Aug 21, 2023
The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Twenty Three
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.
Collingwood (100) v Brisbane (124)
If a top-of-the-table clash doesn’t get you interested in football, how about Deven Robertson running around with his top off for what seemed like ages?
In the pub I was in, everyone stopped what they were doing as the drama unfolded, as first Brayden Maynard tore off Robertson’s top, and then the man himself finally ripped off the remaining bit like we were watching Magic Mike.
Robertson seemed to be in no rush to put a top back on, and I get it; who doesn’t like taking their top off? But unlike when I do it, the people around him weren’t screaming for him to put his top back on while averting their eyes and retching.
In fact, the women in the pub were actively encouraging him to leave it off and booed when he put it back on. It was disappointing to see. We men get sick of being treated like pieces of meat.
If the reaction in the pub was anything to go by, having a team play shirtless could do wonders for ratings, and really if you were going get rid of a particular AFL club’s jumper, whose would you get rid of? Say it with me, Hawthorn’s.
Robertson did finally get a replacement shirt, the Lions won, the Pies are cooked and it’s Brisbane’s Grand Final to lose.
Richmond (101) v North Melbourne (72)
The Trent Cotchin and Jack Riewoldt farewell match didn’t see the Tigers lift, but they didn’t need to, as North can limbo under anything, even the West Coast Eagles.
It truly was the end of an era for a group that arrived when Richmond was a laughing stock, and dragged them to the very top multiple times.
Dustin Martin certainly wanted to pay tribute to his teammates, pulling out a vintage performance with 31 disposals and three goals, which is impressive, even against North.
It was also North Melbourne captain Jack Ziebell’s final game, who unfortunately was attacked outside a bar later that evening as he celebrated his retirement.
There are some people out there who really suck.
One shining light for North this season has been Nick Larkey who kicked six goals in this game and has booted 62 for the season.
Sixty-two goals in this North side! He must feel like Mel C did, being the only one who could sing in the Spice Girls.
Imagine if he played for an AFL side! He’d have 100 goals this season.
Really, we can’t give North enough credit for beating the Eagles for the wooden spoon. That is an astounding achievement.
Gold Coast (87) v Carlton (91)
Carlton have made the finals, and this time they didn’t need Essendon to get caught running a drug program to do it.
It’s the nightmare scenario we’ve all been dreading. I warned people it would happen.
With the Blues down by 40-points in the second quarter, it did seem their usual allergic reaction to playing finals was kicking in, but seven consecutive goals are a great prescription for such a problem.
A big reason they came back was Charlie Curnow, who booted five goals and took a match-saving mark late in the fourth quarter.
The win means the Blues have now won nine games in a row, a run of form not even the most optimistic Carlton fan would have imagined a few months ago.
One Carlton fan has gotten a Premiership tattoo for this year already. Some would say that’s over the top, but I can’t see it backfiring. I mean, I don’t regret my Melbourne Premiers 2008 tattoo at all.
Carlton got lucky in this one at times, the Suns seemed to be trying to get as close to winning, without actually winning, and if that was their aim, then mission accomplished.
Now they get Damien Hardwick who has to fix the mess that is the Gold Coast Suns.
He did fix Richmond, so he’s a chance, but he had Brendon Gale and Peggy O’Neal there and that Dustin Martin guy.
Sometimes I think Hardwick left Richmond in a hurry because he knew he had this job sown up and wanted a holiday in between, but that’s just silly.
Greater Western Sydney (162) v Essendon (36)
How are Essendon getting worse?
The coaches change, the players change, and they still turn in disappointing season after disappointing season.
Usually only a family member would let you down this much.
This was just a straight-up surrender. They may have well walked out carrying white flags.
You could tell within about two minutes that the rout was on; the Bombers seemed completely disinterested in running, or making contact with their opponents.
After barely getting past West Coast and North Melbourne, a loss like this has you wondering if the Bombers fans would have any faith in the direction of the club.
The Giants couldn’t have been happier with the Bombers indifference for the game.
Jesse Hogan took advantage booting nine goals and taking 17 marks, while Toby Greene was subbed out just to rest early in the third.
To their credit the Giants saw this early as the percentage lift it was, and never let up, resulting in their percentage going from 98.6 to 105.6. When you go from one end of the FM dial to the other, that’s impressive.
And with the Dogs’ defeat to West Coast, the Giants now just need to beat Carlton to play finals.
St Kilda (88) v Geelong (55)
Patrick Dangerfield had 13 disposals and Jeremy Cameron finished without a goal as the Cats premiership defence ended with a whimper, and against St Kilda!
Yes, the St Kilda Football Club will play finals and didn’t blow up the second half of their season in a new and exciting development.
Geelong’s season never ran smooth. A terrible start, injuries and no Joel Selwood, added up to a lot of pain.
