Jul 18, 2022
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Eighteen
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.
Marcus Bontempelli (84) v St Kilda (56)
With so much on the line, it was spectacular to watch how little the Saints put into this game.
It took until late in the second half for the Saints to even offer a passable impression of an AFL side, and by then the damage had been done, not just on the scoreboard but to the Saints finals chances.
Perhaps the Saints just panicked being high up on the ladder and are fleeing to the bottom eight where they feel comfortable.
The Bulldogs couldn’t believe their luck when the opening siren sounded, and their opponents hadn’t yet made it onto the ground.
They quickly pilled on seven goals unanswered, the cheering of Bulldogs fans alerting the Saints in their locker room that the game had started.
One problem afflicting all Saints players is an eye condition that means they can’t see Marcus Bontempelli, more commonly known as 'Bontempelli blindness'.
He just ran around doing what he liked, while the Saints players, unable to see him, could do nothing about it. It was like the Predator’s stealth mode.
He ended with 34 disposals and two goals. If he does that every game he might drag the Dogs into the finals.
Adelaide (86) v Collingwood (91)
A much better game than anyone thought it would be, although like Lost, the ending was disappointing, what with the Pies winning again.
The Pies were down by 16 points in the third and given their track record of comebacks, and the fact they were playing the Crows, you just sensed a Pies victory was inevitable.
Again, it was Nick Daicos who made the difference, making a mockery of the idea that AFL footy is hard.
He had three goals, including two in the last quarter and a lazy 40 disposals and really, it was just ridiculous and should be illegal.
If only he didn’t play for Collingwood!
Adelaide, coming off a laughable performance last week, showed a lot of heart in this, none more so than Rory Laird who had 31 disposals and then decided to also set an AFL record by laying 20 tackles.
There are players who wouldn’t do that in their careers.
One interesting thing to note was the umpires have put away the whistle when Jack Ginnivan ducks for a free. It’s good to see, they’ve learnt quickly, I wonder if they’re aware of another new player who does the same, Joel Selwood?
Greater Western Sydney (59) v Brisbane (99)
The Lions travelled to Canberra but unfortunately, the Giants didn’t.
With the Essendon’s brains trust in the coaching box, the Giants are having about as much success as Essendon have in recent decades.
The Lions did things to the Giants from centre clearance that were very much NSFW.
Again, and again the Lions just overwhelmed the Giants defence, which tried to stem the tide, but it was like standing in front of a firehose.
It looked like all the anger the Lions had from losing to Essendon, was taken out on the Giants. It was like watching Gordon Ramsey yell at some 18-year-old assistant chef on Kitchen Nightmares.
The only bright spot for the Giants was keen tribunal attendee Toby Greene.
His four goals were something else, given the ball went into the Giants forward line fewer times than there’s been Hey Hey it’s Saturday specials.
North Melbourne (92) v Richmond (88)
Hang on. I’m just going to double-check the score again.
Yes, it still says North Melbourne defeated Richmond.
In footy’s oldest tradition, the Kangaroos turned it on after getting their coach sacked, but in an extra step, dedicated the win to David Noble.
I’m sure he was thrilled they saved this until after he was sacked, sorry mutually decided to separate like Chris Martin/Gwyneth Paltrow consciously uncoupling.
And the Kangaroos were good, they played well early and then they stuffed up less in the dying moments.
There was a lot of stuffing up in the last few minutes, as both Richmond and North discovered new ways to butcher opportunities, and repeatedly ignored chances to run the clock down.
The key play was a boundary throw-in, when Todd Goldstein's tapped the ball perfectly to Cam Zurhaar who kicked his six goal of the day.
It’s hard though not to notice that Richmond were one of North’s key contributors, booting 11.22.
Jack Riewoldt kicked 2.6 but his teammates supported him with plenty of key misses.
North have now sent a clear message to the rest of the competition; we will not be beaten 14 games in a row.
Caretaker coach Leigh Adams is the first coach to be the front runner for coach of the year based on a solitary game in charge.
