Aug 10, 2021
The Tuesday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Twenty One
On a Tuesday, 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 (65) v Greater Western Sydney (84)
Hello everyone, those not in lockdown, those still in lockdown, those back in lockdown, those just out of lockdown and those that are not really sure anymore if they’re in lockdown but are just staying home anyway.
I hope you’re all doing well. As a veteran now of six lockdowns, I’ve learnt the one trick is to just get through each day.
Sure, achieving things is a nice concept but I call that a stretch target in lockdown. Crying is good. Staring at the wall for a few hours is perfectly normal. Going down a rabbit hole on the internet on 80s sitcoms is a productive use of your time.
I set myself a target of watching about 18 hours of sport a day, and I’ve found this is a target I can hit more often than not, but I warn you, I’ve had years of practice to get to that point.
Recently, we had both the Olympics and the footy, meaning if you’re like me you had sport on the TV, the iPad, the computer and your phone.
My eyes are so tired.
For this match, I had it on the phone, expecting Geelong to win easily, but it progressively went onto the iPad, then the computer and ended up on the TV.
Toby Greene was the main difference between the teams, turning in a peak Toby Greene performance, which means kicking four goals and being suspended for two matches for elbowing Patrick Dangerfield in the throat.
Some say Greene gets heavier penalties just because he’s Toby Greene, but they say that like it’s somehow unreasonable. Greene has made his bed.
What is not ok is others don’t get suspended because of who they are.
Buddy Franklin got off the other week and this week Joel Selwood got just a fine for a high bump on Sam Taylor.
The difference is, when Selwood acts like a thug, he’s being ‘brave’. In fact, it was the most courageous running past the ball and collecting a guy in the head who’s not expecting it I’ve ever seen.
Carlton (57) v Gold Coast (76)
After this loss there were media claims David Teague had been sacked, a claim Carlton denies.
I think the media just got the timing wrong, David Teague hasn’t been sacked yet.
It’s ok, we’ve all gone early before.
Really, the question is, how long will we have to go through the charade that Teague is going to be at Carlton next year?
Last week, the Suns could barely get their hands on the ball, and when they did, they seemed confused about what the strange object in their hands was.
Considering that, I would have thought even Carlton couldn’t lose to the Suns, but I’d forgotten there’s no expectation the Blues can’t limbo under.
The Suns were much improved on last week, but it helps when your opponents don’t seem to really have much of a plan, and don’t even seem that committed to whatever that is.
Teague shouldn’t feel that bad, better coaches than him have been destroyed by Carlton.
Richmond (89) v North Melbourne (56)
The first half of this seemed to add to the story of the rapid decline of the Richmond Football Club.
Down by 20 points at halftime, there was no indication the Tigers were about to turn this around.
At this point, I would have stuck a fork in them because they seemed done, which would have made it awkward when they stood up pulled that fork out and confronted me with it.
The third quarter saw the Tigers pour on seven goals to North’s two, as Richmond realised letting the North have as many possessions as they wanted wasn’t going to work for them.
The other positive for the Tigers was the debut of Maurice Rioli Jnr. There must be fewer people in the Rioli family who haven’t played AFL than have.
Adelaide (51) v Port Adelaide (55)
It’s hard to talk about Adelaide’s game without mentioning Tex Walker’s suspension for a racial slur.
In fairness, to Tex, we’re all learning.
We’ve only had Eddie Betts having a banana thrown at him and multiple social media incidents, the Do Better report, Adam Goodes suffering multiple racism incidents before being booed out of the game, Nic Naitanui being racially abused on Twitter, both Majak Daw and Buddy Franklin being racially abused by spectators, Justin Sherman being racially vilified by a Gold Coast Suns opponent, Peter Everitt racially abusing Melbourne's Scott Chisholm and Nicky Winmar standing up to racist abuse at Victoria Park all the way back in 1993.
So how could he know?
Luckily, based on the rather inconclusive list above, I’ve got every bit of faith the AFL are going to send a strong message. After all, they’ve drawn a line in the sand about no tolerance for racism before. In fact, they’ve drawn so may lines they could be Picasso.
Walker has since released a video with Robbie Young where he apologises. It has all the enthusiasm of a hostage video.
One thing I would note, is again an indigenous person, this time Robbie Young, has to be the one to take the higher road, even though that must be exhausting by now.
And Tex did admit his comment was racism, no qualifiers, which quite a few AFL types have failed to do in the past and continue to this day to offer nothing but excuses and qualifiers.
But there are no winners in these things, only losers.
