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

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The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Twenty Two

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.

Richmond (81) v Essendon (73)

Much like their season, the Bombers started slow, then got it together with a last-minute panic, only to come up short.

It’s a timely reminder that procrastination early on can ruin things. 

Life is a war on procrastination. 

Can I make myself do the things today which will make my life better later or will I just watch every season ofFrasier because I haven’t seen it for a few years?

With Richmond having quite a few outs, this was the Bombers chance, but while they got close, the Tigers on the G are a tough ask, with this their 20thwin there in a row.

Damien Hardwick really talked up the game afterwards saying, "It was a terrible game of footy, but I was happy with the win."

It certainly wasn’t a wonderful exhibition of footy skills, but the Richmond fans now have their first minor premiership for the Tigers since 1982. 

This is starting to get beyond even the wildest dreams of the most passionate Tigers supporters. They spend their time on social media saying things like ‘Being a Richmond supporter is so great at the moment. Just love this club. #Yellowandblack’


Essendon can still technically make the eight, but they need a crazy set of circumstances to happen that mainly involve all the teams above them mysteriously disappearing off the face of the Earth.

Collingwood (115) v Port Adelaide (64)

Port Adelaide could blame injuries, but they were playing Collingwood who are using volunteers from the crowd to field a side these days.

Even the mascot is injured at Collingwood with a soft tissue tear. 

The Pies have done amazing things to overcome their spate of injuries and more importantly losing Buckley’s beard along the way.

With finals on the line, Port were right in this until late in the third quarter, when Collingwood went on to kick eight unanswered goals. 

Some said an undisciplined 50-meter penalty from Steven Motlop started the run, but one free kick doesn’t explain an opponent booting the next eight. 

With everything on the line, Port seemed to just stop, like a group of people who didn’t want to lose a deposit on a Thailand villa booked for all of September.

Port aren’t necessarily out of it; they need to beat Essendon and then need Gold Coast to beat Geelong in Geelong. If your season relies on the Gold Coast Suns, then you don’t have a season.

Collingwood, on the other hand, are playing finals and there’s even a scenario they could finish top two. 

This is a terrible outcome for footy fans. This was the year the Pies were going to really blow up, Bucks to be fired, Eddie under pressure to go and their fans furious. 

Instead, we get this. Footy can be so cruel.

Geelong (158) v Fremantle (25)

Geelong blew up the lie that is Ross Lyon’s rebuild on the weekend with a 133-point victory.

That’s the Dockers’ biggest ever loss, a fair record given there’s a Melbourne Cup field for that honour.

With a spot in the eight on the line for the Cats, they showed no mercy.

Not that they need to do much. Calling whatever the Dockers put on the field an ‘AFL side’ would be an insult to the rest of the competition, even Carlton.

As a result, Geelong would now have to lose to Gold Coast next week to miss finals, so you can start celebrating Cats fans.

Weirdly, Fremantle led at quarter time, but then Geelong kicked 23 unanswered goals.

Not bad against a side coached by the ‘defensive genius’ Ross Lyon. 

“Bring back his horrible normal game style,” Freo fans could be heard shouting from Western Australia.

The Dockers managed just five behinds in the last three quarters, as the Geelong supporters behind the goals got more touches than the entire Fremantle side.

Ross Lyon showed how passionate he is by saying after the game, "At one point after (conceding) a fair few in a row, we put a seventh back – Mundy – but we thought, 'What's the point?”

Oh, I don’t know Ross, perhaps at least trying to win is what you’re being paid a lot of money to do. 

Watching this it was obvious that the Dockers are absolutely nowhere. The idea they are building towards something is the biggest falsehood since trickle-down economics.

Greater Western Sydney (60) v Sydney (80)

There was a moment in this where it seemed that Swans were in real trouble and finals might be a big ask. 

Missing finals isn’t an option for the Swans; it’s not part of their brand. Plus, they know no one will show up if they aren’t winning all the time.

But while Sydney looked in trouble, you can always rely on the Giants to have a few injuries, and as Phil Davis corked hip limited his movement against Buddy and Ryan Griffen came off with a hamstring, the Swans were suddenly away.

With Griffen struggling, Buddy Franklin tore up the Giants, and the Swans ran over the top of them.

The Swans now play Hawthorn and if they win that they’ll finish fourth and play Richmond at the MCG in week one of the finals, not a huge incentive to win then.

If they lose, they’ll play an elimination final at the SCG.

The Giants now must regroup and hope they can get some injured players back on the field if they’re to keep their dream of losing a Preliminary final alive.

Gold Coast (74) v Brisbane (78)

Nick Robertson’s decision to label the Suns ‘soft’ gave the Gold Coast the motivation they need to almost snatch victory here. Perhaps he could coach them.

At least Roberston’s words made this game a little more exciting and as many as a dozen more people probably tuned in because of them.

