Apr 11, 2023
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Four
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.
Brisbane (116) vs. Collingwood (83)
If last week was, as Chris Fagan said, 'let's pick on Joey Daniher week', this week is ‘Let’s not play Cam Rayner in defence ever again week.
Perhaps even more important is the fact that the 12th of April is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day 2023, perhaps my favourite day of the year outside of the Grand Final.
The Lions answered their critics, which was pretty much everyone, by playing with some enthusiasm.
They destroyed a Pies side that may not have had any recognizable ruckman but really lost by turning the ball over every chance they got.
It’s hard to say why the Pies were so off. They say it wasn’t because Jack Crisp rebooted Channel Nine’s Australia's Naughtiest Home Videos.
To be fair, I saw that one of the videos said:
“Come and drink and have some lines. Just have a bit of a party”.
I mean, I may be naive, but often on a nice platter, I’ll lay out the biscuits and the lavosh crackers in a line for the cheeses and the quince paste, and he could have been referring to that.
Therefore, the statement could have been, ‘Come and drink and share a wonderfully curated cheese platter.’
It’s possible, right? Yeah?
What I have enjoyed in relation to the videos is the use of the word ‘historical’ to mean anything happening not in the last few months.
This may be stretching the meaning of that term a bit far. Imagine arguing at work that something was historical if it happened in the last few years.
“I think you’ll find the employee abuse, sexual harassment and embezzlement was historical.”
Really, the main issue here is stupidity. Don’t record yourself doing something silly.
When I commit all my crimes, I leave no witnesses, and I certainly don’t film them and send them to people.
North Melbourne (84) vs. Carlton (107)
It was an Easter Miracle; people went to Good Friday Footy, 49,062 of them.
Perhaps even more miraculous was they were rewarded with a game that didn’t make them feel like they were being crucified.
The whole event was so perfectly fine that I haven’t heard one journalist or commentator call for North to be stripped of their blockbuster.
The game itself had more errors than my tax return, with North kicking for goal like the most uncoordinated kid in P.E. class, which I identified with very much.
Carlton certainly fumbled and committed a lot of turnovers but was helped by North’s defence being undersized to the point that not many of them could go on the rides at Luna Park.
Griffin Logue was suspended, and given this was against Carlton, Ben McKay had to miss out.
This is because, like Hubble's Law of Cosmic Expansion, Newton's Laws of Motion or Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, nature’s laws determine the McKay twins can never play against each other.
We now have eight straight seasons of data to prove this.
The victory means this is the Blues best start to a season since 1995 when they won their most recent premiership. This is a terrifying development.
Or it could be hilarious if the Blues do what they normally do when they are near the eight, which is burn up like a meteor in the Earth’s atmosphere.
Adelaide (111) vs. Fremantle (72)
And the award for the most disappointing team of the first month of the AFL season goes to the Fremantle Dockers, narrowly beating out Geelong.
It’s an award the Dockers have certainly earned, with their only victory coming against top WAFL side, the West Coast Eagles.
Against the Crows, they looked bereft of ideas and energy.
The Crows, however did a very good impression of an exciting team, moving the ball quickly and rewarding that with a forward set-up that works.
Taylor Walker, Izak Rankine and Josh Rachele all worked in a coordinated fashion, seeming to know what each of their roles were.
Dockers fans would have looked on at this thinking, ‘what is this sorcery I see before me?’
A big part of the Crows spark was provided by their captain Jordan Dawson, who celebrated his birthday with a dominating performance.
Not since the Howard Government has someone put the torch to the Dockers in such a brutal manner.
Richmond (84) vs. Western Bulldogs (89)
If Richmond fans thought the season had started badly before this game, they would now be looking back at those first three historical games with a new fondness.
Aside from the rather unfortunate loss, arguably Richmond’s most important player, Tom Lynch, managed to get both reported and injured.
This is less than ideal for the Tigers, with Lynch looking at missing a few months with his broken foot.
I can’t read minds, but I suspect Damien Hardwick would have preferred neither of those things happened.
He was the good loser he usually is after the game.
The Bulldogs had a strong early lead in this one, only to decide that allowing the Tigers to kick seven consecutive goals was a good idea.
The third term was a crime against football, as both sides went on a 1.10 goal-kicking clinic.
To be fair a big reason for that is the rain was coming down to the point that the players put on lifejackets.
Eventually the Doggies got things back on track, with Aaron Naughton and the umpires really lifting for them.
That’s two good wins in a row for the Doggies, as they stumbled early but like a hero carrying four pots, have steadied without spilling a drop.
