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

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The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Sixteen 

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.

Sydney (59) v Geelong (71)

I’m not sure what’s more confusing, Geelong’s form or the interpretation of the protected zone rule.

Neither seem to have any consistency to them.

The protected zone is so vague, the penalty so high and the inconsistency of when it’s called makes me wonder if the AFL is now just actively trolling footy fans, instead of just being indifferent to them.

The umpiring across the weekend was again bewildering but as I’ve said before, it’s not really the umpires fault. They’re the call centre operators forced to implement the insane policies of those higher up.

Not even the umpires could have saved the Swans in this one. The Cats smashed them so comprehensively in the middle that I began to wonder if my eyes deceived me because it at least appeared that Sydney had players at centre bounces.

The only thing that made this remotely close was Geelong’s goalkicking. Even calling it ‘goalkicking is flattering.

They finished 8.23.71. You never want a score that looks like how the Americans write the date.

The Swans have struggled on the SCG this year, so they’d obviously be thrilled a Grand Final will never be played there.

Richmond (103) v Adelaide (56)

The Tigers have now won 17-straight wins on their home ground equalling the record set by the Demons in the 1950s.

I remember going and watching that 1950s team back in the good old days of football. 

The good old days of football stretch from when football was invented to about a year before whatever day it currently is. 

The present and the past twelve months are ‘the worst days of football when it is about to die at any second’. It has always been this way and always will be.

The game itself doesn’t care what people say. It always fixes itself. It self corrects. 

Too defensive? Coaches and teams figure how to beat the new tactics. New defensive tactics emerge, these are eventually figured out too. Rinse and repeat.

All the while the AFL tinker, fixing the problems their previous tinkering created and taking credit when something seems to work even though it probably had nothing to do with them. 

Richmond have certainly worked out how to play the MCG. They lock you in their forward half, they don’t overcommit, they just make sure they’re set up well and wait for their opponents to make a mistake.  

They are simply more disciplined as an entire side than anyone else at the moment. 

Watching them play live, you just notice that everyone knows what they’re doing, where they should be with or without the ball and they do it for four quarters. That’s hard to do. 

I can’t stay focused for four minutes without looking at my phone eight times.

The Crows, I can only assume, are suffering Stockholm syndrome, when hostages start to identify with their captors. All that listening to Richmond’s theme song blindfolded, has resulted in them only wanting to hear it more. At least that would explain this performance.

Tex Walker managed to replicate his Grand Final form in this one, but he was hardly alone. 

For Crows supporters, after making a Grand Final last season, this is like having to sit through True Detective season two. An incoherent mess with no focus and a lot of people getting hurt for no real reason.

Brisbane (120) v Carlton (55)

I didn’t think it possible, but Carlton appear to be getting worse. 

The Lions this year have struggled to win but have at least looked interested in improving and attempting to put in place habits that make a team successful. 

Going into this, Brisbane would have seen this as a test against a side supposedly at a similar level in the rebuilding process.

Instead, it looked like a finals team taking on the wooden spoon favourite. 

The Lions had stars everywhere. Dayne Beams had a field day, gathering 40 disposals when he realised he not only didn’t have a direct opponent, but no opponents at all. 

Eric Hipwood booted six goals, as the Lions midfield provided service so good they should win the rights to the World Cup next time.  

As for Carlton’s midfield, I haven’t seen a less attentive group of people since I tried to purchase something in Myer a few years ago.

Much like the Myer’s staff, the Blues players were either invisible or when sighted, clearly disinterested in performing any of the duties required of them.

The Blues did have injuries, with Andrew Phillips, Jacob Weitering and Caleb Marchbank all going off.

Marchbank had an elevated heartbeat, proving that at least one Carlton player had a heart.

I was recently thinking Carlton were not as bad as everyone was making out. I was wrong.

Port Adelaide (86) v St Kilda (50)

After the game, Ken Hinkley said “(We were) Never going to lose the game which was pleasing.”

He could have said that before the game, but I think it was nice of him to hold off until afterwards.

