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

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The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round three

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.

Carlton (76) v Collingwood (100)

In an event that happens a lot less than you’d expect, Collingwood’s banner had misspelt ‘tonight’ as ‘tonihgt’.

Unfortunately for Carlton fans, that was the highlight of the night, as their team performed like their team always does.

Carlton’s decades-long rebuild is starting to make Melbourne’s look well done.

I remember when Carlton were once a powerhouse in the League, a statement that now dates me as really, really old. Like saying ‘I remember using a fax’ or ‘I met my partner offline’.

Carlton have started 0-3 five times in the last six years, making this something of a tradition, one I believe in strongly and hope continues.

Collingwood smashed the Blues in the second quarter, then seemed to work out what was the minimum amount of work they could get away with from then on and still win. Then they did just that.

For neutral observers, this was a great game, Carlton are terrible, and Collingwood were only slightly better.

Once again, as the pressure gets to boiling point, Buckley pulls the pot off the stove.

Port Adelaide (97) v Brisbane (92)

Port Adelaide fell over the line in this, like someone falling into their house after a big night on the turps.

They looked worse for wear, and it was a miracle they’d got there at all.

Are the Lions not awful? Early evidence seems to suggest they are doing a half-decent impression of an AFL team.

They went very close to beating Melbourne last week, and here they took a 3-0 team to the brink with no Dayne Beams.

Port seemed to have things in hand late in the game, but the Lions kept coming, causing more panic in the crowd than a West End Draught shortage.

In fact, like the week before, the Lions had a few chances to win this. If they a bit more composure, the Lions could arguably be 2-1.

It just goes to show, that when the AFL decides to pour the resources in, these heartland states can be turned around.

Port really felt the loss of Paddy Ryder, whose absence made Stefan Martin seem like the greatest ruckman to have ever played the game.

Melbourne (123) v North Melbourne (86)

Congratulations to Simon Goodwin on being the first Melbourne coach since Neale Daniher to beat North Melbourne.

It ended a 17-game win streak for North that spanned 12 years.   

North fans better watch out, based on this trend line, Melbourne will beat them again in 2030.

A four-goal start to North Melbourne had the MCC crowd texting their drivers telling them to be ready, but the Demons, in a pleasing display of competency, adjusted their structures and began to work their way back into the game.

The Dees, despite outworking the Roos in many areas, seemed to find a lot of ways to keep North in it, often overusing the ball like they were being paid per possession.

Time and again, handball chains would be one too many, resulting in a spill of the ball or a tackle.

Jesse Hogan worked hard all day, proving he can replace Nick Riewoldt as the key forward whose ‘ability to run all day’ will be mentioned 1,000 times each match by the commentators, like we don’t all have eyes.

North will regret going into the match without a ruckman, as Max Gawn gave his midfielder first use all day and after a while, they even started to take advantage of it.

In the end, the Dees won easily, showing that like in life, the eighteenth time is the charm.

Gold Coast (68) v Fremantle (96)

A great away win for Dockers.

I mean, the AFL is meant to be a professional league, but here we had the Suns playing a home game in Perth.

Perhaps we should just skip the selling of home games and allow teams to sell wins directly.

I’m worried I’m giving Steven Hocking ideas, that man doesn’t need much encouragement to flip the switch to crazy. I mean, why did we need another committee? What’s the point of having all those people in AFL House if they’re just going to outsource decision making to the clubs.  

Fremantle did give the Suns lots of opportunities early on in this, kicking for goal like they were Collingwood.

But the signs were there, with Nat Fyfe back to being Nat Fyfe, racking up 38 possessions in a display that was a little bit scary.

The Suns were pretty disappointing, and all I can think is that no matter what he decided to do last year, Gary Ablett was destined to lose in Perth this week.

Sydney (103) v Greater Western Sydney (87)

This is why the AFL wants two teams in Sydney, a big game on a Saturday night and a great ad for the game.

Both sides put the other under enormous pressure early on, and the pressure showed with turnovers exceeding passes to teammates.

While the Swans started to handle the pressure better, the Giants kept in it, with Phil Davis and Buddy Franklin having a great battle.

Franklin was playing up the ground a lot, but like all true superstars, he knew when it needed to be turned on, and in the last six minutes, he booted a 70-metre goal followed by the sealer in the final moments.