It was at times a spiteful QClash, as both sides played this like it was a game that mattered to someone. 

There were a few minor melees in the match, but like the game itself, no one could hit a target.

In the end, Brisbane were probably lucky; either side really could have won this.

It leaves the question of will the Suns get a priority pick? I’m all for it, look how well they’ve gone with high draft picks in the past. Perhaps they could poach someone from the NRL again too?

St Kilda (76) v Hawthorn (80)

The people most surprised by St Kilda’s effort in this game were Saints supporters, who had almost forgotten what it was like to be competitive in a game beyond half time.

St Kilda not only played well, but they also limited Hawthorn to just two points in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, the Saints only kicked 1.1 in that quarter too, making this a ‘real arm wrestle’ and as the movie Over the Top taught us, arm wrestling is insanely boring. 

What Over the Toplacked though was the chance for Hawthorn to lose and that certainly kept me watching, plus the fact I was at an event and if I’d stopped watching on my phone I’d have had to engage with people.

This is where being able to stream sport on your phone is a godsend. 

It makes me be able to handle social situations like this:

“G’day mate great to see you.”

“Sorry, can’t talk I’m watching the footy on my phone and wishing you were all not here.”

I dream of a day when we can wear glasses and watch sport in 3D and never have to engage with people in real life. 

Unfortunately, that world is at least three years away.

Carlton (49) v Western Bulldogs (66)

Watching the replay of this and you can see the moment the Bulldogs players suddenly realise ‘oh dear, we’re about to lose to Carlton’ and start working hard.

They were certainly helped by Carlton, who could feel the wooden spoon slipping through their fingers before rallying to grasp it with both hands in the final quarter.

It caps off an amazing run by the Blues, who have now won the wooden spoon in 2002, 2005, 2006, 2015 and 2018.

The commitment it takes to so consistently be in the running for the spoon is something the Blues don’t get a lot of credit for.

When you consider Carlton’s AFLW team also secured the wooden spoon this year, it’s an amazing whole of club effort.

John Elliot deserves a lot of the credit for this run, helping create the conditions for the Blues breakthrough wooden spoon in 2002, but we should also acknowledge the recent efforts of Mick Malthouse who managed to decimate the clubs’ playing stocks in just a few short years.

Brendon Bolton said recently that the club would not be big movers in the offseason, suggesting they are confident of going back-to-back next year.

West Coast (91) v Melbourne (108)

As Mark LeCras booted a gaol at the 18-minute mark of the final term to send the Eagles ahead for the first time that day, I wondered why I kept doing this to myself.

Twelve years of frustration spilled out of me as I swore at the television in a five-minute tirade that would have made Quentin Tarantino blush.

Apologising to the other customers in JB HiFi, I watched on as the Demons did the opposite of what they always do, steady, compose themselves and then kick away.

It all happened so quickly. Suddenly, people were talking about something called ‘finals’ and saying the Demons would be playing in them.

I did some googling, and these ‘finals’ are sort of a mini-tournament that decides who are ‘Premiers’ each season.

The game itself would have been great to watch; if I hadn’t been so tense that it appeared to others, I was having some sort of stroke.

Melbourne’s cause was certainly helped by Jack Darling going off early with concussion but winning over there is never easy, and you always knew the Eagles would be coming.

Worryingly for the Eagles, every time they started to get back into it, they would give up a goal, and now they need to win next week to lock in home finals.

After the game, a lot of people contacted me to say I’d have to give up my ski lodge booking now. How little people understand us Melbourne supporters, we don’t book ski lodges; we own them.

Adelaide (86) v North Melbourne (77)

North’s better than expected season has come to an end with a loss to Adelaide.

Technically they could still play finals, but they’d need the Cats and Port to lose and then they’d need to beat St Kilda by about 200 points against St Kilda, which is not impossible.

It makes you wonder what could have been if they had been able to transform their much vaunted ‘War Chest’ into an actual player.

The Crows had the win and a great mark from Eddie Betts to feel good about, but the season has been disappointing, a dark comedy with more people shooting themselves in the foot that a Coen Brothers’ movie.

While it’s easy to blame the pre-season camp, they also never seemed to get over what Richmond did to them last year on Grand Final day. 

At least the season is now over for the Crows, and they can begin planning for next year. 

Yes, I’m aware they are scheduled to play Carlton next week.

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 

5 September- Brisbane

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. 

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Matt P 20 August 2018

I'm not a robot

Bender 20 August 2018

How do you know you are not a robot?

Robot 21 August 2018

I am though.

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george smith 20 August 2018

Don't knock Carlton Mick. He is the last person to coach the Blues to a finals win, over Richmond, on the same weekend as his Collingwood rival Nathan Buckley lost his last finals appearance against Port. Just shows you how fickle the footy gods can be, when those humiliated on that awful weekend in 2013 are now sitting pretty, while the winners are left lamenting.

