Jul 13, 2020
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Six
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.
Geelong (73) v Brisbane (46)
This season was already a mess of a thing, and then the AFL had to muck around with the interpretation of holding the ball, which has been like pouring petrol onto a dumpster fire.
We all know holding the ball has always been a bit of a lucky dip, but this week saw it make the game almost unwatchable at times.
Players seemed unsure whether to pick the ball up at all, often all of them deciding not to, resulting in the game occasionally looking like a bunch of people huddled around a campfire.
You could understand why, when a player did get the ball, they had no idea what would happen if they were tackled.
Sometimes players got pinged when they briefly looked at the ball, other times the umpires let a player hold the ball so long that they and the ball were recognised under law as a de facto couple by the time they disposed of it.
Not that I’m blaming the umpires, it must be almost impossible to officiate a game that has a new interpretation of a random rule almost every week.
Anyway, I’m sure in trying to fix this mess of their own making, the AFL will make it worse.
As for this game, it was all about the Cats third quarter, which saw seven unanswered goals make the Lions look second-rate.
It’s a reminder that rumours of the death of Geelong may be exaggerated.
Worrying for the Lions is the Cats were reduced to two rotations due to injuries, and still Geelong ran all over them.
I’m not sure you can read much into one game in this weird season, but let’s overreact and say the Lions are in crisis.
Collingwood (59) v Hawthorn (27)
Even remembering this game hurts. What’s truly astounding is this wasn’t the worst match of the round.
Alastair Clarkson, after trying to ruin the game with all those Hawthorn premierships, has now shifted tactics and made it unwatchable through rule changes, which weirdly he seems to be able to make.
His complaints about the game would be better directed at his team, as the changes have certainly not helped them, just ruined it for everyone else.
A Collingwood victory is never fun to watch but the Hawks somehow found a way to make it truly excruciating.
The Hawks played with less movement than you’d find in a morgue. They were so bad I can’t even understand what they were trying to do, because not only did it not work, but to do something, you need to do something.
This isn’t to take anything away from Collingwood, they’ve been in real trouble with injuries and off the field. Sure, a lot of the trouble was of their own making, but they fought their way out of it, and they were the only team out there trying to win.
See, this is why I don’t like Hawthorn, they’re making me say nice things about Collingwood.
Fremantle (79) v St Kilda (73)
Easily the most fun game of the round, unless of course you’re a St Kilda fan, in which case this was like having your wisdom teeth out while getting a prostate exam.
St Kilda’s ability to mentally scar their own fans is impressive. It raises the question; which AFL team is the most sadistic towards their supporters?
The Saints and Melbourne are certainly in the race. Essendon and Carlton have been doing a lot of work in that area over the last twenty years and Fremantle are in the discussion. Adelaide seem to do it more to their players.
It’s really out of St Kilda and Melbourne, and the Saints showed in this game, that they have a real claim on being the most traumatic club to follow in the competition.
Leading by 37 points early in the second term, the Saints were heaping despair onto Dockers supporters, only for it to swing around in a brutal fashion.
Fremantle, who played the first quarter like a group of people unfamiliar with the sport of Australian rules, started to play in the second quarter like the top 15 team they are.
They started to reel in the Saints, kicking ten of the next eleven goals, eventually leading by 19 points in the fourth quarter.
It’s here the Saints showed their true flair for the sadistic. After torturing their fans all afternoon, they got the score back to level, giving hope back to their fans, only to then lose anyway.
I’ve spoken to the United Nations and they’ve agreed to amend the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to now say:
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are
endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a
spirit of brotherhood and not do what St Kilda Football Club does to their fans.
As for Dockers supporters, they went from wanting to welcome their team home with pitchforks to confetti in the space of a few hours.
It just goes to show that a never give up attitude takes you far, it’s doing it regularly that’s hard.
West Coast (67) v Adelaide (34)
Watching this season if like trying to love a difficult person, you really want to but boy do they make it hard.
This was another game that was just nothing. Adelaide are truly terrible, the worst team in the league. How bad? Well, if Port Adelaide fans had the capacity for empathy, they would feel sorry for them.
Not only have they not won this season, they haven’t even looked like winning.
West Coast are not much better, but this is a bit more confusing, Adelaide are bad on paper and on the field. The Eagles should be good, or at least a lot better than they are.
They’ve improved a bit in recent weeks, but they’d have wanted to. Now they get to go home, perhaps for some time, they’d want to be a lot better than this in Perth.
As for the Crows, they are proof that this season would make more sense if it was a knockout tournament. Even their fans would appreciate not having to watch them again this year, life is already tough enough.
Melbourne (80) v Gold Coast (63)
Melbourne shouldn’t get too carried away with this performance. A lot of the old mistakes were still there, only marginally improved, and the Suns were really off compared to their earlier efforts this season.
