Aug 07, 2023
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Twenty One
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.
Western Bulldogs (126) v Richmond (71)
Having Dustin Martin and Trent Cotchin out wasn’t a great start, then Dylan Grimes was a late out, Jacob Hopper got concussed, and Daniel Rioli was getting around on a dodgy ankle.
Things only got worse from there for the Tigers.
There was the nine goals to two opening term, with Jamarra Ugle-Hagan kicking four.
Then Marcus Bontempeli and Tom Liberatore ran around like a couple of toddlers on the red cordial, causing almost as much damage.
Adding to a night that was going from bad to worse, a fan grabbed Marlion Pickett during the third quarter.
Now given we can’t commit summary execution in this nanny state, we have to look at other possible punishments for the fan.
Pickett knocked the drink out of the guy’s hand, so assuming he bought that at Marvel Stadium, the guy is already down about $80.
My preferred punishment is being locked in a room for several days with nothing but Cameron Ling special comments being played, but the United Nations says that’s illegal.
Essendon (73) v West Coast (72)
How to win but still lose by the Essendon Football Club.
Up by 30 points in the third quarter, this should have been a percentage-boosting win, only for the plucky team from the WAFL to come back and lead in the final two minutes.
If it wasn’t for Kyle Langford, this could have been an incredibly embarrassing loss, instead of an incredibly embarrassing win.
Langford can rest easy, he booted five goals, but around the contest, the Bombers seemed overawed by the Eagles, who haven’t really troubled anyone this decade.
A win would have seen the Eagles off the bottom of the ladder, as they battle it out with North Melbourne to see who can upset their fans more.
Their win over the Kangaroos gave them some confidence, and I felt for likely #1 pick Harley Reid, watching out and having to work out in real-time if going to West Coast or North is better.
The real story, however is the complete drop-off by the Bombers this season. Not a new story.
The closer a finals berth seemed, the more they wilted, like an Englishman when the temperature approaches 24.
Adelaide (89) v Gold Coast (61)
The Suns were without Touk Miller, after the AFL let it be known that they take a dim view of grabbing another man’s testicle and giving them an almighty squeeze.
Talk about taking all the fun out of the game.
That said, it is a workplace, and that sort of behaviour would be frowned upon in most workplaces, except for that place Uncle Simon always went to and Aunt Jessie left him when she found out.
Miller’s absence was notable, as the Crows kept their slim finals chances alive.
Along with Essendon, they are in the Bradbury position. Someone has to fall over for them to get through.
That’s said, this season is proving anything can happen, and you wouldn’t be giving up yet. They just have to beat Brisbane, Sydney and West Coast. Easy.
The loss means Suns supporters must now face up to the possibility their club could not play finals! How will the adjust?
Hawthorn (105) v Collingwood (73)
This year has been so much fun for Collingwood fans.
Constant winning, manageable injuries, journalists losing their heads and saying how much they like Collingwood, others writing columns about the Daicos brothers that read like a teenager love letter to Harry Styles.
That sort of thing can’t last forever. Two losses in a row, one to Carlton, and now to Hawthorn are not ideal, but losing Nick Daicos for at least six weeks is a disaster.
Even more worrying was at the scan, Finn Maginness was still standing right next to him. When the doctor went to look at the x-ray, Maginness knocked it out of his hand.
Perhaps this is the wobble the Pies had to have, and it’s better to be having it now than in the finals.
Hawthorn though, showed letting Nick Daicos run around and do whatever he likes is not the best idea, and you have to be impressed with how hard the Hawks played.
It’s not ideal. I was sort of hoping Hawthorn would go away for twenty years like Carlton and Essendon have.
What has turned things around? Perhaps it was the 1999 Ansett Cup retro jumper.
Although pretty much every Hawthorn player who played probably had no idea what the Ansett Cup was.
“What’s an Ansett?”
“I believe it’s an old shoe brand. I think my cousin wears them ironically.”
