Aug 26, 2019
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Twenty Three
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.
Collingwood (76) v Essendon (65)
Collingwood proved to everyone on Friday night that they can defeat Essendon’s VFL side.
To be fair, the Pies were without a fair few players too (I think they had a division three basketball game on), making this a war of attrition, with Michael Hurley going off in the second half with a shoulder injury.
Luckily, he didn’t need to go to hospital, as the Bombers preferred method of medical transport, a taxi, was probably not a good option for him.
The Pies were lucky they had Brodie Grundy who was just better than everyone else on the field. He dominated the game, which makes you wonder why the Pies are squabbling over his contract.
Collingwood were also well served by Scott Pendlebury who seems to never age. If anything, Pendlebury is underrated, he keeps racking up the possessions and weirdly hits targets. Perhaps other AFL midfielders should consider adding that to their game.
Now the Pies will take on Geelong at the Cats home ground, the MCG and the Bombers will travel to Perth to take on the Eagles in their final game of their season.
Sydney (109) v St Kilda (64)
With Lance Franklin playing his 300th match, and Jarrad McVeigh and Kieren Jack playing their last games, you could tell the Swans were keen to get a win to end what has been a disappointing season.
Buddy ended with four goals in his milestone game and the Swans will be hoping he can get his body right in the off season and play a lot more in 2020.
After the game the retiring quartet of Nick Smith, Heath Grundy, Jarrad McVeigh and Kieren Jack were all chaired off, as was Buddy Franklin. Chairing five players off all at once showed more coordination from the Swans than they’ve shown throughout much of the year.
As for St Kilda, with Brad Scott and Ross Lyon both out there, like sharks circling below a surfer, you’d think they’d have worked a lot harder to try and get Brett Ratten across the line.
But the Saints players, much like the St Kilda fans, just seemed to be glad this season as over.
Former Swan Dan Hannebery had his best game of the year, showing that trade may hopefully not be a complete disaster. That could be the Saints membership slogan next year ‘hopefully not a complete disaster’.
North Melbourne (88) v Melbourne (83)
If you had to write an ending for the toilet of a season the Melbourne Football Club have produced, then this would have been pretty good.
A chance to win, only to be butchered under pressure from a side that just wanted it more.
North may not have had much of a season, but they at least tried to salvage something from it over the last six weeks, rather than look like a group of people stuck at a function they didn’t want to be at.
The Kangaroos just knew if they kept coming, they’d have a real chance of Melbourne choking and that’s what happened.
When the final siren sounded, I felt nothing but relief it was all over.
As they say,‘If You’re Going Through Hell, Keep Going’, or to rephrasing it for the Melbourne players, ‘If You’re Going Through Hell, consider breaking out of a light jog and sprint occasionally.’
Geelong (129) v Carlton (61)
After trying everything to not finish top, the results went against the Cats and they ended up there anyway.
Geelong looked all business against the Blues, who seemed like a side that knew the season was done and it was time to pack for Bali or Thailand.
The Cats will be hoping this is a glimpse of what’s to come in finals and it’s hard to know what they’ll bring to September.
I’ve no idea what the Cats will do in the finals. At times this year they’ve seemed a side without peer, but since the bye they’ve been about as reliable as the Star Wars franchise.
Will they be Empire Strikes Backor The Last Jedi in September?
They take on the Pies at the MCG, and I would usually agree that they should be able to play that at their home ground, except Chris Scott thinks that so I can’t.
As for Carlton, they chaired the retiring Dale Thomas off after the siren. Patrick Cripps didn’t do it because he’d been busy carrying the rest of the team.
Gold Coast (55) v Greater Western Sydney (127)
The Giants had the first weekend of their two-week bye and decided to use it to run a training session with some young kids who dream of playing AFL one day.
The hype in Greater Western Sydney is at fever pitch for finals, with 7610 people turning up to this one.
In fairness, I would go to great lengths to avoid seeing the Suns play. The NRL should pay for Suns games to be shown in prime time in Queensland to damage the AFL.
Jeremey Cameron managed to win the Coleman Medal with nine goals in this one, finishing with 67 goals, just ahead of North’s Ben Brown on 64.
It’s an outstanding achievement and the Giants might need him to kick nine each game in the finals if they’re to be any chance.
They take on the Bulldogs first in what becoming a great rivalry. I wouldn’t want to go up against the Bulldogs in the finals, they looked scary on the weekend, but they were playing the Crows.
West Coast (67) v Hawthorn (105)
This had choke of the week in the bag until the Australian cricket team curated one of the greatest chokes of all time.
It’s not just that the Eagles lost, it’s the way they lost and the context.
With a top four spot on the line, at home and playing a side that’s been inconsistent all year, West Coast produced a performance more embarrassing than my grade three talent show performance that resulted in me being booed off stage by the parents and the theatre being set on fire.
This was like having a tap in putt, and instead of putting it away, you missed by hitting it 300 yards.
Hawthorn outworked and outthought the Eagles all game, leaving us in the terrifying position for part of the weekend of the Hawks making the finals.
While this nightmare scenario didn’t eventuate, the nightmare continues for the Eagles who have an uphill battle to make it to the Grand Final.
I’m still bewildered as to how this happened. This was as unlikely as a contestant on The Voice building a successful music career.
Western Bulldogs (121) v Adelaide (87)
The Don Pyke farewell game certainly delivered, with the Bulldogs taking just 24 minutes to be up 40 points to zero.
The Crows looked like a team that had a surprise game of footy thrown at them. Only the fact they were in their uniforms suggested they were aware the match was occurring.
Pyke said after the game they’d be changes at the Crows, but I don’t think he plans to sack himself so I’m not sure they’ll be good changes.
As for the Bulldogs, they were terrific. The quick hands and their running support for each other makes them a welcome addition to September. They bring an X-Factor to the finals and you wouldn’t be keen to play them.
Bailey Dale finished with five goals but could have had six in the first quarter as he looked like Gary Ablett snr against the Crows defenders, who had to contend with a rampaging Bulldogs midfield.
Pyke said after the game that the Crows treaded water this year. I don’t think you can tread water underwater.
Richmond (82) v Brisbane (55)
Hopes of this being a classic never quite eventuated as Richmond showed their experience by jumping the Lions early and then never letting them get back up.
Not that the Lions stopped trying, it’s just each time they appeared to be getting back into the game, Richmond would kick a goal.
Lachie Neale went out of his way to try and get his team up, with 51 disposals and 14 clearances but the Tigers discipline across the whole field showed.
Richmond’s defence is so good that South Korea should consider hiring them.
It sets up the second qualifying final at the Gabba between these two and based on this game, the classic might still eventuate.
Port Adelaide (110) v Fremantle (67)
How did the Aussies let that Test slip?
I mean, it’s almost impossible to lose from that position without actively trying.
What was with the constant bouncing of Jack Leach? How about trying to bowl on the stumps to a tailender? Just wasted deliveries.
What about the constant allowing of Stokes to rotate the strike so Leach barely faced a ball?
Or the missed run out by Lyon? Or that bloody idiotic review? I though Shane Watson had the monopoly on those.
Then there is the truly supernatural awfulness of Joel Wilson, who somehow has carved out a career as a cricket umpire despite possessing none of the required abilities such a position requires.
It was a day of great shame for our nation and the English are right to mock us. This was like their Brexit, only ours happened on the sporting field, with something important on the line.
Titus is touring around the country in the upcoming months, visiting Sydney, Perth, Hobart and Brisbane. Tickets available here: http://www.frontiercomedy.com/titusoreily
Titus’ new book Please, 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.