Still, a win is a win and the Demons needed this one desperately. Max Gawn knew this and was everywhere, his work around the ground saved the Dees so often that life without him doesn’t bare thinking about for Demons fans.
The Suns seemed to have lost some of their early season polish, but Izak Rankine’s display would do a lot to cheer Gold Coast fans up. And he adds to the young talent they have up there.
The Suns have had large amounts of young talent before, it’s retaining them that’s been difficult, but perhaps they fact Victoria is now basically a giant Petri dish, Gold Coast is now a destination club. I know I’d prefer to be there right now.
As for Melbourne, their fans will be thrilled with Harley Bennell’s goal after the siren, he’s given the Dees their first highlight of the season.
Essendon (67) v North Melbourne (53)
Somehow Essendon are in the top four, despite a raft of injuries and their win against Melbourne yet to be recorded in the books.
It’s another example of how this season makes no sense. Could the Bombers be good? It’s a scary idea.
It’s certainly possible. You get the feeling a lot of teams, if they pull their act together at the right time, could win the premiership this year. On the field the season may be awful, but at least it’s close.
But the Bombers have a lot of injuries, especially up forward, and Dylan Shiel looks like missing a few weeks for a high bump on Curtis Taylor.
It just goes to show that with all the short breaks coming up, whoever wins this thing is going to have to dig deep into their list to get wins.
North have now lost four on the trot and a big reason for that is their forward line operates, more often than not, like part of their opponent’s defence.
It’s an approach certainly appreciated by their opponents but I’m not sure it’s an approach the North fans are loving.
Port Adelaide (63) v Greater Western Sydney (46)
Normally, after a disappointing loss last week, Port would have dropped their bundle in this one too.
Yet miracles do happen, and the Power now remain a team to take seriously this year.
What was impressive about this was when it mattered, in the fourth quarter, Port got everything right.
Ken Hinkley celebrated the win and AFL life membership in the middle of the circle when the team sung the team song. I love the social distancing at the moment in the AFL.
Players all sing the team song in a circle standing apart and then come together and all hug anyway. It’s a bit like when the players all sweat over each other, tackling and grappling for an entire game, but when a goal is kicked, they all do fist bumps.
It’s all for show. The whole idea is these guys are in a bubble, so when you’re in it, what does it matter if you hug after a goal?
Yet nothing sums up the AFL better, the look is the focus rather than the reality of what’s happening.
As for the Giants, this was a very disappointing performance. Despite having the largest injection of talent in the history of the game, they look like coming away with just being a good not great team.
It’s not necessarily an indictment on them, it just reminds us that winning a premiership is incredibly difficult, and this year will be no exception.
Richmond (34) v Sydney (26)
Damien Hardwick said of this match, “It was a horrendous game of football.”
Typical coaches, always talking up a game.
This was about as bad a game as you’ll ever see.
The Swans fielded a team of short teenagers and looked like the Auskick team had been allowed to remain on the ground.
Hardwick blamed Sydney for the poor game, saying “There’s not much I can do. We’re attacking, we’ve got 75,000 people in our forward 50.”
It did seem at times that Sydney threw any idea of social distancing aside and jammed more people into their defence than a nightclub dancefloor pre-Covid.
Yet, I’m not sure this was a tactic, but rather the fact that the Tigers won the ball all the time and just kept attacking, where else would the Sydney players be?
Not that knowing this made it any better to watch. It was a game that made you wonder if watching sport is worth it sometimes.
With nothing happening for long periods on the field, it gave me time to think, never a good thing.
Stuck in lockdown, with this monstrosity on the tele, my thoughts turned to how maybe this is life now, never to change.
But it will be over at some point, and we will all be able to tell our kids and grandkids about how we lived through a pandemic and never complained and all came together, even though in reality we all whinged the entire time and turned on each other often.
That’s the wonderful thing about the past, we just select the bits we want to remember, like it’s a buffet.
Carlton (103) v Western Bulldogs (51)
I’ve warned people about Carlton slowly improving and what a calamity that will be for the world, but like those who predicted a pandemic, I’ve been screaming into the void.
Carlton fans are now happy and are constantly remarking on how getting Jack Martin for nothing has worked out so well for them.
Nothing used to work out for Carlton and now they’re in the top eight for the first time since round 12, 2013. These are the red flags we need to be alert to.
The Blues just piled on the pressure in this game and the Bulldogs just couldn’t handle it. They kept waiting for it to relent but it didn’t, and the longer it went on for, the sloppier the Doggies got.
Beveridge said after the game ‘we fell a bit apart at the end.’ Which is now Victoria’s state motto.
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