Geelong (97) v Port Adelaide (85)
Four losses in a row now, and it’s starting to seem careless. Port are like the friend who binge drinks for most of the year, then doesn’t touch the stuff for a month.
It’s not a lot of fun for those around them.
What also wasn’t fun was the commentators mentioning Gryan Miers being the goals assist king every two minutes.
They’ve never mentioned that stat before and suddenly it was all they would talk about.
It’s like when your kid gets into Pokémon. Their excited and that’s great, but you don’t want to hear about it.
Trent McKenzie was subbed off at quarter time with a knee injury. Taking no chances, the Port Adelaide medical staff sent him off for a series of concussion tests.
Both sides had a lot of key outs, but it was the Cats who had that bit more composure in the dying stages.
Greater Western Sydney (85) v Sydney (96)
Sydney achieved a lot on the weekend, simultaneously keeping their finals hopes alive, while keeping the door to the eight ajar by defeating the Giants.
And defeating the Giants has not been easy lately.
Robbie Fox kept Toby Greene, to just three goals, which you’d take every single time. It’s a fair sign of how good you are when three goals is a quiet performance from you.
Errol Gulden wasn’t quiet, putting on an absolute show. Watching him kick is like watching Leonardo da Vinci paint, or Donatello sculpt, or Michelangelo eat pizza.
It’s a thing of beauty.
Not only can he hit a target, but his kicks open up the game, and some of his goals in this game were silly to attempt, and kicking them was just showing off, and I am here for it.
North Melbourne (71) v Melbourne (103)
North Melbourne hit the Dees hard in the opening quarter and were up by 33 points early in the second quarter.
It slowly dawned on Melbourne that they were going to have to work hard to win this.
To their credit, that’s what they did, grinding the Kangaroos down with the tenacity of a kid asking their parents if they can get an app on the iPad.
Like a parent, eventually, it broke them.
The price though was steep with Harrison Petty injuring his foot, just as the Dees seemed to have sorted out their problematic forward line.
Still, a win when everyone around them was losing was important, especially as the run home doesn’t look as easy as it once did, with them meeting Hawthorn, Carlton and Sydney.
I’m no expert, but if I was a coach, I would tell the players to win all those games so they finish top two.
St Kilda (54) v Carlton (73)
Carlton fought back from 22 points down early in the third quarter to claim another victory as the Blues look in real danger of playing finals.
I’m confident they can’t stuff it up from here. They have my full support.
St Kilda’s strategy of letting Carlton go forward all the time was probably a mistake. It took a while, but eventually, the Blues started converting their chances, and given St Kilda see scoring 60 points as a stretch target, they were destined to lose.
Perhaps the Saints could learn from Carlton renaissance. We knew the Blues got together around the fire for some honest discussions that bonded them, but we’ve now learned getting nude together for some skinny dipping was also involved.
It seems a bit unfair. When I insisted everyone at work get naked, I wasn’t thanked, but instead, I got hauled before HR.
While Voss gets hailed as a great leader, I get let go! Well, you’ll regret it Baby Bunting!
Fremantle (74) v Brisbane (77)
A chance to boost their percentage, instead became a panicked fight for the four points for Brisbane, as the Dockers decided this would be a game they’d turn up for.
Both midfields battled insanely hard throughout the game, refusing to let the other side get on top.
Fremantle were in the ‘mathematical chance’ zone going into this, and a win would have made things at least interesting for next week, but they just could capitalise when they had the ascendency.
The Lions won ugly. They aren’t in the best form at the moment, and the play the Crows next week and then Collingwood in Melbourne.
Luckily for them, that’s not at the MCG, but is scheduled for Collingwood’s natural home ground, the MCG. That’s a great idea. They can run a fixture the AFL, that’s for sure.
As I write this, they also haven’t given us the Round 24 schedule. I think that’s coming out today.
No rush AFL house, we’ll all just jump in our private jets for the interstate games, shall we?
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This week’s Sports Bizarre episode is Mob Football, available wherever you get your podcasts.