Jul 10, 2023
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Seventeen
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.
Richmond (88) v Sydney (75)
Jacob Bauer didn’t have the best debut ever; it was over in minutes due to a hamstring injury.
It reminded me of a guy I once knew who in the opening minutes of a date, reached for something and set his shirt cuff on fire on a candle.
The date went home with the waiter who had been looking after them and continued to look after one of them.
The good news for Bauer, is he has plenty of time to try again, as did my friend, who is now happily married, although he was significantly helped by the man drought and the bar for what passes as acceptable behaviour being so low for blokes.
At the other end of the spectrum, we had Buddy Franklin playing what was almost certainly his last game at the MCG.
Unfortunately for Buddy, it wasn’t a final win there, as Jack Graham rescued Richmond from itself.
The Tigers had been wildly inaccurate, and having enough, Graham grabbed the ball out of the centre and kicked a goal to square up the score, then he swooped on a ball in the forward fifty and sealed the game with another goal.
While the Tiges were inaccurate up forward, Toby Nankervis aimed true when he clipped Jake Lloyd high. Perhaps what stood out most about the bump was how completely unnecessary it was.
Western Bulldogs (77) v Collingwood (89)
You shouldn’t be allowed to walk into the league and by your 41st game, be the best player in the competition.
I mean, really, you shouldn’t be in the top 100 because AFL is hard. Like, incredibly hard.
It’s harder than opening a Chupa Chup.
But when Peter Daicos built Nick in his secret underground laboratory, he accidentally overpowered him.
It’s like when you create a player in NBA 2K with an overall of 99, then realise the stats they produce are so cartoonish it takes the realism away.
That’s what Nick is doing.
He had 29 disposals, 15 contested possessions, 11 clearances and six tackles and two rather lovely goals.
And the Bulldogs were playing incredibly well, and still Collingwood won.
It’s very depressing. Unless you’re a Pies supporter, then it’s the best thing in the world since you got a tattoo with your boyfriend’s name Bodhi, but you then broke up only for you to meet another Bodhi.
Brisbane (116) v West Coast (35)
Twenty minutes. That’s all it took the Lions to beat West Coast. When teams are beating you faster than it takes to make a fettuccine carbonara, you’re in trouble.
Damn, now I want a fettuccine carbonara. Which is fine; I do need to carb load while the Ashes are on.
At the end of twenty minutes, Brisbane were up by seven goals when the Eagles finally troubled the scorers.
But they didn’t trouble them much.
The trick with making fettuccine carbonara is not to scramble the eggs when you add them to the pasta.
Just keep the heat low and work fast to ensure that the eggs are well-mixed into the pasta.
And the final margin was flattering to the Eagles, with the Lions booting 16.20.
That was the only real negative for the Lions.
Jack Gunston booted six goals, after taking some time off from the AFL, and while this technically wasn’t an AFL game, it’s a promising step in the right direction.
Greater Western Sydney (85) v Hawthorn (72)
A fifth win in six matches takes the Giants to the edge of the top eight, which is something given some of their performances this season.
The Giants shouldn’t really be close to playing finals, they struggled here against Hawthorn, and it reminds me of the ridiculous calls we get to have wildcard entries for the finals.
I’m not sure how watering down your best product makes things better. It’s almost like money is all some people care about.
Hawks fans are treading that very thin tightrope between wanting to win and wanting to have the best possible draft pick and the Hawks did that very well in this one.
They were competitive, but just not quite competitive enough.
If I were a Hawks fan, I would find solace in the fact you have a player named Denver Grainger-Barras.
St Kilda (58) v Melbourne (79)
St Kilda may not have won the game, but like Mick Foley in his Hell in a Cell match against the Undertaker, they won a lot of fans.
They lost Max King (shoulder), Seb Ross (hamstring) and Zaine Cordy (concussion) before the first quarter, which means they had no right to even get this close to the Dees.
But they did, through constant pressure and Rowan Marshall.
Marshall was a machine all night, up against Gawn and Grundy, and he was constantly there when the Saints needed him.
Despite their superiority in numbers, the Dees couldn’t handle the Saints pressure, they tried by constantly over-handballing, and the more that didn’t work, the more they tried it.
They needed Steven May to rescue them time and again like an annoyed dad stopping his young children from falling in the pool.
