Aug 19, 2019
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Twenty Two
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.
Melbourne (42) v Sydney (95)
It was an intriguing round of football. Not this game, this was a game that simply highlighted two very different club cultures and made me wish I’d never been born.
With both sides having nothing to play for except pride, the Swans took it as an opportunity to devote themselves to their craft and improve their skills and abilities by working hard all night. After all, good habits start straight away.
The Dees players instead took the opportunity to fashion a white flag so big it could be seen from space and then waving it furiously for all to see.
Considering Sydney have lost six in a row and were on Melbourne’s home ground, this belting was embarrassing to watch, and I thought I was beyond feeling embarrassed about Melbourne.
Swans fans are hurting after this season, but they can at least see some effort from the young players.
Melbourne keeps talking about how they are still a few years away. That’s more like decades based on this performance. The constant refrain that now is not the time is just an excuse.
The Demons are the person at work who is always about to do something; then you realised they’ve been in their role forever and never achieved a single thing.
The players need to start worrying about now, not some mythical land in the future were everything just miraculously turns around, because based on this performance, that won’t be 2020.
Carlton (78) v St Kilda (68)
Blues fans are experiencing something new under coach David Teague, the ability to turn up to the footy knowing there’s a fair chance they could win.
Teague’s first game since taking the wheel in a permanent sense was also marked by the announcement of Daisy Thomas finishing up his career.
It was hard not to think of Thomas’ retirement marked the last vestige of Carlton’s Malthouse era leaving the club, and Teague’s appointment a new era.
Not that many of us want a new era for Carlton, us non-Blues fans have enjoyed the last twenty years, and I’m terrified by the fact I believe Teague knows what he’s doing.
The pre-Malthouse era at Carlton was, of course, the Ratten era, and here was Brett Ratten trying to get his new side up.
I think he’s done just enough to get the job full time, but he should be careful what he wishes for.
The St Kilda coaching job is a bit like Chernobyl, it’s interesting to visit briefly, but you wouldn’t want to live there.
Brisbane (75) v Geelong (74)
Well, this was a game. If the finals are anything like this and the Richmond-Eagles game, we may be in for one of the great Septembers.
Both sides threw everything at this, with Geelong up by 17 points in the fourth quarter, after Patrick Dangerfield had absolutely blitz the Lions.
But Brisbane are completely unrecognisable from the side that stunk up the Gabba for years. They have self-belief, which I’m told is a nice thing to have.
Even trailing late, they kept coming, and when former Cat Lincoln McCarthy, took a spectacular mark and went back and calmly kicked the winning goal, the Gabba once again sounded as loud as during their premiership era
It was something to see, and perhaps the most disappointing thing was that Geelong’s coach didn’t even watch the game.
I think not watching the game you’re coaching is probably not a good idea, and Chris Scott proved that, when he said of Brisbane’s Charlie Cameron, “I thought he was good late, he kicked a couple of goals … I don’t think he had a huge influence on the game. That’s my initial reaction. I think he took his chances when they were presented.”
Considering Cameron booted five goals, often at times the Lions desperately need them to stay in touch, it makes you wonder if the Cats could have done better if they’d been coached by someone at the game?
Adelaide (48) v Collingwood (114)
I was at Adelaide Oval on Saturday, and I have to say, it is as beautiful as the Crows were ugly.
There’s not a lot to say about the game, the Pies came out, toyed with the Crows for two quarters, then belted them for the final two quarters.
Adelaide seemed interested in the first half, but this proved to be, like their finals’ credentials, an illusion and not a very good one.
Don Pyke said after the game 'We've got some searching to do', and I can only assume he means for a new coach.
The Crows also weren’t helped by the fact the Taylor Walker didn’t play.
Collingwood will be thrilled with this performance. An away win, while still nursing injuries and a wonderful percentage boost.
The Pies didn’t even pick up any new injuries. If you’re a Collingwood fan, that’s about the best weekend you can have outside of Woodstock bourbon being on sale.
North Melbourne (144) v Port Adelaide (58)
We now know why North only kicked one goal last week, they were saving them up for this week.
