May 17, 2021

AFL

The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Nine

12 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.

Friday

St Kilda (47) v Geelong (68)

St Kilda are experts in frustrating their fans and on Friday night they proved that again, deciding that kicking goals are boring compared to butchering their opportunities in front of goal.

Kicking 5.17 isn’t going to win you many games, and especially against Geelong who despite not playing well, found a massive ally in the St Kilda forward line.

Max King was a big help kicking 1.5 in a display that had Saints supporters, wondering why they keep doing this to themselves.

When the Saints weren’t butchering it in front of goal they were doing it around the ground, proving they are at least flexible.

The Cats, who looked destined for a loss at numerous points, quickly adjusted their strategy from trying to get their own ball to feasting off St Kilda’s mistakes, and they didn’t go hungry.

Brett Ratten was extremely annoyed at the lack of holding the ball calls his side got, and he’s not wrong. Across the weekend holding the ball was a lucky dip.

It used to be if you got spun 360 degrees in a tackle it was holding the ball. Now it seems you can spin around more than a figure skater and there’s no call.

Even worse, sometimes someone will get tackled with no prior opportunity and it will be called against them.

Looking for consistency in AFL umpiring isn’t something that anyone who wants to be happy does, but on this issue, it’s hard to ignore.

Still, the umpires can’t kick the goals for the Saints, if they could, St Kilda probably would have won.

Saturday

Sydney (72) v Collingwood (42)

Every footy fan knows Collingwood can’t kick goals. The Swans know that too, and even being three goals down at quarter time didn’t faze them, they knew they could kick a bigger score, and spoiler alert, they did.

Collingwood didn’t even manage to kick a goal in the second and third quarters and only kicked one in the second half.

That’s not good on the tactical or strategic level. Kicking goals is something you want your team to do and going entire quarters without them is something best avoided.

As if the Pies don’t have enough problems, Jordan De Goey decided groping Isaac Quaynor was a good idea.

Collingwood issued a statement saying, “neither the players nor the club believe inappropriate behaviour has occurred.”

Imagine if you stuck your finger in a co-worker’s bum? You wouldn’t have your employer coming out and defending you unless of course, you’re in the Cabinet.

For the Swans, this was an important win, solidifying their place in the top eight, but they’ll need to play better against sides that don’t limit goals to the first and fourth quarter.

Hawthorn (80) v North Melbourne (87)

The Kangaroos have done it, after 287-days, they’ve won a game of football, leaving the players coming to grips with the words of the team song.

While the win was much needed, the manner in which it came about was perhaps the most surprising thing.

Hawthorn, finding new depths each week, led by 32 points in this game.

Against North that should be enough, but the Hawks are currently redefining their brand, from Penfold Grange to West End.

It’s been a successful rebranding.

North, despite being down, obviously felt secure in the knowledge that finally, they were playing someone at their level, so they never gave up.

It even had commentators saying ‘shinboner spirit’, ah yes, that famous spirit that had just led to 287-days without a win.

For North, it was a glimpse of brighter days ahead, there’s at least a pulse, although they’re still on life support.

As for Hawthorn, they are a mess, Hawthorn fans are not happy, I know, I’ve been making a point of ringing them lately, just to have a chat about footy.

Gold Coast (51) v Brisbane (124)

When a team kicks 14 consecutive goals against you, people start to wonder if footy is really the sport for you.

The Suns have once again proved themselves to be the Suns. They now sit 14th on the ladder, and their biggest impact on the season will now be columns written speculating which young players will be poached by Victorian clubs.

Brisbane’s victory was marred by injuries to Darcy Gardiner and Ryan Lester, which is disappointing given this was basically circle work.

It’s hard to pick which quarter was the worst for the Suns, but I’d give a nod to the third.

Gold Coast just didn’t do anything. A lifetime shirking hard work means I can spot people doing it a mile away, and the Suns lack of effort was impressive in that it probably took more work appearing to be busy than actually working.

The Lions were good, but you can’t really take much out of a game where one side’s players seem more like ushers showing you the way to goal rather than opponents.