Carlton (55) v Geelong (85)
Did you know Sam De Koning and Tom De Koning are brothers? The commentators were keen for us to know, mentioning it a fair bit.
We did already know, De Koning is not the most common surname. Although with ten kids in the family, it seems their parents have gone out of their way to change that in the future.
This started off an exciting game, but as it went on, Geelong’s organisation showed, as did the Blues habit of having kicks and handballs go nowhere near their target.
Tom’s brother was excellent down back, as was all of the Cats defence, with Harry McKay kept to one behind.
Carlton have been pretty inconsistent lately, and Voss would want to get things moving again, what with super coach Leigh Adams unsigned beyond this season.
Fremantle (65) v Sydney (82)
As the teams below them seem to be making a mad scramble to exit the top eight, the Swans did the opposite with a huge win over the Dockers in Perth.
Fremantle started well, up 23 points in the first half, but then the Swans started playing keepings off and like when you’re playing it against a child, the Dockers got frustrated and lost their focus.
A big reason for the Swans turnaround was Chad Warner who had 35 disposals, not bad for a guy who was the 39th pick in the 2019 draft.
While 90s teen movies taught me to never trust a Chad, in this case, I've overcome this.
He was incredibly damaging, but so was the Swans gameplan, just chip kicking around Fremantle’s defence.
The Dockers looked on like it was magic, more bewildered than me when someone explains what Love Island is.
It’s a costly loss for the Docker who are trying to lock down a top four spot and have Collingwood breathing down their necks.
And it’s never pleasant to have a Collingwood person breathing down your neck. My only time on public transport taught me that.
Hawthorn (102) v West Coast (77)
Sam Mitchell continues to unearth some quality young players at Hawthorn, this week it was Luke Breust, who finished with six goals, and proved the difference.
They certainly needed him to fire, as Mitch Lewis finished without a goal, while his opponent Tom Barrass, had 30 possessions and 18 marks, and it isn’t good when your defendant does that.
He was basically a one-man defensive system and was a big reason this wasn’t a belting.
West Coast started well, resulting in Hawks skipper Ben McEvoy giving his teammates a stern talking to at quarter time.
He gave off real ‘dad caught the teenagers drinking’ vibes and his teammates looked suitably chastened and responded.
To be fair, if McEvoy told me to do something, I’d do it.
Melbourne (83) v Port Adelaide (69)
Most players don’t cram three goal of the year contenders in one game but Kysaiah Pickett is no ordinary player.
With Melbourne failing to fire, it was Pickett who kept them alive, like their own personal heart defibrillator.
It was like he was trying to outdo himself, with each goal better than the one before. It was like nothing on the football field is too hard.
When I think of players like him, Nick Daicos, Chad Warner and a host of others, I can’t believe people think the game is boring or in bad shape. This game renews itself constantly.
Melbourne missed Clayton Oliver like I miss these Pink Panther musk bars they had when I was a kid. His absence showed, but as the game went on, Melbourne’s run started to show.
Port though never went away, and it could have been different, with Sam Powell-Pepper producing a reverse Pickett up the other end, missing all his chances.
Essendon (103) v Gold Coast (55)
When Sam Draper plucked the ball out of the centre bounce, ran forward, gave the ball off, got it back, fended off a defender and then kicked the goal off the outside of his boot, all I could think of was that mullet.
That mullet flowing in the wind is not just a thing of beauty, its freedom, it’s Australia, its everything that’s good in this world.
Essendon’s season hasn’t been great on the field, but it has been a love story of the Bombers fans falling for Harrison Jones and Draper.
Against the Suns, you could see why.
Things couldn’t have gone worse for the Suns, who had watched Richmond and St Kilda both fall over, opening a good run for them at the top eight, only for them to immediately trip over.
By the third quarter break, the Suns were down 46-points, but the Suns had shown they can achieve a miraculous comeback, but this was against Essendon, not Richmond, and it all proved too much.
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/