Kangas 20 August 2018

I was two weeks old when Melbourne won it's last flag. I remember thinking 'never again in my lifetime'

Laughing magpie 20 August 2018

Your thinking was spot on!

Magpie 21 August 2018

You were a visionary.

Big_Stacey 20 August 2018

VFL media need to get over this "What Richmond did to the Crows" statement. Crows smashed them at AO earlier in the year. No hang ups on that night. Injuries and poor form killed the Crows in 2018.

Bloke from the Outer 20 August 2018

Oh, and not being good enough. McGovern was an important out but you had too many slow forwards that were exposed every time the ball hit the turf..

Every team must lick their lips when they see Ottens, Walker, Jenkins and Lynch line up each week. Keep playing those four together and watch 2019 disappear too.

Jethro 20 August 2018

How many games do you reckon Ottens played as a forward this year? There would not have been any games this year where these 4 lined up together.

Bloke from the Outer 21 August 2018

Jethro - does it really matter where these guys play. I can categorically tell you when they were together, last year's GF and they were MIA.

I could do some research and find out when they all played in the same team but given that Tex missed about half the season it would be hard to find a time where they were all together in the forward line; but, they are all getting regular games together and it slows you down. Three of them are OK (Jenkins is a supreme goal square receiving dud) but together they are nightmare (or fantastic news to your opposition). Anyway, keep playing them and wonder why you're tenth and blame injuries or draw or umpires or....

Tiger Tails 21 August 2018

Oh and it was at Adelaide Oval, later in the year Richmond smashed them again on the MCG where they showed that they had learn't nothing at all.


No mention of Nat Fyfe's incredible return - he had more stats than 15 team mates combined. I reckon we need to bring back the captain coach role.

Olivia Bolivia 20 August 2018

Titus - I watched the Eagles v Demons clash and there's an issue that needs scrutiny. There were some brief moments in the second quarter when the entire crowd wasn't booing the umpires. Overall they performed their role fairly well, loudly and mindlessly booing when the umpires paid even the most blatant of free kicks against their team but these brief moments of relative silence were disturbing, like a South African world cup soccer crowd that forgot their vuvuzelas.

Bloke from the Outer 20 August 2018

Eagles 'fans' came across as a little bit pathetic didn't they. They won the free kick count 18-14 too.

Bloke from the Outer 20 August 2018

As a Richmond supporter its not a great comfort to be the minor premiers. Last time we did that we lost to Carlton (and Helen D'Amico). I reckon it was because we left Brian Taylor out of the team. He might be a crap commentator but he was a good player and a great kick at goal. Got the wobblers into a GF too only to be left out of the premiership team. Must be deeply scarred (explains a lot, really).

Laughing magpie 20 August 2018

Helen is planning a comeback for GF and this time it will be truly shocking.

Big_Stacey 20 August 2018

Lucky for you the GF isn’t played outside of Vic as the only team you can beat outside of Vic is the Suns

Tiger Tails 21 August 2018

Unlucky for you that the only place you can win a flag is at the MCG, good luck with that.

Eagle Eye 20 August 2018

Good win Ds.

sub-editor 20 August 2018

"As Mark LeCras booted a gaol..."

Knackers 20 August 2018

Going apeshit in JB Hi Fi.

Dockers for Lyfe 20 August 2018

"The Dockers managed just five behinds in the last three quarters, as the Geelong supporters behind the goals got more touches than the entire Fremantle side." As a docker support THAT made me smile, only time this weekend, thanks Titus :)

Halifax215 20 August 2018

A bit hard on the blues, Titus – the Bulldogs are a very strong team, strong enough to be 14th on the ladder at the start of that game. And yet Carlton did not have one goalless quarter against them. I saw the previous week‘s game against Freo as a preview of next year’s grand final, but think Bulldogs could be top four as well

Windy Hill Dealer 20 August 2018

I’m sure Melbourne haven’t been this good since 1858

macca 20 August 2018

It's OK Titus, ski season has been extended:
So Dees can play an extra game, you won't miss out.

Auntie Lager 20 August 2018

"With everything on the line, Port seemed to just stop, like a group of people who didn’t want to lose a deposit on a Thailand villa booked for all of September."
I laughed so hard I could have stopped reading right there.
It matched so nicely with the AFL meme of a hotel receptionist saying "Yes Mr Hinkley, your usual September booking?"

Bombers 2019 21 August 2018

Richmond are not that good.

GG 21 August 2018

Sadly agree Bombers 19, perhaps they should start a supplements programme to improve.

Bloke from the Outer 21 August 2018

Well I guess we'll find out soon enough; nonetheless, we respected the dons so much we left out Cotchin, Prestia, Lambert and Astbury for a rest. You know, premiership players (well maybe you don't know).

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