The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Nine  | Titus O'Reily

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The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Nine 

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.

Adelaide (63) v Western Bulldogs (26)

The rain came down, and so did the skill level. 

Not for Eddie Betts though, because he’s some sort of footy god who is not affected by physics.

This was apparent early on, as walking on water in the pocket, he slotted a freakish set shot that had the poncho-clad crowd on its feet.

Give this was being played in a biblical flood, the Bulldogs adjusted their game plan to include as much handballing as possible. 

No, you’re right, it was odd and didn’t work. 

In fact, it resulted in just two goals for the whole game and the umpires could put their hands up for at least one of them.

One of them came from the idiotic slide rule that the AFL put in place a while ago with the amount of thought you’d expect from them. 

Add to that 14 behinds, and this was a night Bulldogs fans would like to forget.

Crows fans would be thrilled with the whole evening. They had about three fit players, and even one of their water carriers pulled a hammy during this, and they still won comfortably.

They also got through with no players injured, a miracle up there with anything in the bible.

North Melbourne (112) v Greater Western Sydney (69)

Guys, we shouldn’t have said all those mean things about North Melbourne at the start of the season because they are very angry and taking it out on other teams.

Being in Tasmania, there was about a four-goal wind, but despite having it in the last quarter, the Giants surrendered faster than I gave up on my hopes and dreams.

The Giants started off competitive but then Ben Brown decided he’d had enough of them and booted all of his five goals in one quarter. 

He just broke them. It was something to see.

You could argue the Giants were already broken, all the injuries and a seeming resignation amongst the rest of the group that this season is slipping through their fingers.

GWS now sit 11thon the ladder and the possibility of them missing finals altogether is a live one. 

Leon Cameron said after the loss, "Clearly, we've been struggling the last three weeks to play a brand of footy that's accepted."

No, I don’t know what that means either.

Gold Coast (42) v Port Adelaide (82)

There are 1.4 billion Chinese people on the planet, and at least seven of them were at this game.

Apparently, 10,689 people turned up, but once again many of them seemed to be in the marquee drinking and eating. It must be a massive marquee.

Having watched the game, I can’t fault them for staying inside and getting written off.

The Suns were determined not to be as embarrassing as last year, and you could argue they achieved this but not by much.

Instead, the Power ground out a boring win in the rain, in a display unlikely to convert the Chinese people to the Australian game.

Is the Chinese experiment going to work? To me, it all depends on what the aims are. 

To help Port get new sponsorship opportunities? Well, in that case, it’s already working.

To create diplomatic and business opportunities? That seems to be working too.

But to win over the Chinese to our game? This seems a bit more far-fetched. 

I’ve got no problem with the exercise if the aims are clearly defined as a business and diplomatic platform that brings in corporate dollars and helps the AFL ingratiate itself with the Federal and State governments. 

What is annoying is when it’s portrayed as some great new market for the game while Tasmania is struggling, NSW is in no way secured, and Queensland is still a basket case.

I will, of course, change my tune if I can get in on this junket.

Essendon (84) v Geelong (50)

So, it was all Mark Neeld’s fault.

That’s probably an oversimplification, but it certainly works in my rather biased worldview.

It’s Geelong we should all be angry with. Watching the Bombers implode was one of life’s great joys, and the Cats took that away from us.

Not only that, they made Bombers fans feel amazing. 

And Essendon didn’t just win, they beat the Cats into the ground and didn’t stop until they were six feet under.

Bombers fans would have loved this but at the same time wondered where all this effort has been in recent times. If you can play this well, how can you also turn in performances like the one against Carlton? 

What can you say about Geelong? They make no sense at all. 

They’ve got stars, they’ve unearthed some new talent this season, and yet they can start as badly as anyone, and seemed to have no interest when this got hot.

Geelong fans watched on as the Bombers increasing got on top like children who had accidentally found the movie Saw on Netflix.

The Cats play Carlton next week in Geelong, the battle of the two most disappointing teams of this round.

Sydney (111) v Fremantle (52)

Such was my desire to not watch the Royal Wedding, that I persisted with this and the St Kilda-Collingwood game even though they were both awful.

Does this make me a hero? Probably.

Fremantle’s inability to put together winning scores is something you’d think they’d have had a go at fixing over the years but here we still are, watching them only just creep over a half-century.

They say defence wins premierships and that seems to be true, it’s just Fremantle’s attack make every team’s defence look like a premiership one.

The delivery into the forward line by the Dockers in this game was so poor they would have got one star on UberEats.

Even when the Dockers were dominating in the middle for long periods of this game, the Swans didn’t look troubled, they just shut them down in defence and rebounded forward to score.

