Aug 02, 2021


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.


St Kilda (81) v Carlton (112)

Life is full of mysteries, like the fact Carlton is still in the conversation for finals. Granted, it would be a pretty wide-ranging discussion but they're still there.

And thanks to Carlton, St Kilda are not in that discussion, their late-season flurry knocked on the head in this one.

This game underlined the frustration of Blues fans. How can a team that can play so well, has some excellent young talent yet phones in so many ordinary performances, then produce this?

It so often seems to be what mood the team is in, leading to that age-old question, how do you get them in the mood?

There were other positives for the Blues beyond the four points, Charlie Curnow’s return being the main one.

He hadn’t played in more than two years, which is a long time, but given the covid pandemic occurred in that period, it feels like he hasn’t played for two decades.

For St Kilda, this flat, lifeless performance really underlined their problems this year. It was a typical Saints season, start with hope, crush that, build up a bit of hope again, then lose to Carlton.

Saints supporters have seen this more than I’ve seen the Back to the Future Trilogy.


Western Bulldogs (105) v Adelaide (56)

The Crows travelled to Ballarat and based on this performance; they would have been better off visiting the local sights than turning up to this.

And there’s a lot to see in Ballarat. My favourite is Kryal Castle, a replica medieval castle built in 1975.

It’s gone through a few owners over the years, it turns out a replica medieval castle is not the massive money-spinner you’d expect. There was even talk a few years ago of turning it into a medieval-style brothel, but it never happened.

Talk about an opportunity missed. It would have stayed open in lockdown then.

For the Crows it’s probably lucky it didn’t happen, given based on this performance, they would be unable to organise use of its facilities.

The Doggies however have no time for faux-medieval infrastructure. They are on their way to the finals and their premiership window is more open than a 7-11.

North Melbourne (42) v Geelong (62)

While it was a loss, if you’re a North supporter, you’d have to be happy with the general trend line of the Kangaroos this season.

It’s gone from ‘let’s move them to Tasmania’, to ‘actually, these guys have quite the future.’

Against Geelong, a premiership favourite, they made life more difficult than changing border closures.

A highlight for me was Atu Bosenavulagi getting his first AFL goal. I wish him a long career, mainly for the joy he will bring me as I listen to AFL commentators struggle to pronounce his name. It’s going to be glorious.

Geelong may have had to work hard, but they just had that extra level of class.

A big reason for the win was the Guthrie Brothers which sounds like a seminal seventies band.

Collingwood (90) v West Coast (45)

West Coast showed real solidarity with those teams who had their games postponed on Saturday, refusing to play the first half.

While the sentiment was appreciated, Eagles fans would have preferred the Eagles had played that first half, it would have made this a close game.

After a few good weeks, the Eagles players appeared keen to show their terrible performances this year were not a blip.

The only interesting thing to do while watching them is working out which players won’t be there next year.

I feel for Nic Naitanui, it’s like watching Eddie Vedder having to perform on The Voice.

Collingwood have shown a significant amount of improvement under Robert Harvey in terms of their ball use. Harvey has blown the dust of the attacking manual and even opened it.

While he may not have yet done enough to have secured a permanent gig, at least there’s some hope on the field, even if there’s less off it.


Gold Coast (30) v Melbourne (128)

It appears sending Melbourne on a pointless flight the day before the game worked wonders.

While it appears the Dees have sorted out their scoring problems, the caveat is they did it against a side that was so poor a suburban D-grade team could have probably kicked a big score.

Credit where it’s due for Melbourne, their pressure was excellent all day, and this level of ruthlessness is something they’ve lacked this season.

As for Gold Coast, well, where to start?

There were multiple moments where Suns players got the ball with no pressure on them, only to seem genuinely perplexed as to what they should do with it.

If there was a gold medal for raising the white flag, the Suns would have won it in world record time.

Even as a Melbourne supporter who has seen some things over my lifetime, I was shocked at this performance from the Suns.

Hawthorn (92) v Brisbane (80)

To say Hawthorn had a bad week off the field would be underselling it slightly.

Winning this match seems to just underline the weirdness of Hawthorn’s handling of Alastair Clarkson.

