Jul 15, 2019
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Seventeen
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.
West Coast (77) v Collingwood (78)
This is going to be difficult to write, but Collingwood was sensational in every way on Friday night.
In poor form, playing the reigning premiers in Perth, with Darcy Moore off injured and down by three goals at three-quarter time, this was a win that showed it’s not over yet for Collingwood.
It was a win of mental strength, adjusting to the pressure and then shutting the Eagles down in the second half, to the point they could barely score.
The ramifications are terrifying. A Pies’ Premiership, something that’s panicked me all year, is still a very real thing, like when you think the Mind Flayer is gone but it really never left.
I’ve felt this year like the guy standing on a street corner yelling ‘the end is nigh’ and on Friday night, the meteors started falling, the skies darkened and the seas begun to rise.
West Coast would be certainly shattered at letting this one slip; they had control for the majority of the game. They should have requested this be played on the MCG.
I wouldn’t say the Eagles are mentally weak, like some of their fans did on social media after the game, they did, after all, come back to win the Grand Final last year.
It rather just shows these two teams match up very well on each other, if we get them playing in the finals we will be blessed.
Sydney (62) v Carlton (69)
With every victory, David Teague looks better, and Chris Judd looks sillier.
The questions should be, will Judd be around next year? The assumption that because someone was good at football, they’d be good at other things has always been one based on few facts.
Teague falling into this role is probably the best explanation why he is working so well.
Not being picked by the Blues board is the greatest asset a Carlton coach could have, after all, they’ve made the wrong decision every time for decades.
Perhaps Judd realises this and by not backing him, is, in fact, endorsing him.
And Teague has made a huge difference. Under Bolton, the Blues were like a 1997 Corolla that had somehow driven into the middle of an F1 race.
Now Carlton are at least the right sort of car.
Sydney on the other hand were quite awful in this one. Injuries explain a bit, youth explains some, but when Carlton lead you at home all day, you have to wonder where the heart was.
The only positive from this was the Swans finally got through a game without injuries, which might reflect how they played.
Hawthorn (84) v Fremantle (53)
This was Ross Lyon’s 300thgame as a coach, so a score of 53 seemed fitting for the man who has gone out of his way to ruin our game.
A goalless first quarter from the Dockers players was also a touching tribute for their coach.
Nat Fyfe, who ended with three goals, was the only real relentless contributor for the Dockers who now seem very likely to miss finals.
Hawthorn, who are keeping their slim chances alive, were superior all game and pulled away late.
Everything worked for the Hawks; even Chad Wingard wasn’t awful.
And Mitch Lewis, who some thought the Hawks drafted for a bit of a joke after Sam Mitchell and Jordan Lewis left, is turning into a handy contributor booting three.
Next the Hawks take on Geelong and if they can win that, well, I’ll have to start worrying about a Hawthorn premiership too. Stressful times.
Essendon (86) v North Melbourne (81)
Essendon are in the eight. It’s not a drill, they really are, I checked several times, even refreshing my World Wide Web browser, and yet there they were, still there.
It was a close thing, however. They had control of this game going into the fourth quarter, only for it to rapidly spin out of control, with North coming at them like a Kangaroo going after a tourist at a picnic spot.
Essendon looked in trouble, with Michael Hurley out, after Cam Zurhaar, who seeks out physical contact to the point that at any other workplace he’d be counselled, bumped him, injuring his AC joint.
The big difference in this game, however, was the Essendon player it’s ok to like, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, who saved the day for Essendon.
Not only did he kicked four goals, it included a snap in the dying moments, from what appeared to be an impossible angle, to seal the game for Essendon.
When he started playing, he seemed like a cult hero, but he’s far too good for that. If you stop McDonald-Tipungwuti, you stop Essendon, and North just couldn’t stop him. Few can.
North lost out to Sydney for John Longmire’s services this week, another Fredo offer rejected. But the way Rhyce has them playing, I feel that by losing out, they may have actually won.
Gold Coast (56) v Adelaide (151)
When you make Adelaide look this good, questions have to be asked.
The Crows treated this like the light training drill it was, and to their credit, they boosted their percentage at a time they needed to do so.
A lot of Adelaide players also padded their stats. Eddie Betts kicked six, which counts as zero goals if you convert it to an AFL opponent.
How bad were the Suns?
