Jul 29, 2019
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Nineteen
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.
Collingwood (66) v Richmond (98)
Thanks for nothing Collingwood. There was I settling in for a good Friday night game and the Pies, in what I can only assume was a scheduling error, forgot to turn up.
This got uglier faster than a night on the tiles with Brendan Fevola. Even Trent Cotchin going off early with hamstring soreness was barely noticed, as the Pies seemed to forget who Dustin Martin was, letting him do whatever he wanted.
It turned out he wanted 38 disposals and two goals. There have been people stranded on desert islands who’ve felt more crowded than Martin did.
It’s understandable; Martin does sort of blend in.
Up forward, Tom Lynch booted five goals. To think he’s received criticism this year. He’s held Richmond up when they had a lot of injuries, and now that they don’t, well the Tigers could do anything from here.
It’s another example of free agency reinvigorating a struggling side and turning them into contenders.
As for Collingwood, they’re multiple reasons they are struggling, and here they are:
Taylor Adams (hamstring) TBC
Jordan Roughead (concussion) TBC
James Aish (shoulder) TBC
Dayne Beams (hip/mental health) indefinite
Lynden Dunn (knee) season
Will Kelly (leg) TBC
Tom Langdon (knee) season
Darcy Moore (hamstring) 2 weeks
Nathan Murphy (back) indefinite
Sam Murray (provisional suspension) TBC
Ben Reid (hamstring) TBC
Jordan Roughead (concussion) TBC
Jaidyn Stephenson (suspended) 4 weeks
Daniel Wells (knee) 4-5 weeks
How many times in the past five years have we had Collingwood brought to its knees by injuries? Time for another inquiry, it’s been 12 months since they’ve had one.
Hawthorn (60) v Brisbane (87)
The chances for Brisbane to run amok in the finals continue to grow as they keep racking up impressive wins on the road.
Brisbane was impressive here, with their stand out player being Hawthorn’s goalkicking accuracy. They finished 7.18.
The amount of times a team kicks themselves out of a game is truly amazing.
Clarkson said after the game that "The one stat that hurt us is the one that matters the most in the end."
Doesn’t Clarkson know that meters gain and most possessions by a left-handed Taurus are more important than the score? What an idiot. More proof he knows nothing about football.
Given the AFL loves scoring so much I’m surprised widening the goals isn’t something Steve Hocking hasn’t already floated this in one of his thought bubble media interviews.
What am I doing? Why am I giving him ideas?
Brisbane have now won six games in a row and beating Hawthorn in Launceston is no easy feat.
The Lions have shot past about five other teams that were meant to be in front of them in terms of rebuilding. They’ve cracked the key bit of a rebuild, winning, not talking about how it’s going to all come good sometime in the undefined future.
Carlton (87) v Adelaide (60)
It was revealed this week that David Teague had turned around morale at the club by allowing more ball-handling at training. That certainly is something that will turn around morale. I remember Simon Lethlean used to preach a similar method.
I’m still hearing Teague is no chance to get the Carlton gig. This is astounding.
Five wins in seven games, the two losses being incredibly tight. A team that couldn’t tackle, run, hit targets and seemed to be getting worse, now looking like a slick, well-drilled unit.
Am I crazy? Is there something else a coach is meant to do?
The Carlton board in its various forms over the past 25 years has been the worst thing about the Blues, why would they think on any level that they will choose better than the coach who has been thrust upon them by accident?
Who is going to be better? Clarkson? Well, that would maybe make sense but seems very unlikely to happen. Roos? To a point but will he actually coach? Or will he be director of coaching?
Voss? I mean, really? Under him Brisbane were terrible, and Port aren’t exactly shooting the lights out. Ross Lyon? Brad Scott? Please.
I can only assume the board is sticking to the one criterion they’ve applied to recent coaches ‘ability to alienate the players and fans’.
Against Adelaide, Carlton were sensational. Exciting to watch, committed and playing with a sense of confidence.
Cripps has said he wants Teague and if I was the Blues board I’d be listening. He had 39 disposals, 24 contested possessions, seven tackles and a goal.
He had 19 clearances. The man is a freak and arguably the best player in the competition. Actually, it’s not arguably. He’s a one-man midfield. Hell his a one man tank.
As for Adelaide, well, what can you say?
They’re a mess, a horrible, listless mess.
How they are still in eight place is amazing. They looked outclassed all game.
They seem to be doing a reverse rebuild, just taking apart anything that made them good.
Don Pyke is performing a wonderful impression of someone who has no idea what he’s doing. Crows fans will be hoping it’s an impersonation.
Adelaide fans are furious, and they have every right to be, this was the effort you put in when you’re not putting in an effort.
West Coast (121) v North Melbourne (72)
Rhys Shaw may have done a lot to steady North Melbourne, but they’re still North Melbourne.
Scott Thompson’s ruptured testicle left a huge whole in the team, and no one filled it.
Wow, that’s a bad sentence.
With no Thompson Josh Kennedy cut loose, booting seven goals as the Eagles ran all over the Kangaroos. West Coast fans could handle Kennedy finding form at this point of the season.
The Eagles are a real premiership chance. If they played in Victoria, everyone would be talking about that.
Here’s the strange thing, I did some deep digging on the internet and discovered the Eagles won a premiership as recently as last year. We need to keep an eye on these guys.
North, however, look unlikely to make the eighth now. It’s a shame because Adelaide are doing everything to keep the door open for those below them.