Richmond (87) v Greater Western Sydney (83)

Daniel Rioli is making a habit of coming to the rescue lately.

Richmond seemed well on track for a loss, after Jesse Hogan broke the game wide open in the second quarter booting four goals.

It saw the Giants up by 28 points in the third term, before the Tigers remembered they are a rather good AFL side and dragged themselves back into the contest.

Perhaps most impressive was the Tigers midfield, which due to injuries was being held together with sticky tape.

In the comeback, Dustin Martin was everywhere, kicking goals, taking out goal umpires. He really was the difference.

It set up a tense final quarter.  

In the dying moments, Jack Riewoldt managed to get the ball into space, with the ball bouncing in the friendliest manner for the Tigers, with Rioli finding the ball in his hands, followed by a wonderful snap to win the game.

It’s why you don’t punish players for nightclub brawls, they might win you a game.

While the Tigers heroics should be duly noted, I’m still scratching my head over how the Giants allowed this to all happen.

It seems questions over their willingness to fight will keep being asked because they’ve certainly not been answered.

Port Adelaide (77) v Western Bulldogs (96)

The Bulldogs have passed another big test with flying colours preventing Port from being able to make further statements through the medium of fashion.

Port’s big issue is they let the Bulldogs take the ball away from centre bounces like they were going for a stroll.

It wasn’t that Port didn’t try; it was just they couldn’t match the Doggies when it came to class.

Marcus Bontempelli put on a masterclass again, as is his way, while Aaron Naughton played arguably the best game of his career.

His pack crashing mark brought a tear to my eye, partially because it happened when I had just bit my tongue while eating a packet of corn chips.

Despite the injury, I kept watching because I’m a professional.

Port tried to come back, which made the Bulldogs win even more impressive, they handled the pressure perfectly. 

It marks them as true premiership contenders, while Port look better at trolling than winning the big games.

Sunday

Essendon (68) v Fremantle (61)

Bombers supporters haven’t had a lot to be happy about lately, but the continuing emergence of Darcy Parish as a top tier midfielder is something to smile about.

Against the Dockers, he gathered 39 possessions with a rather handy ten clearances.

Fremantle’s biggest problem was converting upfront, they missed chances, and their forward entries were a hot mess.

They certainly did enough in the midfield to win this, but time and again, Essendon could count on their opponents blowing it when it mattered.

It adds to Fremantle’s road problems, but the real issue is they just aren’t that good, they’re not that bad either, they’re just OK, which is a terrible thing to be in the AFL.

Essendon are just OK too, but there’s enough youth coming through to give Bombers supporters some hope, which is a dangerous thing.

Melbourne (94) v Carlton (68)

Not Melbourne’s best performance, but when you are well off your best and still handily winning, life is pretty good.

The Dees never looked in any real trouble, they controlled the game for most of the four quarters.

May and Lever sound like a law firm that specialises in counter suing.

Again and again, they picked off the Carlton midfield’s forward entries. Not that the Blues didn’t try something different, they sometimes kicked the ball to Max Gawn 

The thing that struck me, is despite the Dees looking vulnerable in the third quarter, the Blues lack of urgency was astounding. 

They seemed resigned to a loss long before that became a certainty. There was a lot not going well for Melbourne, Ben Brown was almost non-existent, and the midfield was getting beaten in clearances, but still, Carlton never looked threatening.

Tom McDonald did look threatening. He was not only the link-up man with the midfield, but he was also booting goals.

A lot of his success this year has been put down to diet and hard work.

That disappoints me. Seeing it work means I have no excuse to not pull my own life into order.

West Coast (106) v Adelaide (76)

Adelaide are not very good and West Coast are not that much better.

The big difference was Jack Darling, who kicked five goals in the second quarter.

Letting one player kick five goals on you in a quarter is a bad idea. Most defences work hard to not let that happen.

This should have set up the Eagles for a big win, but they couldn’t really put away the Crows.

It’s the fifth loss in a row for the Crows, who have worked hard to prove their strong start was a mirage.