St Kilda (113) vs. Gold Coast (60)
We are living in a strange alternate reality where St Kilda are doing a fair impression of a competent football side; the question is, how long can this new reality hold?
After all the Saints have beaten Fremantle, the Western Bulldogs, Essendon, and the Suns.
If this was a music festival, that’s a very early-in-the-day lineup.
Can we believe in the Saints? It’s asking a lot. But perhaps this time it’s different; they’ve changed.
No one’s ever got hurt, giving the Saints another chance.
Believing in the Suns is an even bigger stretch. After all, respect is earnt; that’s why no one respects me.
The Suns seem forever in the position of looking like they’re about to improve but never do, like this annoying rash, I can’t shake.
And just when things appear to be going well, other teams come and take the best part of the rash. Wait, that metaphor doesn’t stretch that far at all.
Sydney (64) vs. Port Adelaide (66)
What a game. It had more drama than a Real Housewives franchise.
The footy itself was dramatic, the Power coming from behind, only to nearly lose it when Oliver Florent took a shot for goal after the siren.
Florent thought he had won it and celebrated early, but Aliir Aliir had got to it on the goal line, and Port had won.
Aliir Aliir had already ruined Buddy’s night; then he ruined all of Sydney’s.
The Swans could have really used a defender of his calibre.
The ending was nothing compared to everything else going on around the game.
The Swans had lost both Paddy McCartin and Tom McCartin to the concussion protocol, a brutal outcome.
Paddy is certainly a guy who deserves good karma after the start to the career he has had, and for his brother to go off to just shows the footy gods are cruel.
I’m no expert on concussion, so I won’t comment on whether he should retire. I mean, people literally say about me, ‘he’s no brain surgeon.’
If that all wasn’t enough, after the game, Jeremy Finlayson, who had kicked what proved to be the winning goal, gave an emotional interview where he thanked his terminally ill wife.
Footy is important and all, but this provided more than enough perspective for a Saturday night.
We get such a short time on the Earth, and sometimes we’re all guilty of not appreciating it.
Essendon (88) vs. Greater Western Sydney (75)
Don’t let the 13-point victory fool you, the Bombers cruised in much of this game but were hampered by the perfect conditions, kicking 11.22.
The Bombers players struggled with the roof closed and the complete lack of rain and wind.
Jake Stringer booted 4.6, and Jye Caldwell kicked 0.3, but it really was a team effort.
At one stage, the Bombers kicked eight consecutive behinds, and the groans from the crowd made me feel I was at one of my gigs.
So much so that I’m thinking of doing some gigs this year if there’s any interest.
The Giants couldn’t capitalise on Essendon keeping in the game due to them not being very good.
It was like when a parent keeps giving their child a chance to hit the ball in backyard cricket, but the kid is hopeless, so the parent gives up and just bounces them.
A big reason the Bombers got across the line was Jake Stringer, who was a big reason they almost didn’t get across the line.
West Coast (63) vs. Melbourne (126)
The Eagles had so many outs in this that the chances of it being a real contest were low to non-existent.
That said, West Coast ramped up the pressure early on, but where everything seemed hard for them, the Dees seemed to kick goals even when they weren’t playing that well.
By the second half, the Dees just pulled away without really getting out of second gear.
A big reason was the tap work of Brodie Grundy, which I hate to say, but is better than Gawn’s.
Not to bag the closest thing in my life to a personal Jesus, Gawn is unsurpassed around the ground.
It’s still amazing that you can go to Perth to play the Eagles and win easily. This is like suddenly being able to breathe underwater, it just goes against nature.
It completely changes the season; where once this was an almost certain loss, it’s now a percentage-boosting mini-holiday.
Knowing them well, I imagine Eagles fans are taking this turn of events calmly.
Jeremy Cameron (127) vs. Hawthorn (45)
Channel Seven poured it on thick about how these games are always close before the match, which served to only highlight how far Hawthorn have fallen.
Take the blockbuster off them!
Geelong looked terrible early, but playing a Hawthorn side who are so young they consider Drake ‘old people’s music’, really helped.
As is having Jeremy Cameron, who saved the Cats with seven goals.
He is the best player, and their second-best player, and third-best player.
Cameron even took out an umpire just to complete his total domination of the game.
It will be interesting to see what the AFL say about the incident.
You can’t look at an umpire without getting in trouble, but perhaps Cameron has found a loophole that you can’t be charged for dissent when you’re celebrating.
Gee, he’s a clever player to borrow a Bruce McAvaney line.
Hawthorn looked terrible after halftime, but that doesn’t mean they’re tanking. They don’t need to; they just aren’t good.
I mean, if you can’t beat Geelong…
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