Yet, the Saints started the season with a horrendous injury list, but have made things work, surprisingly for a Ross Lyon coached side on the back of a stingy defence.
And it’s a style of football that can hold up in finals, as long as every final is played at Marvel Stadium.
That shouldn’t be a problem, should it?
Oh, technically, the Saints could miss finals, but only if they lose by a lot to Brisbane next week, and fall out of the eight on percentage, but it seems silly even mentioning it. St Kilda have got this!
Adelaide (73) v The AFL (74)
I don’t want to fan the flames, but obviously the AFL hates the Crows and engineered a corrupt outcome to have them lose and miss out on finals.
Why else would they not review Ben Keays’ kick for goal on Saturday night?
I’ve seen them review whether something was out of bounds on the full or a point in games where a team is up by 60 points.
But in this instance, with finals on the line, the umpires suddenly decided to back themselves. Never back yourself kids.
The AFL reviewed it, and said it was human error, not the technology, which is their way of throwing someone else on the bus, while giving themselves a big pat on the back.
Except, the technology also doesn’t work very well, and the AFL are still responsible for the whole mess that is the ARC, including when it has to be used.
It must be nice to be the AFL and investigate yourself. Even when you find you’ve done the wrong thing, you still give yourself a pat on the back like its kindergarten.
I’m sure Crows fans are thrilled the AFL has said this was no big deal, just a small blip and everything with the system is great.
Missing the finals will cost them millions.
The Crows made their own mistake in this game, going 44 points down in the second quarter.
The Swans will be thrilled with the outcome, usually the AFL’s incompetence hurts you, not helps you.
But the Swans did enough at Adelaide Oval to make this a game of millimetres, and their recovery to make finals is one of the great stories of the season.
Make the game close, then hope the umpires stuff up, it’s a surprisingly effective strategy.
Western Bulldogs (85) v West Coast (92)
Facing the Eagles, at Marvel, and the chance to keep their finals destiny in their hands, the Bulldogs were sure things.
Like a one-centimetre tap in on the green, it was all too easy.
After all, the Eagles have plunged new historical depths this season, often looking like a random sample of the population has been made to play AFL with no prior notice.
So, it came as quite a surprise to see the Bulldogs up by just nine points at three-quarter time.
Oh well, an easy job to finish off the Eagles. Except, like Greg Norman was coaching them, the Doggies choked so hard that people rang triple zero.
Marcus Bontempelli and Adam Treloar seemed keen to win this, but the rest of the team seemed uninterested in proceedings.
West Coast were highly energised, and it certainly helped having Jamie Cripps, who booted five-goals.
You would have thought it was the Eagles playing for finals if you didn’t know better.
It’s a horrible position Bulldogs supporters have been put in. They not only need to win down at Geelong next week, but they also need Carlton to win.
Making your fans hope Carlton wins is just cruel.
Melbourne (87) v Hawthorn (60)
It was a special day at the MCG, with the Breast Cancer Network Australia’s Field of Women event, which saw a giant pink lady formed out of 10,000 poncho-wearing people.
It looked fantastic, but I did overhear one kid say, ‘they are promoting the Barbie movie’.
Hawthorn continues to be super annoying in the run home to the finals, making life incredibly hard for Melbourne on Sunday.
They did it with Jai Newcombe out as well, making the future look bright down at Glenferrie, a terrible outcome for humanity.
It was a lot of fun watching Jake Melksham and James Sicily going at it all day, just two super chill guys competing.
Finn Maginness did the job again, this time on Clayton Oliver, only for the Hawks to stop the tag in the fourth quarter, which made no sense whatsoever.
With Oliver free, he kicked a key goal from a stoppage as the Dees finally managed to break away late.
It wasn’t pretty but the Dees got the job done in Max Gawn’s 200th game, and they locked in the double chance.
They just need to play 100 times better in the finals if they’re going to win.
Fremantle (58) v Port Adelaide (74)
A good weekend for Power supporters, keeping their top two hopes alive and getting to watch the Crows be completely screwed.
What a day it must be in South Australia for them. The few that have jobs would have been thrilled to go to work today.
Port hadn’t beaten the Dockers at Optus Stadium before, but the Dockers and the Eagles have been giving lots of teams a chance to do that this year. Thoughtful.
Fremantle did what they’ve done all year, underperform. They were fine, without doing enough to win.
Excitingly, the loss seems to have locked them into a bottom-five finish, so at least there’s a top prospect coming their way.
Port now plays Richmond and will be hoping St Kilda can defeat the Lions. As anyone who barracks for St Kilda knows, relying on them for your happiness is a great position to be in.
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This week’s Sports Bizarre episode is A Drunken Le Mans: Part One, available wherever you get your podcasts.