The Crows are like the guy at work who holds the door open for someone even though the person is way down the corridor and it take ages for them to get there and it becomes awkward.
St Kilda (104) v Melbourne (85)
I went along to this in another case of me wasting my life on a hopeless cause.
What unfolded in front of me was technically senior football, but you had to look closely to see past all the terrible skill errors.
At times it seemed like both teams were in a competition to see who could make the worst decision possible. The enthusiasm both sides embraced this challenge was infectious like smallpox is infectious. If only there was a vaccine for poor skills.
Kicking directly to an opponent seemed a popular choice, although missing tackles got a real going over too.
Even the umpires got involved, making terrible decisions throughout the game, with St Kilda on the end of some howlers early on.
The difference between the two sides was that the Saints seemed interested.
Melbourne, after starting strongly seemed to decide they’d done enough and then let themselves be outworked the rest of the game. I can only assume they had something on after the game they need to save energy for.
The Demons’ season is beyond a disgrace. The idea there’s some instant turn around next year is built on the flimsiest of bases.
They look unfit, they’re slow, and their skills are VFL level at best. Pretty much every player has gone backwards in their development this year.
Just ticking off on Godwin for next year without a very thorough review is negligent.
I’m not sure he should go, he deserves a chance to turn things around next season but so much has gone wrong I’d like to feel the club isn’t just hopeful things will come good.
As for St Kilda, Ratten has certainly helped his cause, as Saints fans hope he can help them achieve their dream of having anyone but Brad Scott coach them.
Port Adelaide (55) v Greater Western Sydney (56)
I’m not sure if Port played above themselves or the Giants below themselves. It was probably both.
It certainly wasn’t pretty as both sides slogged it out in a low scoring but at times an interesting game.
Port were a bit like a boxer who knows they can’t knock their opponent out, but if they cling to them enough, they may get a points decision. This strategy almost worked.
The Giants seemed to find this annoying but couldn’t find a way to break out of it.
So, despite the Giants starting strongly, it got close, and Power fans briefly thought this might be the chance to get their chance at finals going again.
But this is Port, the ending, a one-point loss, sums them up perfectly, good but just not good enough.
Greater Western Sydney did the bare minimum they needed to and won. I think Heath Shaw would have appreciated that in his 300th.
Western Bulldogs (113) v Fremantle (66)
There were several big stories coming out of this. Dale Morris reinjuring his knee was perhaps the biggest.
His effort to get back from injury time and again is inspirational. I admire Morris because I know he’s worked harder in the past year than I have in my entire life, so to see him go down again is a tragedy.
It reaffirms my view that it’s usually better to just not try and to give up as quickly as possible.
The other major story is the continuing nightmare that the Dockers’ season has become.
It was another embarrassing game for Fremantle who seem to be getting worse, not better.
Ross Lyon keeps been talked about in the context of some vacant coaching roles, but the conversation should be more about why the Dockers are persisting with him.
Lyon said after the game 'we're really quite embarrassed by that performance' and so they should be.
A month ago, they were in the hunt for finals; now they’re competing for the best villa in Bali this September.
The Bulldogs are still very much alive. They sit ninth and above them are Adelaide who are about as steady as my hands if I haven’t had a drink for an hour.
Sydney (80) v Geelong (107)
Geelong’s past month has been almost as bad as mine. Both of us have made a series of poor decisions and shown a real lack of work ethic.
Unlike myself, Geelong seemed to get back on track this weekend, but it didn’t come easy.
They were slow to start, and the Swans kept hanging around, finding ways to stay in it.
At one stage, Jordan Dawson produced a beautiful bit of play, faking out three defenders before slotting a goal.
It appeared to hit the post, so it was reviewed, and the crack squad of the AFL’s Score Review Officers examined it closely, saw it hit the post and therefore awarded it a goal. It really is a horrendous system, bad cameras, awful angles and people who appear to bring a variety of eye problems to the task.
It may be the most AFL thing ever.
The question for Geelong now is was this a turning point? Have they arrested their form slump? They’d want to with Richmond and West Coast breathing down their neck.
Gold Coast (96) v Essendon (106)
No matter how long and how far in front the Suns got, everyone watching this just knew the Bombers would get up.
Jake Stringer was the difference booting four and providing the inspiration up front. If he were as likable as he is skilful, he’d be a really popular player.
The Suns surprised everyone, including themselves, by bringing a high level of energy to the game. For the first time in a long time, they seemed keen to be there, and many of them did very good impressions of AFL players.
Essendon seemed a bit in shock by this, so it took them a while to adjust and lift their work rate.
At times it didn’t seem to be their night, like when David Zaharakis shot at goal went through the post only to be touched well behind the line by Chris Burgess, who tapped it into the play.
The goal umpire called play on, in a howler of a mistake, it was easily a goal.
People got very upset this wasn’t referred to Score Review, but I have no confidence that would have ruled it correctly either. Relying on a score review officer is like relying on a politician’s promise, not a good place to be in.
In the end, the Bombers were just that little bit more composed. They now sit seventh and look like playing finals.
It’s a worrying outcome, but life rarely gives you everything you want, and we’d had Collingwood lose on Friday.
Titus is touring around the country in the upcoming months, visiting Canberra, Adelaide, Sydney, Perth, Hobart and Brisbane. Tickets available here: http://www.frontiercomedy.com/titusoreily
Titus’ new bookPlease, Gamble Irresponsibly: The rise, fall and rise of sport gambling in Australia will be out on 5th November 2019. You can pre-order it now.