Luckily for the Crows, their fans are a reasonable bunch, and I can’t see them flooding the Adelaide airwaves with their frustration.

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

Rick Prescott

May 17, 2021

Love your work. Go Dees.
It’s good to see others turning up to games, not just me and my mate, which had been the case since 2007.

Train

May 17, 2021

I’d prefer Port to focus on winning games of football. I care less about what they are wearing at the time be it teal, black, white or skins. Oh and perhaps teach their ruckman not to head slam little fellows into the ground.

BLOKE FROM THE OUTER

May 17, 2021

'While the Tigers heroics should be duly noted, I’m still scratching my head over how the Giants allowed this to all happen.'

For once (and only once) the commentators got it right. The Giants stopped taking chances and went boundary line pedestrian allowing the Richmond backs to play the game they wanted. It didn't help that the Giants got smashed at the clearances in the last quarter. When a youngster like Collier-Dawkins is tearing it up you've got problems. The young fella looks like he'll be good but Kelly et al should be ashamed of themselves.

Derek Fletcher

May 17, 2021

Titus , your "Hawthorn fans are not happy, I know, I’ve been making a point of ringing them lately, just to have a chat about footy" does not apply to this Hawk supporter. I have been lucky enough to see all 13 of Hawthorn's Flag wins , starting at age 12 in 1961. A club much younger than most Vic. teams , equal fourth on the Premiership wins table. I'm not complaining, just a bit sad the Saints' second Premiership won't happen this year.

Colly

May 17, 2021

Good on you Rick. But I didn’t see you from 1968-2006. But I guess I’m just a bit older than you.

Andrew Taylor

May 17, 2021

Richmond are inventing ways of creating controversy to keep them interested in winning, I think Daniel Andrews should issue a public in danger notice!

SwansFan

May 17, 2021

I’m worried about Titus. He’s been labouring away manfully, but if the Dees keep winning, how long can he keep going? Where will he get his best material from? Thank God for Hawthorn at least.

The g train

May 17, 2021

“Despite the injury, I kept watching because I’m a professional”. Exactly. Would to God that Ash Barty had that same level of absolute commitment and toughness in the very recent Italian Open.

Roderic Morgan

May 17, 2021

Derek Fletcher ... I used to come out with sort of fluffy stuff once ... believe me, I'm a Bombre who's seen 6 Flags! We'll check in with you in a cuppla seasons after the Hawks have hovered around the middle bottom of the ladder for the next 20 years (hopefully)

Darren J Ray

May 17, 2021

"As for Hawthorn, they are a mess, Hawthorn fans are not happy, I know, I’ve been making a point of ringing them lately, just to have a chat about footy."

"You can’t really take much out of a game where one side’s players seem more like ushers showing you the way to goal rather than opponents."

ROTFL!

Jacqui Parry

May 17, 2021

RE: The Firm - May and Lever

You know there’s times in my life that I wouldn’t have minded having “Rick” dot the i’s and cross the t’s with Stephen on his feet, wigged and gowned, backing up in front of the Beak. I reckon you have hit on a great post playing career option for the boys in our back line Titus. I would have called them Thrust and Parry, or maybe Hit and Hold, myself but there you go. If it wasn’t footy you might even have gone for Stitch and Bitch.

Stephen has such a strong sense of justice he’s still arguing with the umpire about that free kick to the Blues in the last quarter- and I think he might go on with it next week if we let him. Unfortunately you can’t take out interlocutory orders on field in the AFL other wise we’d still be on the edge of our seats waiting for the siren to sound!!

Still better a Barrister than a Barista- or maybe not if you’re hanging out for a coffee?? But the Dees are so well rounded we’ve got that covered as well- Big Max Gawn can turn out the Cafe Whatever Whatever’s blind folded.

So I think the verdicts out Titus - we are a good chance to play deep into finals and it’s time to dust that spare shelf off in the MFC Boardroom.

Go The Mighty Dees!!!!!

Macca

May 19, 2021

Max King obviously impressed the St Kilda club management with his goal kicking prowess - a long contract extension.

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