Apr 19, 2021
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Five
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.
St Kilda (48) v Richmond (134)
Firstly, I’d just like to thank everyone who came along to my Comedy Festival show. I’ve had an absolute ball over the nineteen shows.
The entire last week and a half were sold out, so I’ve added another show this Saturday. Come along and stay after to watch the Dees-Richmond game in the front bar. It should be a lot of fun.
Speaking of Richmond, they reasserted themselves in this one, proving once again that this year, playing the Saints can do wonders for team morale.
The Saints started well, but playing four quarters is not really their thing, and once they dropped away, the Tigers brutalised them like a 1950s education system.
It’s not exactly a win that restores Richmond as premiership favourites, but it does bolster Damien Hardwick’s point that Premierships aren’t won in April, a disappointing reminder to Dees supporters.
The Saints have more problems than they have injuries, and this season is in danger of becoming another wasted year, or as Saints fans call it, business as usual.
West Coast (103) v Collingwood (76)
Collingwood fans are scared of two things, parole officers and Dom Sheed.
Sheed’s three goals in two minutes was the moment this game broke open, and it seems careless to allow any player kick that many goals in such a short period of time.
Up until those two minutes, the Pies had been matching the Eagles, which was amazing given the Collingwood Football Club seem to always try to do things in the most difficult way possible.
This time it was more injuries, an old favourite of the Pies. Jordan De Goey and Jeremy Howe both went off in the first half and Brody Mihocek spent a lot of the fourth quarter on the bench.
Adding to the Pies woes, which seemed unnecessary, Jordan De Goey and Jeremy Howe both accessed their mobile phones during the game, which is a big no-no to the AFL, desperately protecting their gambling money, sorry, ‘the integrity of the game’.
In many ways, this was an unfair match up. The Eagles have three key forwards, and the Pies don’t have any. The Eagles third-best key forward, Oscar Allen is better than the Pies entire forward line.
The Eagles also had the advantage of a massive crowd of 54,159, who celebrated being back at full capacity by booing the Prime Minister. Booing a politician at a sporting event is perhaps Australia’s greatest tradition.
For the Eagles, this wasn’t the most impressive performance you’ve ever seen, but they got the job done despite a few out.
Collingwood fans on the other hand will have the rest of the season to wonder who their next President and coach will be.
Western Bulldogs (118) v Gold Coast (56)
While the Dees are getting a lot of attention for starting the season 5-0, the Bulldogs have done the same, and for them, it’s the first time they’ve done it in 75 years.
Saying there’s a slight gap in class between the Suns and the Bulldogs is like saying there’s a slight gap between the Sun and Pluto.
The Bulldogs seemed more like a side trying out some new drills at practice than playing an official AFL game.
All the Bulldogs players were good because their opponents seemed confused to be there at all.
They did rally in the third quarter, but that seemed more to do with the Doggies players stopping to make plans of what to do after the game.
It’s ironic the Gold Coast are called the Suns, because usually, a sun rises, with at least some measure of regularity.
Sydney (69) v Greater Western Sydney (71)
There’s a simple reason the Giants won this game. Their new jumper looks great.
Items of clothing don’t get the stats, but there’s no doubt they were the difference here.
It looked like the Swans were going to get up, thanks to the Giants trying to win by kicking points instead of goals, but in the end, the weight of forward entries by the Giants was the difference.
Toby Greene set the tone, booting 1.7 in the game, which is actually really hard to do.
Up the other end, Buddy Franklin was reminding everyone he is quite good at football.
His five goals looked like powering the Swans to victory, but the Giants kept coming, seemingly stuffing up so many times a loss was on the way, only for Josh Kelly, to boot the game-winner with 66 seconds remaining.
It’s a huge win for the Giants and suggests they might not be the spent force they seemed to be. They just need to keep using those jumpers.
As for the Swans, their season is obviously now in crisis. It’s a lot of pressure on their graphic designers to come up with a new jumper design.
