Sep 15, 2019
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Semi Finals
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.
Geelong (88) v West Coast (68)
Geelong were desperate to change their record in finals but interfering with Willie Rioli’s drug test seemed excessive.
Still, the results, or the lack of, speak for themselves.
The Cats came out swinging in the words and actions of Tom Hawkins, who decided decking Will Schofield was a good move a week out from the Preliminary final.
It was silly and now Tom will miss the Cats’ loss to Richmond.
Apart from that, Geelong recaptured some of their early season form that saw them leap to the top of the ladder and pretty much stay there despite their late season wobbles.
West Coast seemed distracted early on, with Jack Darling fumbling an easy mark like he’d never played footy before, as did Jeremy McGovern. If a quarter had theme music, the Eagles’ would have been the Curb Your Enthusiasm theme.
By the second quarter the Eagles seemed to remember how to play footy and for the middle two quarters actually looked like running over the Cats.
Geelong to their full credit decided not to bottle this one, and their fourth quarter was so dominant it made it seem like the Eagles had decided to leave early to catch their flight.
The game was the perfect summation of West Coast’s season. Half the time they appeared the dominant reigning premiers they are; the rest of the time they made you wonder how they ever won a premiership.
As for Geelong, they were helped by Joel Selwood turning in a vintage performance with 26 disposals, numerous high free kicks, a goal and facial bleeding.
It was needed, with Patrick Dangerfield missing the game.
Brisbane (80) v Greater Western Sydney (83)
Leon Cameron should send the AFL Tribunal the biggest bunch of flowers money can buy.
Their decision to fine Toby Greene for trying to tear out Marcus Bontempelli’s eyes, rather than suspend him, turned out to be the massive favour everyone knew at the time it was.
Greene finished with 30 disposals and kicked two goals, while also appearing to put his hand in Lachie Neale’s eyes.
For that, he should be suspended, for pure stupidity if nothing else.
The Giants, who have meekly gone out of the finals in the past, have obviously decided to take a page from the unsociable Hawks playbook, spending the night niggling their opponents.
Adam Kennedy and Heath Shaw spent time focusing on Charlie Cameron's injured elbow and Aidan Corr's shot to Jarrod Berry's head wasn’t a good look.
Brisbane didn’t back away either, with Nick Robertson giving Lachie Whitfield’s sore back a gentle massage that weirdly didn’t seem to be appreciated.
The constant niggle threatened to spin out of control regularly, and the umpires responded by acting like they were being paid for each free kick they awarded.
This was probably the first game of the Finals that felt like a final. Both teams through everything at it with no thought of tomorrow. It was physical, with moments of great skill and drama.
It could have gone either way, but the Giants seemed to have learnt from their mistakes in previous finals campaigns. They had the steel when it mattered, and the legalisation of eye gouging to thank.
After the game Luke Hodge announced his retirement. Hodge has had the footy career everyone dreams of, except for all those Hawthorn premierships.
Titus is touring around the country in the upcoming months, visiting Hobart and Brisbane. Tickets available here: http://www.frontiercomedy.com/titusoreily
Titus’ new book Please, Gamble Irresponsibly: The rise, fall and rise of sports gambling in Australia will be out on 5th November 2019. You can pre-order it now.