockdown IV did, but more than Lockdown III.

Man, I wish I couldn’t rank lockdowns by the impact on my psychological health, but here we all are.

Adelaide (56) v West Coast (98)

West Coast have done an abrupt turnaround and decided they will continue with season 2021 after all.

I’m glad they had a change of heart. Refusing to play footy the last few weeks seemed an unnecessary overreaction to the troubles we all face.

And a big thank you to the Crows for taking the time to build up the Eagles self-confidence back up. Sometimes in life, it’s about lifting others up, and in this game, the Crows certainly did that.

The Crows have now lost four in a row, taking the gloss off some good performances early on.

The good news for the Crows is they can just quietly work on things, what with the Adelaide media being pretty forgiving towards them.    

Greater Western Sydney (72) v Sydney (98)

What a chaotic end to the round. First off, we learnt AFL players went to a Rugby Union game. Where’s the loyalty?

If you’re going to go to a tier-one or two sites, make it AFL.

I think that’s why the AFL had no sympathy that eight players were unavailable for the game.   

Plus, it wasn’t Victorian teams, so no biggie.

It’s the biggest threat Rugby Union has presented to the AFL since the early 2000s.

With so many players missing, it was hard to know what was going to happen and early on it seemed the Swans have 20 players not able to play.

But at halftime, I think more Giants players got told they’d been at tier two sites, because they didn’t participate in the game any further as the Swans came from 35 points back to smash them.

It was all one-way traffic in the second half, with the Swans kicking 12 of the last 14 goals as the Giants defence became as effective as Sydney’s lockdown.

The game was a reminder of just how fragile the footy season is. You get the feeling we’ll be lucky to get to the end. 

The emotion was on full display when John Longmire wiped tears away from his eyes after the game.

You know times are tough when even football coaches are crying.

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

COMMENTS

Pete

Jul 19, 2021

Thanks. Jack kicked 6! Super club man.

Sad Sainter

Jul 19, 2021

After watching AFL players kick for goal this is how I teach my kid - ok son, line it up, head looking around, hands any way you want....steady..... start walking, now spin the ball in your hands, spin it, keep spinning the ball now kick! Any wonder goal kicking is atrocious.

WA Bogan

Jul 19, 2021

Hey Titus,

Glad to hear that you're as "Ok as usual" - I thought you might have got stuck in a WiFi free zone in a Ski Chalet drinking Pinot Grigio with most Melbourne members at this time of year.

The Melbourne FC was certainly put into lockdown on Saturday night. The Hawk's 3rd gamer ruckman "Superman" Reeves held up very well against Gawn. The rest of the Hawks U16's who played on the night fared pretty well too.

But it was more a case of the Hawks dragging the Dees down to their level rather than the Hawks lifting to the Dees level (cripes, I never thought I'd get to write that in my lifetime).

Great to see the Dockers resume normal service too.

Running Dog

Jul 19, 2021

I don't mind listening to my mate's theories on footy. He's no more deluded than anyone else, and how else would I have known that you can see Bailey Smith's mullet from space? It's when he bangs on about cars, that really bugs me. He's got himself a Hyundai Echo, and I've heard it all before.

Gyfox

Jul 19, 2021

Titus, you are right about the Adelaide media being soft on the Crows. When the Crows lose, the Crowvertiser will run an article about Port Adelaide. So today there was a pic of Mitch Georgiadis taking one of his marks. If Crows had won there would be no reason to show that pic, being such an ordinary mark ;-)

Atrocious Conditions

Jul 19, 2021

@ SAD SAINTER:

This applies to all teams in today's AFL, but as I said a couple of weeks ago, in regards to a Western Bulldogs game:

You know, when you see how the Bulldogs at one stage were - I think, from memory - 2.11, you have to ask yourself a few questions. A lot of those behinds were from easy, close-range set shots, the kind of shots coaches call "really gettable".

So the first question that comes to mind is how guys can be running the wrong way, virtually right on the boundary line, against the wind, on their non-preferred foot and with two defenders on their hammer and kick a goal , yet if they take a set shot from 20 metres out straight in front they'd be lucky to hit the post.

Fat Side

Jul 19, 2021

Surely the penalty shootout at the end of a drawn AFL match must involve the round, archery-style handball target with the flap of cloth in the bulls-eye.

The Ho Brothers (Brayden, Brody and Brock)

Jul 19, 2021

If you're straight in front we were taught to aim for the left behind post if you're a right-foot kick and the right behind post if you're a left-foot.

The Ho Brothers (Brayden, Brody and Brock)

Jul 19, 2021

...kick.

Mickey

Jul 19, 2021

Yes jack got 6 of the best, reminded me of what the nuns used to do to me for writing with my left hand. "only the devil writes with the left hand" they would say. it was the saying in those days

The g train

Jul 19, 2021

“First off, we learnt AFL players went to a Rugby Union game. Where’s the loyalty?”. I’ll try and look for the loyalty of AFL players, Titus. And let you know where it is.