Carlton (68) v Port Adelaide (96)
While the Blues sums up the feelings of Carlton fans pretty well, if they ever wanted to change their name, the ‘False Dawns’ would be a good alternative.
The minute the Carlton faithful start feeling anything vaguely approaching positivity, their team snuffs it out with a ruthlessness foreign to their on-field performance.
Port are obviously a great team, but they were certainly assisted by the fact the Blues just aren’t very good.
Even more frustrating for Blues fans, Port’s young players showed that if you draft well, things can get better very quickly.
The Blues have some good young players, Sam Walsh was a standout all night, but so many of them are, to use a technical term, ‘not very good’.
Port just show that building a side across all facets of the game, from the defence to the midfield to the forwards does wonders.
Competency always stands out in football, because it’s so rare.
Brisbane (102) v Essendon (45)
The Lions season needed a boost and the Bombers seemed only too happy to help them out on Saturday.
Joe Daniher facing his old side was an obvious focus, and Daniher looked like a man happy with his decision to leave Essendon.
Adding to the Lions night, was the return of Lachie Neale playing like Lachie Neale.
In the pouring rain, Essendon’s biggest problem was they are about as threatening as a boy band.
At no stage did they look like scoring enough goals to win the game, and it was a reality check after a few good weeks.
As always with the Bombers, it’s one step forward, two steps backwards, then they shoot themselves in the foot.
What they could have really used is a key forward like Joe Daniher. They need to develop their own one of those.
Adelaide (72) v Fremantle (84)
In a battle of two teams that are not that bad, but not that good, they were both not too bad and not too good.
Adelaide is once again a football club, not a series of blunders designed to amuse the rest of the league, but that doesn’t mean they still don’t have a lot of work to do.
Losing to Fremantle at home merely underlines that point.
The Dockers injury-plagued start to the season makes them difficult to assess, but they showed they are a side not to sleep on.
Up forward, Matt Taberner booted a vital four goals and gave the Crows a lot of trouble.
Perhaps most impressive was that the Dockers lost Adam Cerra to an ankle injury and still managed to control much of the game.
Most worrying for the Crows was that with the game on the line, they allowed the Dockers to boot four goals in eight minutes. Tactically, I thought this was a mistake.
Hawthorn (54) v Melbourne (104)
The complete lack of sadness I’m feeling this far into the season is baffling to me, and I feel very uneasy about it.
It felt for long periods of this game that the Dees were back to their usual selves, locked in an arm wrestle with a side they should beat, but never grasping the game when it was there for the taking.
Hawthorn, while hardly setting the world on fire, seemed happy to keep the game close, and this was a strategy that used to work against Melbourne. Stay close, wait for the Dees to inevitably crack.
But the Dees do seem a different beast this year. They played very poorly for three quarters, but rather than let that define their game, they kept working, and when the dam broke, it broke big.
A four-point lead became a 50-point lead in mere moments, as Melbourne fans were left wondering what sort of voodoo is happening at their club this year.
Hawthorn’s biggest issue seems to be one the Dees used to suffer from, effort across all four quarters.
Their other issue was continually kicking it to Max Gawn. It’s a tactic a lot of teams seem to be using this season, and I’m not really sure why.
Geelong (77) v North Melbourne (47)
Geelong worked hard to make this win feel like a loss.
Against a side that would make a VFL side look good, the Cats veered from careless to hopeless, yet still managed to get the four points.
Dangerfield returned for the Cats but had to leave in the fourth quarter due to some ‘ankle awareness’.
The most exciting moment of the game was when Harry Taylor and Gary Ablett Junior did a lap of honour before the match.
There’s been talk of Gary Ablett coming out of retirement. It’s just what the Cats need, more players who are old enough to access their super.
As for North, they continue to have nothing go right, with Aaron Hall going off with a concussion.
They remain winless after five rounds and look to already have one hand on the wooden spoon.
An extra show for 'Reflections of a Sporting Tragic' is on sale now for this Saturday: https://www.oztix.com.au/landingpage/page/?name=Titus%20O%27Reily
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