Jeff Kennett may have won his long battle with Clarko over who the alpha of the club is, but Clarkson wins premierships, which is kind of the entire point of the whole enterprise.

If we needed reminding, he is a very good coach, this game certainly provided it.

The Hawks went out hard early, and for three quarters, they just outworked the Lions, who seemed surprised the four points weren’t theirs just by showing up.

By the fourth quarter, when the penny dropped, that they might need to work for it, it was too late, the horse had bolted, a feeling some in the Hawthorn hierarchy might be feeling this week.

For the Lions, this was a terrible loss, given the week Hawthorn had, and the fact the Lions are meant to be premiership contenders.

Being 53 points down to Hawthorn is not the sort of form you want to carry into the rest of the season.

Essendon (102) v Sydney (109)

Now this was a game. A shootout that was incredibly entertaining, especially if you were a neutral observer.

It was like two boxers slugging it out with little thought for defence.

The 12 goals third quarter was insane, if you blinked you missed a goal. It was the sort of free-flowing stuff the AFL dreams about and coaches seek to avoid.

For the Swans, Tom Papley kept working his magic up forward, only for Essendon’s Jake Stringer to create moments of brilliance for Essendon.

I kept waiting for the Bombers to drop away, but they kept hanging in there.

In the end, the Swans probably deserved it, but as an advertisement for the game, it doesn’t get much better.

Fremantle (55) v Richmond (51)

It’s a good time to be a Dockers supporter.

To start with, they looked amazing in their retro jumpers. I know their current design is more classy, more modern, but wow those old jumpers are sensational.

Just a riot of colours, a party happening in your eye that screams ‘graphic design is my passion.’

Secondly, they beat the reigning premiers to enter the eight, with the Giants unable to win on the weekend.

It was a great team effort (with no Nat Fyfe), but you must give a lot of credit to Andrew Brayshaw, who had 39 disposals and more importantly, cleared the ball twice from their defence in the last 20 seconds when the Tigers were coming.

He was just determined to not lose, and unlike most of us, has the talent to make that happen.

Richmond doesn’t look like making finals now. They came back hard but are nowhere near the ridiculously high level they’ve existed at in recent years.

Obviously, they need a boost. Perhaps they could get the Focus on Football board ticket to challenge again?  

Greater Western Sydney (73) v Port Adelaide (100)

It says a lot about the fluid nature of the season, when the Giants have a home game in Queensland moved to Melbourne.

Things didn’t get much better for them on the field with Phil Davis going off with a neck injury and Jacob Hopper being stretchered off after being kicked in the head while attempting a smother.

This is the tough thing about doing the one-percenters, they often really, really hurt.

Down two men didn’t make this any easier, especially when the good Port Adelaide showed up.

The Power have now won three in a row and a top-four finish is well in reach, especially given they’ve got Adelaide this week, possibly in Adelaide.

For the Giants, this puts a real dent in their finals hopes. There’s still a chance but they’ve lost three of their last five and watching them play just further reinforced what a bad idea a wildcard finals round is.

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The g train

Aug 02, 2021

Titus predicted 4 weeks ago that StK would go “all the way” this season. It’s not clear what this actually means, but we all know that since that precise moment of such a bold declaration, StK have utterly and completely trainwrecked. Think about it…

With respect, Titus—but when you pen “but Clarkson wins premierships, which is kind of the entire point of the whole enterprise”—it’s shows you have really missed the point of the whole enterprise. This logic implies the existence of StK is (almost) pointless. Which is clearly absurd. Or is inflicting unlimited pain and despair and suffering and false hope pointless? Hardly…

The Ho Brothers (Brayden, Brody and Brock)

Aug 02, 2021

If he predicted StK would go all the way, he was wise not to predict in which direction.


Aug 02, 2021

I'm sure they will come up with a shortened name for Atu Bosenavulagi just like they came up with "Dipper" for Robert Dipierdomenico (whose first name is actually Berto). Perhaps a competition held to come up with a name? First Prize: dinner with Brian Taylor?


Aug 02, 2021

Second prize two dinners with BT?

Across the Face

Aug 02, 2021

If I won that competition and had dinner with BT, the first thing I'd do is remind him not to get any food on the walls.