It reminds you of why the ‘independent’ AFL Commission worked so hard to get him to the Giants and then chucked one of the greatest tantrums ever when the Swans landed him through completely legal methods.

In the end, the Swans just had slightly more composure, delivering a win that makes up a bit for whatever that performance was against Port.

Both these sides should feature in September.

St Kilda (55) v Adelaide (104)

The only group of people more resigned to the fact St Kilda are in for a terrible season than Saints supporter, are the players.

It certainly didn’t help this week that the Saints kicking for goal is uglier than a Hawthorn away jumper.

At least St Kilda gave the first half a crack this week, but the basic skills of football seem to elude them as a group.

Coach Alan Richardson said after the match that ‘the forward line didn't work’, but I think he was overstating it calling them a forward line.

Adelaide would be happy that the match enabled them to play some of their players back into form, with Eddie Betts finally hitting the scoreboard for the first time this season.

Betts had an interesting day, watching the birth of his twin daughters on Facetime that morning.

I hope the stream was a slightly higher quality than the AFL’s score review, which is the worst bit of technology since Microsoft’s Zune.

Richmond (102) v Hawthorn (89)

Damien Hardwick would have been thrilled to be back at the ‘G after a not ideal performance against the Crows and their supporters last week.

The Hawks were without Shaun Burgoyne and James Sicily, and it showed as Richmond controlled the game despite the Hawks coming back more often than a nasty rash (apologies to rashes for comparing them to Hawthorn).

Tom Mitchell was kept to a measly 42 possessions, which I guess means we can say he was ‘well held’.

The Tigers had a lot of great performances, Cotchin was very influential, and Jack Higgins had a half-volley goal that will be replayed so many times he’ll wish he got royalties.

Despite the fact the Hawks wouldn’t go away, this was a good performance by the Tigers, and the appeared to be getting some of the spark back that led them to the Premiership last year.

Is it too early to start worrying about another Richmond premiership? It’s never too early.

Western Bulldogs (104) v Essendon (83)

It’s not every day Bombers fans yearn for the better days that were the drugs saga.

Essendon’s biggest problem was that none of their players seemed that interested in getting the ball.

A lot of the time they seemed content to watch on as the Bulldogs swept forward, with most players showing only a passing interest in the defensive aspects of the game.

When they did occasionally get the ball, they did crazy things with it.

Take for example Joe Daniher marking ten metres out, only to try to handball to Josh Green who juggled the ball and was promptly smashed in the goal square.

It was the worst bit of decision making at Essendon in recent memory not involving legal advice.

One of the more interesting things at this game was trying to work out who was booing Jake Stringer more, Bulldogs or Essendon fans. I called it a tie.

You have to wonder where these Bulldogs have been in recent weeks as they seemed to care about football and try a new thing called ‘putting in effort’.

They did things like run and support each other and handle the football like it wasn’t a foreign object they’d never seen before.

Are they back?

I’m not so sure. Essendon stunk up the place so much that Bombers fans will be complaining this week that the roof should have been open.

Being blinded by the sun would have been preferable to watching this. Perhaps Essendon could offer reserved seating at a premium in the seats that get the sun if this form continues.

West Coast (95) v Geelong (80)

In a development no one could see coming, Gary Ablett has a soft tissue injury.

It was one of many problems the Cats had on Sunday, as they did what they’ve been doing for years now, let entire quarters go by before kicking into gear.

Again, they relied on Dangerfield to get them going after turning in a terrible first half and came back from 32-point deficit at half time to actually lead in the fourth.

Yet time and again, the Cats have proven this late catch-up style of theirs tires them out, and the Eagles managed to run over the top of them in the last ten minutes.

The Cats in fairness had two incapacitated on the bench for a lot of the game, and that certainly didn’t help, but the first half was all sorts of awful.

It’s almost like the existence of their superstars results in their other players expecting them to do all the heavy lifting.

The Eagles got lucky though. Geelong came back in the third a little too easily, and if it hadn’t been for a string of injuries, this could have been an embarrassing loss.

This was the first time the Eagles had won at Perth Stadium, meaning not just Melbourne ended a hoodoo this weekend.

Titus will be performing at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the Sydney Comedy Festival.

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