Aug 05, 2019
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Twenty
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.
North Melbourne (86) v Hawthorn (64)
North Melbourne must not have got the memo that with Rhyce Shaw signing a three-year deal this week, they could relax and take it easy.
It seemed like that was the case early on, as Hawthorn absolutely tore apart North’s midfield and went into quarter time three goals up. The Hawks should have probably been up by more.
The Kangaroos then did something I’m not that keen on. They worked really hard.
I hate people that work hard. They make the rest of us look bad. You end up resenting them, thinking ‘we could all be at the pub if that idiot wasn’t working like they care about this stupid job.’
The Hawthorn players seem to begin resenting the North midfielders too. Suddenly, getting the ball started to be really difficult.
It was a shame to see the Hawks drop off so quickly given Shaun Burgoyne was breaking Adam Goodes' record for most games by an indigenous player.
North themselves were celebrating 150-years. I feel this has been a bit underdone in the media.
The Kangaroos have been a great club over the years. They’ve had a better record than many and have overcome enormous odds to stay alive. After all, they had the VFL actively trying to send them broke and run them out of the competition for years.
Anyone that defeats the governing body deserves our respect.
Essendon (67) v Port Adelaide (126)
One of the worst things for a person is being on the end of inconsistent behaviour.
Studies have shown that people can’t handle situations that are highly unpredictable.
Anyone who’s had a boss that is nice one day and horrible the next, knows this is worse than someone who is always horrible. Uncertainty kills you.
This is why Port Adelaide might be the worst club to support in the league. Port fans have no idea who is going to show up.
Is it the Port Adelaide who would struggle to win a game in the SANFL? Or is it the team they got here? An exciting, high scoring, skilful side.
Port fans would be thinking, this is great and all, but this means we’re going to lose to Sydney at home next week doesn’t it?
For Essendon, trying to entrench themselves in the top eight, this was a disappointing outing.
How disappointing? Well, their highlight was Essendon fan Ben Simmons being in attendance.
Ben didn’t make it as an AFL player but has managed to fall back on a $241 million deal in the NBA.
It’s some consolidation I guess, but playing in the NBA is all well and good but knowing you’ll never get to go to the Brownlow would eat away at a person.
Greater Western Sydney (83) v Sydney (81)
This was a highly entertaining game, with the Swans refusing to let their cross-town rivals run over the top of them, only for the umpires to again ruin it for everyone.
In the dying moments, Sam Reid took what appeared to either be a mark or a free kick, only for the umpires to put the whistle away.
There’s been so many clangers by the umpires this year, which I blame on the increased load the AFL puts on them and the amount of nonsense they now need to keep an eye on.
We always notice the umpiring errors late in the game, giving them more weight than the ones in the first quarter, so I never like to say a win or loss came down to a couple of late decisions. A good side take the luck out of the game.
The Swans, when they had their chances didn’t put the Giants away, and if you fail to do that, you’re always rolling the dice.
Luckily for the game we all love, with the sport becoming harder to umpire, we have a terrific video review system in place.
Fremantle (95) v Geelong (61)
I’m not sure why the Cats don’t want to win the premiership. They seemed so keen a few months ago, but recently, they’ve been playing more like Gary Ablett’s old side.
My theory is that when Brad Scott finished up at North, Chris, who was keen for a break and thought he’d had enough wins in the bank, got his brother to fill in until finals.
What else can explain the fact the Cats just gave up the minute the Dockers started to push back on them in the second quarter?
A complete acquiescence like that usually needs the French Army involved.
Geelong don’t even have injuries. And Freo had lots of them.
Yet Fremantle played like the top of the table side, bullying Geelong all over the ground.
The downside for Dockers fans is a win like this means Ross Lyon could be around a bit longer. The only thing worse than hope, is false hope.
Melbourne (60) v Richmond (93)
I went along to this and the steady rain that descended on the ground was the perfect accompaniment to my misery.
Like all things, some losses are harder than others but what got me down about this one was the pure inevitability of it.
Sure, Melbourne did some nice things at times, they even appeared competitive for a lot of the game, but the complete ease with which Richmond pulled away had me wishing this godforsaken season could be over.
How I long for summer when I can spend some time relaxing and recharging my batteries and convince myself that next year will be different.
As for Richmond, they are looking in good form, although a bit wasteful up forward.
A Tigers’ premiership this year is no longshot. I mean who else could win it?
West Coast are a real chance, Brisbane are looking good, Geelong have decided they don’t want it, Collingwood will be lucky to be able to even field a team in September. The Giants probably aren’t consistent enough, while Essendon are a longshot.
What about Adelaide? I hear you say. Oh, you are funny.
Adelaide (92) v St Kilda (70)
To their credit, the Crows didn’t lose to St Kilda at home. This should have been seen as a regulation win but there’s no such thing with the Crows of late.
Adelaide began the game more nervously than me having to make small talk with people I don’t know.
They kept chipping the ball backwards, with their own crowd booing them. The players however didn’t seem that fussed, having grown used to being booed by their own supporters in recent months.
For the Crows, there were some positive signs. Tex Walker kicked four and the returning Eddie Betts had three.
That’s the thing about the Crows forward line, they can seem quite competent every five to six weeks.
As for St Kilda, this wasn’t a great outing but not a disaster either.
Right now, what happens on the field this season isn’t as important as what’s happening off the field. Will the board make a bad decision when appointing a coach, or a really bad decision?
Collingwood (120) v Gold Coast (51)
The Pies sure needed a week off but what they got was even better, a week off while also boosting their percentage.
Stuart Dew said after the game he didn’t think this performance was a step backwards for the Suns and I agree. You have to have taken a step forward at some point to be able to take one backwards.
The Suns again looked about as interested in this as I would be watching a musical.
Speaking of steps, Nathan Buckley said this was a step in the right direction for his club and I guess it was. Yet belting the Suns isn’t really that good practice for the finals.
It’s like training for the Winter Olympics by drinking gin and tonics with ice cubes in the glass.
Carlton (75) v West Coast (99)
A bit of a reality check for the Blues, but hardly a depressing one.
The side that played the first part of the season would have got belted by 100 points. Under David Teague, this was a competent, committed side who were just outgunned by a more developed and accomplished side.
I’m a bit torn at the moment. I want Teague to get the Carlton job because the idea that he doesn’t deserve the job is just idiocy. On the other hand, the humour in the Blues Board making a terrible decision would fill so many people with joy.
As for the Eagles, they continued their strong claim to be favourites for the flag. They’ll likely get home finals, they can win at the MCG, they’ve got a proven record in finals and Champion data don’t rate their list.
They’re powerful credential I think you’ll agree.
Liam Ryan also added to his impressive reputation, hauling in a mark running into a pack with no fear of his physical safety. It was a beautiful thing to watch and a reminder that despite all the nonsense that surrounds it, this is a wonderful sport.
Brisbane (98) v Western Bulldogs (80)
Seven straight wins in a row. It’s been an impressive two months for the Lions.
Think about it. When was the last time you’ve put in two months of excellence at work? I’d be lucky to string two hours of good work together.
Especially if I achieve something. If I ever get something done, I rest on my laurels for weeks.
Hell, I even rest on failure too.
The Dogs, who were entertaining a finals run, just didn’t do enough.
They hung around, but like me at a speed dating night, they were there just to make up the numbers, at no stage did anyone take them seriously.
There’s no reason the Lions can’t go the distance this year. They will at least inject some excitement into the finals. Their enthusiasm reminds me of my youth, before reality was brought to bear and crushed any hope out of me.
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.