Aug 16, 2021
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Twenty Two
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.
Greater Western Sydney (106) v Richmond (67)
This was the perfect game for the Giants. Not only did they pretty much lock in finals, they also managed to get through the game without Toby Greene getting suspended.
Back in July, Jack Riewoldt said, “But good luck if you're playing us in the last seven weeks no matter where we sit on the ladder.”
And it seems Richmond’s opponents have had a lot of luck since then.
The death or Richmond’s dynasty has been declared so often it really doesn’t bear repeating, that didn’t stop the commentators stating that a lot during this game.
In fact, aside from Tigers supporters, I felt the commentators seemed the most upset about the decline of Richmond.
They kept talking about Richmond coming back even when it was obvious they were no chance. They also seemed to be oblivious that the Giants were playing.
It was sad and I hope they’re getting the support they need.
Hawthorn (64) v Western Bulldogs (37)
For us non-Hawthorn supporters, these wins just add to the wonderful amusement the entire Clarkson sacking has delivered.
It’s something we all need in these tough times, and I’d never thought I’d say it, but I’m loving Hawthorn winning.
And beating the Bulldogs is no small feat, even with the loss of Josh Bruce causing them a few issues.
Most concerning for the Bulldogs was Jaeger O’Meara and James Worpel weren’t even playing for the Hawks.
Much like the Hawks did to the Demons earlier in the year, the Hawks dragged the Bulldogs down to their level, then beat them there.
They just made it a scrap.
I don’t think Dogs supporters should panic just yet, but they should make sure they know which panic station they’re assigned to.
Geelong (85) v St Kilda (71)
The Saints led this by 31 points in the first quarter prompting not one, not two, but five Saints supporters to text me to say, ‘We’ll lose this.”
They sure know their team.
Not that Geelong did this easily, and got lucky when Max King, who was on fire early, went off injured and came back not quite himself.
As fast as the Saints started, they stopped almost as quickly, as Geelong decided the best way to get into the game was just to not let the Saints have the ball, a very effective tactic.
As the match went on the Cats threw their weight around more, with Tom Hawkins' slamming Darragh Joyce’s head into the ground resulting in him being subbed off.
Luckily for Hawkins, he plays for Geelong, so the Match Review Officer briefly glanced at the footage before giving it the all clear.
In the end, a Patrick Dangerfield mark in the dying moments secured the game for Geelong, it was close enough to goal that even he couldn’t miss it.
Port Adelaide (140) v Carlton (45)
When Carlton was up by 23 points, no Blues supporters texted me to say, “We’ll lose this,” because it just didn’t need to be said.
But even they couldn’t see Port kicking 19 consecutive goals as they ripped apart any semblance of a rebuild at Carlton.
The only reason for Carlton’s existence it seems is to make Australia’s pandemic response look well run in comparison.
Much has been said about Carlton doing this during Marc Murphy's 300th game, but in many ways, at least he went out in the manner he’s been forced to endure for his entire career.
Adam Saad ended the game on the bench in tears, hardly the first person who has been bought to tears by the Carlton Football Club.
Port’s performance was fantastic, but it’s hard to know how much was their ability and how much was Carlton’s complete lack of ability. It was probably a little of column A and a little of column B.
With the pre-finals bye cancelled, Port will be thrilled they got a rest in any way.
Brisbane (142) v Collingwood (57)
Look, I appreciate Carlton and Collingwood try and cheer us all up in these difficult times, but…
Actually there is no but. It made for a lovely Sunday.
Collingwood looked like a team who have finished their season but are contractually obligated to show up.
Their demeanour was much like mine being dragged to a dinner party, I’m there because I have to be, but that doesn’t mean I’m putting in any effort while I’m there.
The Lions did want to be there and realised in the second quarter that here presented a great opportunity to really get that percentage up.
Playing a bad team covers a multitude of sins, and all the Lions recent problems seemed far away.
Their forward line worked, their midfield focused on looking after their SuperCoach owners, and their defence could relax, knowing they were playing Collingwood.
North Melbourne (77) v Sydney (91)
Despite North’s late-season improvement, they have secured the wooden spoon, their first since 1972.
I’m highly critical of them here, I don’t think they’ve achieved the wooden spoon in the spirit in which it meant.
They kept trying to get better all year and even worked hard in this game.
There are teams higher up on the ladder who gave up much more than North ever did this season.
No wonder people want to move them to Tasmania. Any club that refuses to half-ass it should be moved interstate immediately.
Although, I think the way the mainland is going at the moment, the most likely scenario is every AFL side will move to Tasmania. They’ll go from having no team to 18 teams.
Sydney obviously sensed the pre-finals bye was a no starter, so rested Buddy Franklin, and getting this win made that a good idea.
Although the Swans are 4-1 without Franklin this season, so it’s obvious they just don’t need him, and shouldn’t play him again this season, especially if they meet Melbourne in the Finals.
Melbourne (104) v Adelaide (63)
There’s been a fair bit of talk about Dees fans not being able to see their team play in a Grand Final this year, which is so far getting ahead of ourselves it makes me shudder every time someone says it.
As much as I’d like to believe this, I don’t think Covid-19 arose just to ruin Melbourne supporters’ lives.
We didn’t need any help.
I’d take just going to a footy game right now, forget a Grand Final. I’d like to be around people, to hear the nonsense footy debates that are so fun.
All things considered, I’ve come around to the view that a global pandemic is a bad thing and frankly, I could do without them.
I’d like it to be over.
It’s why when I see people breaking the rules, having parties with more than 60 people, I get so angry.
I get angry on two levels. The first is the threat to public health, the second, that some people have 60-plus friends. It seems excessive.
I have so few friends that people I don’t even know that well contact me just to clarify that we are not friends. They do this pre-emptively before I’ve even begun to think of them as a friend.
That all said, I’d take a Melbourne premiership even without a crowd, because I figure, us Dees supporters can’t really be too choosy at this point.
If that does happen, I’d love to go on and then win some more with fans there.
I’d love to have an era. It looks like fun.
Oh, I haven’t mentioned the Crows. Probably for the best.
Gold Coast (30) v Essendon (98)
If Essendon beat Collingwood next week, they almost certainly play finals.
So, who do you barrack for?
Collingwood, because the great evil is Essendon being in the finals?
Maybe, but barracking for Collingwood doesn’t feel right.
This is like Sophie’s Choice but worse.
Based on this game, the Bombers should make the finals. They dominated the Suns who looked tired, except for Touk Miller who has had one of the great seasons.
But even he couldn’t drag his team up to Essendon’s level, with Darcy Parish and Zach Merrett running amok.
Everyone’s favourite player, Jake Stringer, kicked five, while Sam Draper dominated in the ruck.
A resurgent Essendon does give me one reason to like the lockdown, you don’t have to see their fans at work.
Fremantle (79) v West Coast (64)
No one beats Fremantle seven years in a row.
Winning the Western Derby was made all the sweeter when it put a significant dent in the Eagles chances of playing finals.
That said, I reckon the Dockers did West Coast a favour there, like stopping a kitten from wandering into traffic.
It’s disappointing for the rest of the eight who would have loved coming up against the Eagles in the Finals.
West Coast came back in the second half, but with no lighting strikes, the final quarter was just too short for them to get the job done.
Both teams can technically make the finals, but it seems unlikely. This means we could see a finals series mainly played in Western Australia but with no Western Australian teams.
That makes a lot of sense in these strange times.
I hope you’re all hanging in there. I’d offer some words of wisdom, but I don’t really have any.
Perhaps set your expectations even lower?
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