St Kilda (93) v Sydney (64)
Another example of the Saints frustrating their fans, by losing to Carlton last week, then producing this against the Swans.
What was lacking last week, pressure, was here in spades, and the Swans, who have been on the road for weeks, looked as tired as we all feel these days.
The Swans can blame the slow vaccine rollout for their woes, as all of us can.
Jack Higgins got some vindication, last time they played he booted 1.6 in a loss, but this time he kicked 4.1. I’m no statistical genius but that seems better.
The Saints now need to beat Geelong and Fremantle for any chance of playing finals, so they won’t be playing finals.
Sydney now seems unlikely to finish in the top four, but given they weren’t going to get a home final, that’s not the end of the world.
In fact, no one may get a home final when they’re all played in Tasmania.
Hawthorn (97) v Collingwood (78)
Alastair Clarkson seems intent on ensuring Hawthorn regret letting him go, but if I can offer some solace to Hawks supporters, they’ve managed to hold on to Jeff Kennett.
I know who I’d prefer.
Oh, it’s not Jeff.
The Hawks set this up early, and despite some attempts by the Pies to get back in the game, they had too many players who are just not that good.
Not being very good is perhaps the biggest factor in preventing you from having a long AFL career, although there are some glaring exceptions.
The Pies need for a new coach was highlighted when Clarkson started doing some coaching things, like denying the corridor to Collingwood, and the Pies coaching staff threw up their hands, looked at each other as if to say ‘well, there’s nothing we can do here.’
No wonder Pies fans would like to get Clarko, but he doesn’t get along with some of the top administrators at Collingwood, which means the Pies need to get rid of some administrators.
Tom Mitchell seems to be getting back to his peak, he had 44 disposals and eight clearances. Tom treats the ball like it’s his and seems offended that anyone else is even trying to get it.
Western Bulldogs (84) v Essendon (97)
Not an ideal weekend for Doggies supporters, who not only lost to the Bombers but lost Josh Bruce for the season with a ruptured ACL.
Footy is cruel. The Dogs looked the team most likely a week ago, and then this all goes down.
I can relate. I remember talking to a friend of mine in January 2020, and both of us, coming off tough 2019, said 2020 would be our year. We were slightly off on that prediction.
Bombers fans though are ecstatic, I know, several of them rang me just to tell me, even though I’ve asked them repeatedly not to.
It’s not that I’m anti-Essendon, it’s just when I discover my friends are happy, it makes me feel small.
It’s boring to say again but it’s almost impossible to contain Peter Wright, who had seven goals as he continues his very late charge for the Coleman.
Wright was certainly helped by the Bombers midfield that is quietly becoming one of the best in the league.
When will people wake up? Essendon might be good again. I don’t think I can handle climate change, covid and Essendon being good.
Fremantle (54) v Brisbane (118)
Brisbane needed a win, and thanks to the Dockers they got one.
To break this game down is simple. Fremantle didn’t wear their retro jumper and so they lost.
Sure, other pundits might point to Brisbane’s superior pressure, their tackling, Dayne Zorko’s midfield dominance, Joe Daniher’s four goals and the Lions’ spread of goalkickers.
But they’re wrong.
It all comes down to clothing. The Dockers retro jumper had character.
“But Titus, Fremantle lost in that jumper all the time when they used to wear it.”
To this I say, “how dare you bring logic into this safe space.”
West Coast (63) v Melbourne (72)
After a dominant third quarter by the Dees, the fourth quarter saw this game delayed due to lightning.
In my day it was an honour to be struck by lightning while playing for your team. But footy has gone soft.
No longer are players willing to risk being struck by 1.21 gigawatts.
While we all waited for the lightning to clear, we were lucky to have the Channel Seven commentary team provide us with their meteorological thoughts.
Like “how do you know the lightning won’t come back” and “this has never happened before,” only for social media to point out the numerous times it has happened before.
Then they went from “This has never happened before,” to “what if this happened during a cracking preliminary final?”
Suddenly, the Channel Seven team saw the whole competition under threat from the magic sky electricity.
When the game restarted after a 29-minute break, the Dees momentum had gone, and the Eagles had used the break to realise if they try, they can be quite good.
It led to a tight finish as Dees supporters cursed the weather gods, while Eagles supporters wondered why their team hadn’t played like this before the break.
In the end though, Melbourne managed to hold on, no one got superpowers after being struck by lightning and I got to bed way later than normal, which is a problem because in lockdown, I had a whole lot of nothing to do today.
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