Aug 01, 2022
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Twenty
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.
Fremantle (39) v Melbourne (85)
The game got off to a fiery start when a Dockers fan showed Jake Melksham a Fremantle jumper with Luke Jackson’s number on it.
Melksham promptly grabbed it and threw it on the ground, as easily as the Dees then took care of the Dockers.
It showed that while Dockers fans were up for a fight, the players were not, as Melbourne controlled the entire game with the ease of tackling a green run at Mt Buller.
For Demons fans, it was everything they could have hoped for. The intensity was back, the whole team defence and Bailey Fritsch doing Fritsch things.
Dockers fans would be less happy, watching their retro jumper deliver a retro performance.
In hindsight, Justin Longmuir will probably regret not playing Matt Taberner and Rory Lobb, with the Dockers looking thoroughly disinterested in kicking goals.
He would also be upset that his team handles rain about as well as suede does, the material, not the 90s, UK band.
It all sets up a huge Friday night clash between Melbourne and Collingwood. I haven’t been this excited for one of those clashes since the 1960s.
Collingwood (88) v Port Adelaide (82)
Collingwood does two things, win and rapidly age their fans.
If you were in your early 40s at the start of this season, as a Pies fan, you are now eighty.
The weekly heart check that is watching the Magpies occurs no matter who they are playing or whether they are in front or coming from behind.
Against Port, it was close again, but in terms of recent results, this didn’t feel that close.
Port’s season is now certainly over. The fans are frustrated, with a “Sack Hinkley” poster put up near the club’s headquarters, which Hinkley wasn’t thrilled with, saying it crossed the line.
Personally, I thought it wasn’t that big a deal, we’re just used to calls to sack people being written by journalists.
Plus, it’s hardly ‘dump a truckload of manure outside the club’ levels of angry.
It’s going to be awkward when the footage of David Koch putting up the sign is discovered.
Sydney (112) v Greater Western Sydney (39)
Mark McVeigh’s gave his players a massive spray on the weekend in the post-match press conference, labelling the performance embarrassing and accusing some players of ‘checking out’.
The message was ‘I’m not disappointed, I’m angry’. I’m very familiar with that tone.
It was a masterful performance that will probably ensure players leave and McVeigh won’t coach next year. To be fair, though, that was probably going to happen anyway.
As someone who unfortunately watched this game, it was obvious many of the Giants had checked out.
The Giants put in a solid opening 20 minutes, then decided that was enough and just chilled out.
The Swans decided this presented the perfect opportunity to boost their percentage and feasted like a bunch of kids at the Pizza Hut all-you-can-eat dessert bar in the 90s.
With Brisbane losing, this was a great win for the Swans, and their percentage is now significantly higher than Collingwood who sit above them.
They also get North next week, who, unlike the Giants, never checked in at all this season.
St Kilda (75) v Hawthorn (63)
Only St Kilda could win a game that puts them back in the eight and leave you with less confidence in them.
Being St Kilda, they got out to a 44-point lead and then decided that this was too relaxing for Saints fans, so they let the Hawks boot eight of the last ten goals.
If St Kilda was a friend, it would be the crazy one that made every situation much harder than it needed to be.
They’d be the friend trying to organise a lift even though they’re on the other side of the city, and when you got there, they’re not ready, then they insist on going to someone else’s house to pick up something, and you find out it’s not ‘just around the corner’ but 45 minutes away, and they’re not picking up anything urgent, just a jumper they left there six months ago, and now you’re late for your thing, and it’s an hour drive to get there, and St Kilda acts like they can’t understand why you are upset.
If Hawthorn were a friend, well, they wouldn’t be; it’s Hawthorn.
But in fairness, they never give up. They have the tenacity of a grifter trying to get into an old lady’s will.
They could have gone quietly in this one, they had nothing on the line, but they remembered they were playing the Saints and gave it a real crack.
Geelong (94) v Western Bulldogs (66)
The Bulldogs started off well, booting the first four goals, and were looking good until the third quarter, when the Cats destroyed them like a kid kicking over a sandcastle.
While the loss sees the Bulldogs drop to tenth spot, it was the ease with which the Cats, celebrating Joel Selwood’s 350th game, swept them aside that would please Cats fans.
With ten wins in a row and sitting in top spot, I’m just thrilled Selwood will finally get an opportunity to play finals again. He’s only played in 37 of them.
There were two key mistakes the Doggies made after halftime.
The first was they let the Cats score lots of goals. The second mistake was they forgot to kick goals themselves.
So infrequently did the ball visit their forward line in the second half that you could have grazed sheep in there, and the game wouldn’t have been any different. In fact, a bunch of sheep may have offered better forward targets and moved about more that the Doggies forward line.
Adelaide (84) v Carlton (55)
Carlton lost to the Crows for one reason and one reason only, they were wearing their white away jumper.
“But Carlton can lose in any jumper!” I hear you cry, and this is true, but that’s logic and how dare you try to shoehorn that into this column.
Every Blues fan knows that white jumper is a one-way ticket to a loss.
You could blame injuries, with Corey Durdin, Nic Newman and Matthew Kennedy all going off injured, but I would argue they wouldn’t have got injured if they weren’t in the white jumper.
It leaves the Blues in a position where they could possibly miss finals, although even for them, that would take some stuffing up from here.
Adelaide fans don’t have to worry about such things, they never looked like playing finals, but it’s nice to see them get a win again. Their last win was over North back in June.
Darcy Fogarty provided a lot of highlights up forward for the Crows and had Dwayne Russell describe him as ‘one of the best sharpshooters the competition has ever seen.’
That’s not like Dwayne to stray into hyperbole.
Gold Coast (107) v West Coast (104)
The Suns finals chances are peaking out behind the clouds but only just, given they made defeating West Coast look like climbing Mt Everest when really, it’s a walk to the corner milk bar.
The Suns kept getting in front by substantial margins, only for the Eagles to come back every time, no matter how implausible it seemed. It felt like I was watching Jaws 3.
What wasn’t on display was anything resembling defending as both sides found scoring opportunities every time they went forward.
The only thing that stopped either side from scoring was usually their own mistakes, of which there were plenty.
One minute someone would be taking an amazing mark; the next would see someone miss a one-meter handball while under no pressure.
It was one of those games you’ll never think about again, unlike the next game.
Richmond (104) v Brisbane (97)
With the Lions up by 42 points during the second quarter, it seemed that Richmond fans would not have to endure another close game, and that the Lions had finally got a win at the MCG.
A few quarters later and neither of those things were true, as Brisbane broke down like a Russian car.
The cause of that breakdown was pressure, as Richmond ramped things up to 11 and Shai Bolton and Tom Lynch got going.
It was old-school Tigers, and by old school, I mean a couple of years ago, not old-school, old-school, when Richmond lost everything.
And not old-school, old school, old-school when they won heaps of things.
With the Tigers surging home, it seemed that the Tigers may have another crushing loss, but it was Darcy Gardiner who this time did something silly, and the Tigers sealed a famous victory.
It leaves Brisbane looking about as threatening as a boy band. When the pressure was on, it was like watching an episode of Hunted, with most of the Lions key players doing a cracking job of hiding.
Essendon (114) v North Melbourne (66)
Not sure anyone saw this. It was a game involving the Essendon Football Club and the North Melbourne Football Club.
Essendon won by quite a bit and it was boring.
The result didn’t really matter in any meaningful way.
I watched it but only because I knew I’d have to produce an insightful, detailed review of the game.
And I have, sort of.
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