Ken was right, this was a game devoid of any tension. 

The Saints tried, with David Armitage’s 30 disposals and three goals a highlight, but they were just always a bit off the pace.

The Power did just enough to keep in front, like a boxer just holding an opponent at arm’s length on the way to a points victory.

The only thing interesting about the game at all was counting the number of turnovers both teams made. 

It got so bad I was longing for the skills of the earlier Lions-Blues clash.

Western Bulldogs (59) v Hawthorn (122)

I went along to my favourite ground, Etihad Stadium to watch this and was impressed by how easily I could stream the Melbourne game on my phone. 

Remember the days when you couldn’t even get phone coverage at footy games?

Sometimes life does get better because having to watch the second half of this without a distraction would have been a nightmare.

It was an emotional night for Hawks supporters who were saying goodbye to Cyril Rioli. 

In a nice pre-game ceremony, Cyril walked to the center of the ground and then ascended to heaven on a beam of light, the Etihad roof opening just enough to let him through.

Before he left our sight, he waved his hand and everyone in the stadium with an illness was instantly healed. Why, even that rash I’d been battling with varying degrees of success for several years seems to have cleared up.

The Bulldogs gave the second quarter a really crack but apart from that, they seemed to go out of their way to make Hawthorn’s forward line seem dangerous. 

Luke Breust had six goals Jarryd Roughead and Jack Gunston both kicked four. 

Considering the Hawks hadn’t kicked 100 points since Round Two, the Bulldogs deserve a lot of the credit for this outcome.

It keeps the Hawks in contention for the eight and helps their percentage, so not a great night for humanity.

Melbourne (102) v Fremantle (48)

Much like this column, accuracy was a distant shore rarely visited by the Demons on Saturday night.

With a return of 13 goals and 24 behinds, it says a lot about how bad the Dockers were that the Demons could still cruise home.

Ross Lyon said after the game, 'Sometimes, you're just not good enough'. This is what I want written on my tombstone.

The Dockers were without Nat Fyfe and Aaron Sandilands, which is like losing your heart and lungs.

Melbourne at least tried to entertain the Darwin crowd, with goalkicking in the first half that brought back memories of the golden age of slapstick comedy.

Simon Goodwin said after the game he was pleased with his side’s defensive effort. 

Should we tell him that keeping Fremantle to 48 points is the footballing equivalent of being pleased, you managed to dress yourself in the morning.

North Melbourne (95) v Gold Coast (58)

The Gold Coast Suns have slipped below Brisbane on the ladder after this loss. 

Being the worst Queensland AFL team is a hard fought position. 

It’s another lowlight to add to the Suns’ rather impressive collection of lowlights.

Stuart Dew said after the game, “I thought we started really sluggish," which sums up Gold Coast’s history in one neat sentence.

North were hardly amazing themselves, sloppy disposal kept them from breaking away earlier but by the third quarter they were clicking and at least gave the 14,389 brave souls who showed up to watch this something to cheer about.

The low crowd was mocked by many, but I was actually impressed that many people gave up their Sunday to go see this. 

Essendon (62) v Collingwood (78)

Collingwood’s campaign of terror continued for the seventh game in a row, defeating Essendon with a brutal final quarter.

The Pies may have lost Lynden Dunn and Adam Treloar but their replacements, resplendent in lime green, delivered when it counted, regularly blunting the Bombers momentum.

In his 200thgame, Steele Sidebottom kicked one of the goals of the season. 

After marking about 60 metres out, he faked the man on the mark, Travis Colyer, ran around to the fifty and slotted the goal from the boundary line. 

So, confused was Colyer that even as I write this, he’s still on the MCG wondering where Sidebottom went. 

Essendon launched a brilliant comeback in the second and we suddenly had a game on our hands.  

The Bombers even had a one-point lead in the fourth quarter but then something troubling happened, Collingwood steadied and willed themselves over the top, kicking five of the last six goals in an assured performance full of confidence.