Buddy Franklin returned to boot three and looked in good touch. His one moment of worry was when he elbowed Joel Hamling, who missed the second half with a concussion as a result.

At the very least, he’ll be in trouble for not sizing up Hamling’s height and weight.

St Kilda (72) v Collingwood (100)

It’s pretty apparent why Collingwood ignored Jordan De Goey’s lying, drinking driving and dog blaming, he’s very good at football.

De Goey’s six goals continued his rich vein of form, and even though they came against St Kilda, they were impressive.

Collingwood had little to worry about as the game progressed, their effort and skill level was light years ahead of the Saints, perhaps that’s the most damning thing you can say about St Kilda.

This being the Pies though, they couldn’t get through without some injury, and the newly returned Alex Fasolo, unfortunately, did injure his ankle, potentially seriously.

This was actually an interesting enough game in the first half, but in another case of inaccuracy, the Saints seemed to miss the entrance to the field after halftime, and I can only assume spent the entire second half wandering the back corridors of Etihad Stadium Spinal Tap-style.

I do wonder what St Kilda was doing when every other team was training for footy this offseason. 

Watching the Saints, it’s pretty obvious the players are just going through the motions. They seem just to want to get through the game as quickly as possible.

I can’t blame them, watching this I just wanted it to be over, and eventually, thankfully it was.

Carlton (50) v Melbourne (159)

Melbourne have been on the end of these results a lot but rarely the ones handing out this level of punishment.

Since the Kreuzer Cup, in 2007, these two teams have been in a fierce competition to see who can most ineptly put together a rebuild. 

It’s been a brutal exercise, with both finding new ways to break the hearts and minds of their fans. 

At different stages it’s seemed that one club has finally got its act together, only to spectacularly blow it all up.

Was this another one of those moments? It feels like the Demons’ rebuild is finally working. 

On Sunday, they destroyed Carlton after the first quarter with brutal ease that left Blues fans wondering why they do this to themselves.

Brendon Bolton at three-quarter time gave the Blues the sort of spray that is usually reserved for Russell Crowe towards hotel staff.

Remember when Bolton was all smiles and happy? As predicted, Carlton have fixed that.           

I can understand why I was genuinely shocked by how poor Carlton were. I know they’ve got a lot of outs, but the ease with which the Demons strolled out of defence to score was mind-blowing.

Is Melbourne’s rebuild that much better or is this just more of the back and forth between these two? 

The Demons have won four in a row, against Essendon, St Kilda, Gold Coast and now Carlton.

But they’ve been embarrassed by Hawthorn and Richmond. 

They play Adelaide in Alice Springs next week, where surely, we get a better sense of the Demons actual form.

Even if Melbourne isn’t quite as good as it currently seems, what is clear is the Blues are in a dark place, a place they’ve made their home for some time now.

Brisbane (129) v Hawthorn (73)

Brisbane have been threatening to break out at some point, but no one expected it to be quite like this.

Against the Hawks, all the pieces clicked, Hugh McCluggage had his best game ever, Zorko was back to his best, Eric Hipwood was hitting the scoreboard, Dayne Beams drove the team forward, and Charlie Cameron took a contender for mark of the year while booting two. 

The tone was set early, with the Lions taking a page out of the unsociable Hawks playbook when Cam Rayner pushed James Sicily to the ground and then Mitch Robinson ‘accidentally’ fell over Sicily, landing heavily on his head.

While the Hawks got out to a good lead early on, the Lions reeled them back and then shot past them, never to look back.

Watching this insipid performance was made worse for Hawks fans, given Luke Hodge was directing a lot of the traffic for the Lions and playing very well himself.

It was like wandering down the street hungover, unwashed and in your tracksuit pants, only to bump into your ex who looks terrific and is surrounded by a bunch of younger, more attractive friends.

In the end, it was a perfect first win of the season for the Lions, fulfilling the promise they have been showing, while for the Hawks, it means a lot more coffees with Gillon are in Alastair Clarkson’s future.

West Coast (130) v Richmond (83)

Well, these Eagles aren’t mucking around.

This was a beat down of the reigning premiers, and even if you factor in the whole home field advantage, it was impressive.

Perhaps most impressive is West Coast faced the pressure that Richmond places on a team and not only absorbed it but then broke out of it to run riot.

In a nutshell, the Eagles didn’t let Richmond do what they wanted to do; even Dustin Martin got caught trying to break tackles.

Where Richmond’s defence can usually limit any side, in Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling, they ran into a lot of trouble. 

Darling was simply ridiculous, taking seven contested marks and booting six goals. It doesn’t matter who is on him; he makes everyone look bad.