I’m sorry you lost the will to live for a time, Titus. I also lost the will to live for a while. When I had to endure way too long between my fixes of your idiotic emotional irrational footy musings.

DavidG

Jul 19, 2021

Fat Side is a genius. I propose that they draw one player from each side out of a hat, then they get 3 handballs with each hand. Highest score wins the game, and a selection of meat pies and Pelaco shirts. The ghost of Lou Richards will adjudicate, except when Collingwood is involved, and then we will get Jack Dyer's spirit. If it is a Collingwood/Richmond draw both sides will be declared the losers and will have 4 points deducted.

Or, we could just leave a 100+ year practice alone, instead of messing with it to keep gamblers and bookmakers happy.

Note: I'm a Hawks supporter, and while I would have liked to have won, a draw is better than losing.

Yes, Jake Lloyd is officially the softest player that has ever played a game of Aussie Rules

Jul 19, 2021

Disappointed that Titus won't nominate for the mid-season draft. He'd surely be more effective than Jake Lloyd and Aaron Hall. At least Titus will try and engage in contest....

Kafka’s Ghost

Jul 19, 2021

Missed your columns last week Titus, but delighted to hear that 1. whatever lurgy beset you, it wasn’t covid, and 2. You’re well enough to produce the most insightful game analysis out there.

Sad Sainter

Jul 19, 2021

@ATROCIOUS CONDITIONS Yes agreed. Most players spin the ball around in their hands when kicking for goal now except for ones who are universally acknowledged for accuracy, Gunston, Breust and Ben Brown come to mind. I grew up watching Tony Lockett. Always held the ball steady with a very simple, consistent and deliberate action. Why modern players don't copy him is beyond me. Why coaches allow it is beyond me. You certainly would never teach a kid to do it.

Atrocious Conditions

Jul 19, 2021

@ SAD SAINTER And whenever the fact that their players kicked for goal like octogenarians do yoga is brought up at a press conference or whatever, coaches often downplay it like it's no big deal.

These days there must be some "new thinking" on what it takes to get the score on the board.

Flanker

Jul 19, 2021

That dead computer-Covid excuse worked quite well. Nice one TItus.

Vaccinated with nowhere to go

Jul 19, 2021

Dees Dees Dees. Sigh. I don’t know what’s worse: the last six weeks of hope fading after I’d found some still existed, or the risk we’ll finally make a GF and not be allowed to go watch it. A Dees supporter’s inner turmoil knows no bounds.

As for the kicking thing… I think it’s time for the AFL to accept my bling held point scoring system of 20 points for hitting the goal post…. Surest way to make sure no one ever hits them again.

To removal of the word ‘lockdown’ from the dictionary… my next petition.org and go fund me page.

Barry Bourke 14

Jul 19, 2021

Stop the panic brother and sister Ds peeps Unless one of the bottom four sneaks into the top eight we've got the granny sewn up !

Macca

Jul 19, 2021

The players weren't attending a Rugby match - they were attending an International Test Match between Australia & France, an experience which AFL players will, unfortunately, never achieve themselves unless they play Rugby.
I don't count soccer, where we can beat up Nauru, Kiribati and sneak into the final spot of a World Cup - and rapidly discover our true position with a rapid exit from the first round.
And don't try and id me that "International Rules", is representative footy.

BLOKE FROM THE OUTER

Jul 20, 2021

WA BOGAN ...'I thought you might have got stuck in a WiFi free zone in a Ski Chalet drinking Pinot Grigio'

No such thing as a WiFi free chalet; telstra puts in special 5G towers for each chalet. And they were probably drinking Pinot Noir. They drank the Grigio during the day at the Alberg while 'resting' between the two runs.

BLOKE FROM THE OUTER

Jul 20, 2021

MACCA JUL 19, 2021
The players weren't attending a Rugby match - they were attending an International Test Match between Australia & France (3rd eleven). There fixed.

Stoney

Jul 21, 2021

Big fella I did warn this w/o as a danger game for the DEES. It was very similar to the first time we played them but kicked away in the last.problem was we didn't plan for such a pop sided free kick count to keep them in it. Ok that game is gone and we go into this week's game against the dogs full of confidence because we know how to beat good teams and not rabble. Stick fat with the DEES mate and ENJOY the ride.GO DEES .

M

Jul 22, 2021

STONEY - you haven't experienced free kick differential until you've played the Dogs

Skernk

Jul 23, 2021

@MACCA I don’t think anyone tries to kid anyone that “International Rules is representative footy”.

It’s a bit of a lark is all it is.

Halftime Spray

Jul 23, 2021

M:

https://afltables.com/afl/stats/frees.html#2021 confirms your comment. I'd be interested in why RICH has such an egregiously negative differential, though.

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