Horrendous. They had a level of interest in what was going on around them that you usually reserve for someone telling you about their dream from last night.
“And then the guy I thought was my father turned into a whale, and…”
“Please never talk to me ever again.”
The Suns brought a ‘when will this be over?’ vibe to the whole day. I’ve seen McDonald’s staff in the final moments of their shift take more pride in their work.
The idea that the Suns should get a priority pick is worrying. It’s an unsafe environment for young people. Giving Melbourne picks when they weren’t set up to handle them just ruined some of the most promising young players in the country.
I don’t see how sending eighteen-year-olds up there is going to fix a single thing. They need mature players. Give them some cap space or something, anything really, I can’t watch much more of them.
It’s a disaster all of the AFL’s making, and it’s hard to see the people who made this mess fix it.
Geelong (84) v St Kilda (57)
The out of form Geelong certainly needed a win, but this was about as unconvincing a performance as they get.
The Saints, while they worked hard, are orders of magnitude below Geelong in terms of skill but still made this difficult for the Cats.
It took until the second half for the Cats to really wake up and pleasingly for Geelong fans, it was with a strong focus on defence, with them stopping the Saints scoring for almost an hour.
I must admit, this was when I got pretty bored with the whole thing. I mean, it was interesting when I thought the Saints might pull an upset, but once I realised Geelong were going to win, I mainly just mucked around on the internet.
My search history for the night read:
· Why don’t I have friends?
· How to make friends
· What if I don’t have a good personality?
· Will I always be alone?
· How to delete your browser history
Richmond (94) v Greater Western Sydney (67)
This was a horror game for the Giants, soundly beaten and Stephen Coniglio suffering a cartilage tear to his left knee.
Obviously, the important question the media raised first is ‘how will this affect his trade to a Victorian club?’
It does mean the Giants will be without him for the rest of this year, and with this, their fourth loss in five games, that’s a real concern.
The Giants are heading one way while the Tigers are going the other, rising up the ladder and now pushing for a top-four finish.
All around town you see people walking with a spring in their step, these are Richmond supporters, who see Jack Riewoldt back, Toby Nankervis returning soon, Geelong faltering, West Coast no certainties and the Pies up-and-down and think, why not us?
Tigers fans haven’t had enough success yet to annoy me, not like Hawks fans. I guess that says a lot about me, that I resent others success.
I guess I wouldn’t if I ever had any.
Western Bulldogs (74) v Melbourne (66)
Speaking of not having success.
This was an arm wrestle between two sides that seemed not that keen to win it.
The Bulldogs were the superior side all game but kicked for goal in a manner that had the Doggies supporters questioning if the fightback had been worth it.
Melbourne, on the other hand, kicked for goal well enough but again butchered their forward entries. It’s an area where they seem incapable of learning from their mistakes, of which there have been more than enough.
Bombing it in high when you don’t have a forward line seemed like an interesting strategy. I wouldn’t have thought you’d need to try it to discover it wouldn’t work, but I was wrong.
When the Dees did manage to gain the upper hand for parts of the game they didn’t convert, and then the Bulldogs did the same until the floodgates finally opened late for the Dogs.
The result keeps the Bulldogs finals chances faintly alive, while Demons fans hopes of a slightly better draft pick remain high.
Port Adelaide (49) v Brisbane (97)
The Power started the game aggressively, deciding to target Lachie Neale in the opening quarter, resulting in Tom Rockliff and Dougal Howard giving away 50m penalties for off-the-ball contact on Neale.
Ken Hinkley, when asked about it after the game said, 'We don't apologise for being an aggressive football side'.
And neither should he, he should apologise for his side forgetting to pay attention to the rest of the Lions side, who ran around Port like they were witches’ hats.
Sure, keeping Neale to 24-possesions is fine and all, but not if you’re getting smashed everywhere else.
After all, as I keep harping on, the score is a pretty important stat in footy, underrated even.
Port, in focusing on their tough guy antics, forgot this, barely scoring at all, while allowing the Lions to score almost at will.
Don’t get me wrong; the Lions were brilliant. They were tough, skilful, had a coherent game plan, supported each other; all the things Port lacked.
The Lions are the real deal.
They’ve shown they can win on the road and most troubling of all, they are starting to believe.
I think I’m starting to believe too, and I don’t believe in much. Just the music of Bruce Springsteen and that sobriety is overrated.
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.
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