What’s a fun day at the pool for the kids is a stressful day of preventing drownings for the parents.
Up forward, the Dees managed to kick more goals than behinds in a nice change of pace, but the forward line was hardly effective.
Christian Petracca had to go forward to kick four of their twelve goals. The Dees are really missing Bayley Fritsch and Kysaiah Pickett.
There’s no guarantee either of them will be back by finals.
The highlight of the game was Mattaes Phillipou managing to bounce the ball off the top of the goalpost. I think you’re meant to have a shot of tequila when you do that. Another missed call by the umpires.
Port Adelaide (106) v Gold Coast (73)
At halftime, the Suns were up by six points and it looked like an upset was on the cards; I mean Port are ‘due for a loss’, right? That’s a thing.
But 32 minutes later, the Power were up by 43-points, after a brutal display of firepower not seen since the days the British would park a warship next to some wooden huts of some tribe that was bothering them by existing.
Port would boot 9.2 to the Suns 1.1 in the third quarter, but the score doesn’t tell the whole story. It was the sheer showmanship of it.
Sam Powell-Pepper thought launching a 70-meter torp at goal was a worthwhile thing to try, which it was, and Connor Rozee decided to win goal of the year with a dribble kick from the boundary.
It was all a nice way to honour Charlie Dixon in his 200th game and Jeremy Finalyson in his 100th.
For the Suns, it was all just another wasted second half, both in the game and their season.
It certainly doesn’t help when Ben King has one possession late in the third quarter and has to be dragged.
Someone playing against their will could probably get one possession.
Geelong (125) v North Melbourne (63)
When you’re hanging around the bottom of the eight, seeing North on your fixture has got to cheer you up.
And it did cheer the Cats up, as they belted the Kangaroos, and then got to see Adelaide drop a game to the Bombers, making this a highly successful weekend.
They next face Essendon, in what would be a huge match and crowd in Geelong, if not for the fact they’ve forgotten to finish building the new stand.
The Cats were celebrating Zach Tuohy breaking Jim Stynes' record for the most games by an Irishman, one of the key stats in our game.
All stats should be race-based, in my view.
Most kicks by a Belgian, most goals in a game by a Ghanaian, most tackles by a North Korean and most intercept marks by an Icelander. Then we could rank all the races…wait, this doesn’t seem like a good idea after all.
One thing that made me feel old was watching both Cooper Harvey and Taj Woewodin debut.
The stages of life are:
· AFL players are giant adults;
· AFL players are the same age as you;
· You are watching the children of AFL players you grew up watching; and
· You are now telling the nice man who rang trying to sell you insurance how you used to watch so-and-so’s grandfather play.
I am now firmly in the watching the children of AFL players you grew up watching phase.
It doesn’t even console me that Boomer Harvey played AFL for forty-eight years.
Essendon (115) v Adelaide (97)
Essendon are in the top five at the end of round seventeen and everyone, including them, are surprised and not sure what is going on.
It’s like a deer running into a supermarket. You can tell it’s not sure what to do next. It’s a weird energy. The deer knows it shouldn’t be there, while everyone else can’t understand how it even got in.
The Crows tried to win the first half by not getting the ball. A counterintuitive strategy, which didn’t work at all.
Instead, it allowed the Bombers to basically put the game away in the first half.
After that, the Crows just had too much to do.
Now the Crows sit outside the eight looking in, like the small orphan boy who started at me through the window while I ate dinner in one of Melbourne’s finest establishments.
Only after I had the maître d' call the police could I eat in peace. What is wrong with this world?
The Crows now get the Giants, who are in tenth, making that a key game, to see what club misses out on finals but the closest margin.
Fremantle (45) v Carlton (98)
Nice try Fremantle, but you’re still not the most disappointing team in Western Australia.
They have given it a red-hot go.
At home and against Carlton, this should have at least been a contest. Instead, they didn’t even fire a shot in anger, even having eight unanswered goals booted against them at one stage.
It was horrible, horrible stuff.
The Blues, however can be thrilled. They travelled and came back with the four points.
And they are back in the hunt for finals. The whole league is quivering as the Carlton has sent a powerful message, defeating Gold Coast, Hawthorn and Fremantle in the past three weeks.
They know we’re coming!
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This week’s Sports Bizarre episode is Sport’s Biggest Family Feud, available wherever you get your podcasts.