It was impossible to recognise this team from the one that faced Geelong, but it must also be said that playing Port certainly helped.
This was a complete rout. The Kangaroos ran all over the Power with a point to prove after their record solitary goal the previous week.
Ben Brown booted ten goals to make up for the week before, the first time a Roos player has done that since Wayne Carey.
The game would have cheered up North supporters and put to rest any buyer’s remorse regarding Rhyce Shaw.
As for the Power, with finals on the line, this performance was as bewildering as Joe Root claiming he isn’t a cheat.
Perhaps Port’s players don’t want to play finals. They seem to avoid them like the plague.
Ken Hinkley now has something in common with Crows fans; both hope he can hold onto his job.
Fremantle (55) v Essendon (87)
Much like the Kangaroos, Essendon was unlikely to be able to turn in a performance as bad as last week, and playing the Dockers is always a nice way to build up some confidence.
Essendon certainly benefited from the fact that Fremantle couldn’t score even if they were The Bachelor.
With a finals spot on the line and the stain of last week to erase, the Bombers put some effort in and will now play in September.
Who knows which Essendon will play finals? The one that appears to be one of the better teams in the league or the one that makes the year they had to field top-up players feel like a golden era?
As for Fremantle, Ross has safely steered them away from the finals again.
That’s the great thing about being a Dockers fan; you never risk your deposit on that Bali villa you booked for September.
Richmond (88) v West Coast (82)
This was a nice reminder of why I love footy, and I needed it after the Demons season this year.
Having both the Swans-Dees game and this match at the MCG on the weekend, was like hosting a prep recorder recital on Friday and the Berlin Philharmonic on Sunday.
These teams both gave it their all, while also providing highlights galore.
Dustin Martin’s masterclass, Elliot Yeo showing again why he would be a star of the comp if people in Victoria knew who he was, Willie Rioli’s crumb and curled along the ground goal, Liam Ryan’s mark of the year contender and Jack Riewoldt’s goal to win it.
There was even Tom Barrass’ work as a sleeper agent for the Tigers.
There’s been a lot of talk of Richmond being well poised for a premiership tilt, and this finally proved it.
Not that the Eagles will have any worries. They’ll be furious they let this slip, but they again showed they can compete on the home of the Grand Final, in finals like pressure.
They’ll tweak a few things, and they are going to be dangerous.
Greater Western Sydney (65) v Western Bulldogs (126)
When it comes to giving up when things get hard, the Giants are building a nice little highlights package.
Personally, I get it, the best time to give up is when something gets hard, then you don’t have to do it anymore.
Why would you give up something that is easy and fun? That’s like deciding to give up nachos.
The Bulldogs are making a bit of a habit of pouring on goals, this week they ended with the last 12 goals of the match.
If this had been a UFC fight, the ref would have jumped on the Giants to protect them and called the fight.
Instead, children watched on, being scarred for life.
It means the Bulldogs get to decide their fate, a win against Adelaide in Ballarat next week would see them play finals.
They're a good chance too, Adelaide couldn’t even win at home.
The Doggies deserve to be in finals, at least, more than the Giants do.
Hawthorn (118) v Gold Coast (48)
Technically the Hawks are still in finals contention, but this game was about Jarryd Roughead.
The whole footy world came together to celebrate the man, despite the fact he played a direct hand in delivering Hawthorn four premierships, something that would normally never be forgiven. It would be considered a crime agasint humanity.
It’s a testament to his popularity.
In a fitting end, Roughead booted six goals, and despite the fact it was against the Suns, people still cared about it.
Will he play next week? Perhaps, the Hawks need to win to be any chance to play finals, but playing the Suns is a step down from the VFL, so you can’t read too much into it.
As for the Suns, what can you say? They have been as bad as advertised this season.
The only people happy with their season are Melbourne supporters because if not for the Gold Coast, the Dees would be adding another wooden spoon to their collection.
I used to think the introduction of the expansion teams might prevent Melbourne from winning a premiership; now I realise it’s stopped us winning wooden spoons.
Titus is touring around the country in the upcoming months, visiting 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.