The obvious conclusion is that Richmond can’t win away from the MCG, and from a small sample size there’s some truth to that. 

I wouldn’t get too carried away, however, peaking in round nine has never done anyone any favours, and thanks to the AFL, the Grand Final isn’t going to be in Perth anytime soon. 

What this taught us is that the Eagles are now well and truly in the mix, the Tigers have things to work on but will be fine and this season is getting interesting. 

I have two new dates to announce for my show A Thoroughly Unhelpful History of Australian Sport. Exciting!

The first is 7.00pm Wednesday 6 June The Comic’s Lounge in Melbourne.

The second is 8.00pm Thu 7 June Arkaba Hotel Adelaide.

The last ten shows at the Melbourne Comedy Festival sold out so get in early.

Tickets for both shows available here: frontiercomedy.com/titusoreily

You can help support me in producing this ridiculous nonsense I churn out on a regular basis. I aim to keep as much of my stuff on this site and available to everyone and not behind paywalls. 

Find out more here: https://titusoreily.com/support-titus

Comments

Bad choices 21 May 2018

I think the american experiment with big cox has proven to be a failure.He can't bend ,can't ruck nor kick.Surely Collingwood can invest wisely in another old over the hill expensive recruit from another club that is incompetent or over the hill

DannyHugheswasn'tastallasIremember 21 May 2018

Saints to bounce back this week against the Tigers.

Ha ha ha ha ha...ha...ah, forget it.

Anonymous 21 May 2018

Those pesky Royals have done more than their fair share to upset the footy watching public. Last royal wedding they put on Swans v Carlton in the rain, in Sydney, for all non-royal watchers. It's history that Carlton played outstanding football in the wet to totally ruin my evening.

This time the footy was much more benign, followed by the FA Cup, which shows that the English can get at least something right...

Hypothermic Taswegian 21 May 2018

Unfortunately for GWS they have offended the weather gods as well as the injury gods and were totally becalmed in the 4th quarter. I can vouch from joyous experience that not only did the katabatic winds disappear in that quarter, there wasn't even enough wind to ruffle Ben Browns fro. The sun beamed down from the heavens like a long lost pregnant cousin. It seemed like the first time since Slowbarts record breaking floods the week before that my fingers were warm enough to be capable of gripping the thundersticks to jeer the GWS players ineptitude. Do they not have wind at their stadium because its Spotless? Booting the ball as high as possible into the face of the oncoming gale or trying to precision kick along the boundary in a fierce crosswind do not seem like sensible football to me? Maybe Leon doesn't have a Ferrari to drive but a high speed catamaran with everyone leaning on the wrong hull to the wind direction? With this game and the Carlton Antarctic game they may have to pay people to attend the next game at Blundstone.

Bloke from the outer 21 May 2018

I was there too and agree there was no appreciable wind in the last quarter. Plus, as any idiot could have worked out (thus taking both coaches 3 quarters) it was smart to play down the southern side when kicking into the wind. Watching kicks in the 3rd quarter going about 50 metres and then reversing 20 reminded me how little footy players understand the basics but jeez they are fantastic athletes.

Anybody writing off the giants yet might be in for a shock - they can move the ball with precision and speed.

Pablo 21 May 2018

'It was like wandering down the street hungover, unwashed and in your tracksuit pants, only to bump into your ex who looks terrific and is surrounded by a bunch of younger, more attractive friends'.

Is there a story behind this you're not telling us?

Nige 21 May 2018

I made an involuntary noise reading that sentence -lol

Bruce munday 21 May 2018

Read this to my wife who smiled. First time she's shown any interest in footy.

Gyfox 21 May 2018

Titus, you have 3 choices..........stop drinking, start shaving or go shopping for new clothes!
Sorry, 4 choices........give up on Hawthorn ;-)

JK 21 May 2018

"I will, of course, change my tune if I can get in on this junket." Gold, Titus, gold!

Bladdamasta 21 May 2018

“At the very least, he’ll be in trouble for not sizing up Hamling’s height and weight.” Love it.

Plenty of heroes using AFL to avoid the wedding me thinks.

Fobby of Narooma 21 May 2018

I heard that the Scott twins have secretly swapped clubs. Is it true?

terry of brisbane 22 May 2018

Incredibly disappointed that you did not use your influence to get Buddy banned for next week's game.

Kim jong un 23 May 2018

Meee votched da vedding, it twas boring das votching karlten but ven da kouch said how good da play at ring talk dat vos citing. I votched da preacha give voyal vamily spray of love den votched karlten couch sermon, and meee thort karlten need much more den luving from God da need him as kouch.

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