Neon Meate

Aug 02, 2021

As a Carlton supporter I don't at all regret watching The Matildas play Great Britain instead. I've found it is best to just ignore the actual AFL games and just to wish misfortune on all remaining board members from 2012.

Ridgy Didge True Blue

Aug 02, 2021

I felt that Carlton had treated Brett Ratten very badly when they replaced him as coach with Mick Malthouse, who just seemed to want to get the number of games he coached up to a target rather than win anything. But that was team management, not the players, and it was years ago so the Blues didn't do the Saints any favours. Even if they'd wanted to give them a win they'd almost have had to fall over whenever the ball got near them or stay in the changing rooms to give them a chance the Saints were that bad. Unfortunately the lack of competition made the Blues look pretty damned good and raised my hopes of a win against the Suns next week and the Giants and a push towards the finals.....I expect they'll be dashed yet again, probably by Port Adelaide?

Tarax Club

Aug 02, 2021

Flight VA9009 has now been upgraded in MFC annals as the 'Reality Jet'. Mark Neeld's infamous bus finally blew out a couple retreads up in Cairns last season and rightly was left at the side of the road for the local wreckers to pick up. Whatever transpired on the last day of July has transfused the Demons' season. Heading south over the alps lead to an invigorated team performance, first of the month. Meanwhile the Suns were thrown under the bus on the way to the tarmac and barely provided witches hats on arrival at marvel. Karma is having puppies.

Wendy Cowling

Aug 02, 2021

Ah-too Bow-senna-voo-langi

The last part of Atu's name means guest/visitor. Lagi = heaven

Have never forgotten the mess RL commentators made of the name of the Tongan RL player Viliami (Vill-ee-ahmee/ William) Ofahengaue (pron. offa-hay-nah-way).


Aug 02, 2021

If Kyral castle was built in 1975 then I must have visited a ghost castle in 1974.However your comment about sight seeing instead of attempting to play footy is spot on.Unfortunatly.


Aug 02, 2021

Big fella I am not getting too carried away with the demons huge win over the surfer boys. I mean I watched them very closely and they have hit rock bottom AND then started to DIG deeper. A win is a win and next in line are the West coast sparrows . At least that is how they play away from the retard filled craypot in Perth. Get back on the mighty DEES wagon and ENJOY the ride GO DEES ..


Aug 02, 2021

Charlie Curnow has been in the wilderness for so long he should change his name to Moses and do his next contract on stone tablets

The Illusionist

Aug 02, 2021

But if Charlie Curnow could part the vast sea of Carlton’s mediocrity, allowing them to contend once again—that would give the team a lot of confidence (apologies to the coodabeens).


Aug 02, 2021

We should start calling Clarkson 'Bambino'. Red Sox fans will understand, particularly if he goes to Collingwood and they become a powerhouse.


Aug 02, 2021

'Obviously, they need a boost. Perhaps they could get the Focus on Football board ticket to challenge again? '

Nah, I hear that there is this great outfit of ex special forces types who can play USA, USA, USA chants non stop in darkened rooms to remind them how they missed a 4-peat. Should stand them in good stead for years.


Aug 02, 2021

Is there a conspiracy for bt jb and richo to commentary every doggies game ? Pity they didn’t go to Ballarat and froze!


Aug 02, 2021

Melbourne showed that the West Coast / Freo complaints about the impact of flights to be a myth
Or if it’s real they may have won by 200 points


Aug 02, 2021

Stoney. Your comment may be accurate but your terminology is disturbing.

Daniel B

Aug 02, 2021

I couldn't tell whether you were being sarcastic about Fremantle's jumpers. I, for one, loved the old design, but then maybe it had more to do with the on-field performances that went with it.


Aug 03, 2021

Stoney, beware of the wokeists. They are sad. Go Dogs!

Running Dog

Aug 03, 2021

"A big reason for the win was the Guthrie Brothers which sounds like a seminal seventies band."

Speaking of seminal seventies bands, why, just the other day I was reminiscing with George Clinton about how Cam Guthrie looks like he could have played with the Average White Band. He certainly knows how to pick up the pieces.