This is the last thing we need, a Pies side full of self-belief. 

Jordan De Goey was the spark up forward in the final quarter, in a performance that shows why Collingwood put up with his nonsense and why North Melbourne offered him so much.

Although, North offering someone a lot of money if hardly a rare thing. 

I was walking to the footy the other day and a North recruiter offered me a six-figure sum. When I said no they just approached the next person walking past like one of those charity muggers. 

“Hi! How’s your day going? Can I interest you in joining North Melbourne for a crazy amount of money? No? Why aren’t you stopping?”

West Coast (86) v Greater Western Sydney (75) 

Another game that proved footy’s woes are overstated. 

Nic Naitanui was the spark for the Eagles, taking two Mark of the Year candidates, which is just showing off really.

This was one of those games where each side grabs the momentum for a period only for the other to wrestle it back. Like a couple fighting over what to watch on Netflix.

The Giants midfield were constantly damaging, and you have to wonder how much Jeremy Cameron’s completely unnecessary absence contributed to the loss.

In fact, both sides were without their normal forward lines, but both midfields made up for it with some great performances on both sides. 

Andrew Gaff was ridiculously good, as was Stephen Coniglio for the Giants. 

Gaff’s performance was so dominate that anything less than three articles in the Melbourne media about which Victorian team he’ll play for next season would be a disgrace.

Once again though, inaccurate goalkicking significantly affected an outcome, with the Giants slotting ten goals and 15 behinds. It was this that probably had the biggest impact on the game. 

The Eagles now face Collingwood on the MCG in what looms as a very important game. Who would have thought that at the start of the year? 

Titus has a new live show ‘Manifestly Inadequate’and new dates to announce.

They are his traditional bye round tour wrapping up the 2018 season and previewing the finals. 

The dates are: 

4 August- Hobart 

27 August- Canberra

29 August- Perth

31 August- Sydney

1 September- Melbourne

2 September- Adelaide 

Ticket available here:

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:


Bloke from the Outer 9 July 2018

Punters regularly say 'best ever Titus', 'back in form Tutus' yada, yada, yada.

Titus is always in form; nonetheless, this is exceptional.

TigersBack2Back 9 July 2018

Marchbank had an elevated heartbeat, proving that at least one Carlton player had a heart. - Pure GOLD

Paul Bauer 9 July 2018

Haha. That is very true about the Myer staff. You coukdn’t have said it better.

Bernie Brookes 9 July 2018

Leave Myer out of this!

Property Steward 9 July 2018

Anyway, lesson learned, no more wild tangents that take away from coverage of the Crows.
Richmond to win.

Nailed it last week.

GS 9 July 2018

“'Sometimes, you're just not good enough'. This is what I want written on my tombstone.” I laughed audibly at this. Well done.

Gideon not Haigh 9 July 2018

Yea, that was good!

TaylorKitsch4eva 9 July 2018

Can't believe how disappointing S2 of True Detective was, even with the wonderful (in everything but this) Taylor Kitsch!

Wendy 9 July 2018

Thank's Titus for the laughs - loved the bit about the ascending Cyril Rioli.

Liggo 9 July 2018

Love your stuff Titus, and its nitpicking, but the Hawks kicked 115 in round 4.

Baz 9 July 2018

“Replacements resplendent in lime green”. Great quote, love it Titus

MNS 9 July 2018

Does Bruce still love Cyril as much as I love coffee? & if not, what do I do with my mug?

Davo 9 July 2018

Brilliant stuff, Titus! You’re the only one who can make me laugh about my team the Dockers.

Jo 9 July 2018

1st time reader but have heard you talking to Jules on wireless!! Love ya stuff!! Laughed aloud through every game!!

LIGGO 10 July 2018

Thanks Harrison. Can you hack into Brendan Bolton's account and extract the Carlton game plan? Or is the file empty ?

Geoff in Brisbane 12 July 2018

Where is the Brisbane date for your upcoming tour? Are Qld comedy club audiences as small as GABBA and Metricon crowds?

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