Jul 26, 2021
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Nineteen
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.
Port Adelaide (97) v Collingwood (69)
Travis Boak won the battle against Collingwood, which isn’t hard, and seems to be winning the battle against time, which is.
In his 300th game, Boak who seems to get better with age, had 30 disposals and seven clearances.
Port needed his performance too, going from 32-points in front to just nine in the fourth quarter, as the Pies, fuelled by Port’s crimes against fashion, got back into the game.
This was especially impressive given Scott Pendlebury went off with a broken leg that will end his season.
It certainly didn’t help when you replace one of the best midfielders ever with Mason Cox.
For Pies supporters, it was further evidence that just when you think things can’t get any worse, they do.
Power fans would have been relieved that despite coughing up a big lead, when it got close, Port found another gear and won easily in the end.
Carlton (77) v North Melbourne (116)
North has improved more in the last two months than Carlton has in the last two decades.
The Kangaroos started the year looking like one of the worst teams to ever participate in an AFL season but have since improved in every way measurable.
David Noble said he was desperate not to finish bottom of the ladder, and it shows in this team, they are not playing out the season waiting for the number one pick to fall in their lap.
Could this ‘attempting to win’ be a new and exciting strategy for the bottom teams?
It’s something the Blues could try, but instead, their players are playing the Carlton way, which is ensuring their coach gets sacked at the end of the year.
It’s hard to convey how lethargic the Blues players were, but let’s just say, some of us who sat on the couch watching the Olympics all weekend burnt off more calories.
Brisbane (120) v Gold Coast (71)
Brave of the Olympics to go up against the Q Clash. And congratulations to Brisbane for getting the Olympics in 2032.
It’s timed beautifully, with Sydney just coming out of their current lockdown by then, Victoria coming out of their 200th lockdown, and Western Australia able to compete as their own country after seceding.
At halftime the Lions were 27 points down and after losing to St Kilda and Richmond it seemed they were on their way to a third consecutive loss.
They did have one thing in their favour though, a monopoly on the ball. The Suns barely touched it, and over the game, this became a real problem.
Getting the football is kind of a big deal.
Joe Daniher was doing Joe Daniher things up forward, which involves doing the basics badly and the impossible easily.
West Coast (94) v St Kilda (86)
After turning in some of the worst performances of the season, the Eagles have steadied somewhat.
Not that they were amazing, they’ve just stopped turning in performances that look like a bunch of people being forced to perform a task against their will.
Against St Kilda, they did just enough, which was important against the Saints who are trying to make an improbable late run for the finals.
It wasn’t all bad news for the Saints, Max King booted six and marked everything, giving Saints fans a glimpse of a better future.
King struggled earlier in the season but has improved across the year, which is why you keep trying and don’t just give up and crawl into a ball to sob.
That’s what I keep telling myself during lockdown.
King now seems to have confidence, which I’m told helps a lot.
Melbourne (65) v Western Bulldogs (85)
Simon Goodwin says he isn't concerned by the Demons' scoring problems, which makes one of us.
Against a very classy Bulldogs side, the Dees struggled to get good scoring opportunities, only to butcher the few they got.
Goodwin said, “"We're certainly not going to jump at shadows," which is not a very Melbourne thing to say.
In contrast, the Bulldogs took their chances, helped by the fact Marcus Bontempelli and Caleb Daniel seemed to be left free at stoppages, which is less a strategy and more complete madness.
Cody Weightman took one of the marks of the year, over Max Gawn, who positions himself so well, that players just know they can get near him and there’s a good chance for a big grab.
There was a lot of talk about the 11 to 25 free kick count, but Melbourne had their chances, and a lot of the time these frees are occurring because the Dees midfield isn’t getting their hands on the ball first.
Blaming the umpires is an excuse that gets you nowhere.
Adelaide (102) v Hawthorn (83)
There’s been a lot of talk about breakdancing being added to the Olympics in 2024, but it’s not as strange as it sounds.
From 1912 to 1948 there was an art component as part of every Olympics.
They were grouped into five broad categories: architecture, literature, music, painting, and sculpture.
Events included literature, dramatic works, lyric and speculative works, drawings and watercolours, statues (problematic these days), compositions for orchestra, engravings and etchings.
By far my favourite event was town planning. I’d love to see it back.
Reflecting our governments current level of interest in the industry, Australia never won a medal in the art category.
I know this isn’t a review of Adelaide-Hawthorn and you’re welcome.
Sydney (98) v Fremantle (58)
A bad day for the Dockers, with Nat Fyfe going out with a shoulder injury and Luke Ryan headbutting Buddy’s elbow for some reason.
Given it was David Mundy’s 350th game, a rare active AFL footballer who almost qualifies for the Pfizer vaccine, the Dockers were disappointing.
The Swans, however, were in excellent form, and luckily Buddy’s elbow seems to have escaped injury.
Isaac Heeney was everywhere, finishing with five goals, and taking a mark that saw him soar so high you’d think he was a billionaire.
Sydney must be the team you’d least like to come up against early in the finals.
They have so much young talent, meaning they can have their highs and lows, but those highs are higher than an Australian equestrian rider.
Things are a bit more difficult for Freo now in terms of finals, with Nat Fyfe possibly out.
That said, from 7th to 12th it seems no team is yet capable of putting a string of wins together. It’s like a Bradbury, except everyone has fallen over.
Geelong (95) v Richmond (57)
I pity Tigers fans. All they have is three premierships since 2017 to console themselves when watching a season like this.
It must be tough.
Still, watching your team get pummelled by Geelong is never fun, trust me, I’ve got some experience in this area.
It’s not that surprising the Tigers have fallen off the pace so quickly. Playing all those extra finals and maintaining those insanely high standards must wear you down.
It’s why I set a very low standard, it’s easy to maintain over a long period of time.
Geelong’s only worry was an injury to Joel Selwood, who is now in the hands of their medical staff. I expect them to clear him for next week because they are Geelong’s medical staff.
Essendon (53) v Greater Western Sydney (66)
Well, that was disappointing for Essendon supporters. With finals on the line and Toby Greene out, this was a game you’d have liked to see things come together.
Instead, the Giants, down by 16 points at half-time, produced a four-goal to none third term. That’s not ideal.
Lachie Whitfield proved to be a big difference, he has the ability to make good decisions, the rarest trait in a footballer.
The Giants were just more astute throughout the game. Tagging Darcy Parish worked a lot better than it should, he was kept to just 15 disposals, about 300 less than he usually gets and no one else picked up the slack.
Brett Rutten said not making finals wasn’t a big deal as they wouldn’t get very far playing as they have been recently.
If there’s one thing Essendon fans have not had to worry about for some time, it’s what happens in finals.
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