The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Eleven

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.

North Melbourne (124) v Richmond (54)

This was the first Friday Night Football game in Hobart, which is in Tasmania, the large National Park to the south of Victoria.

I came away from this game aware of two things; one, it was a ‘historic’ night and two, it was cold. Thanks Channel Seven commentary team!

Yes, it was 6.3 degrees in Hobart when the game kicked off, which is also the percentage chance Tasmania has of ever getting an AFL team.

While it’s well known Tasmanians don’t have an AFL team, it turns out neither do Richmond.

So bad were the Tigers and the game that it may well have cured Tasmanians of wanting any team for a little while.

It was Richmond’s worst game of the season and there’s been more than a few to choose from. Sure, they had injuries but the performance of those not injured was lethargic at best.

Really, this just told us what we all know, that the Tigers are not taking a backward step but are running a half marathon backward.

It must be incredibly comforting for Richmond fans that Hardwick is locked away until the end of 2018. Great move by the board there, given not a single other club was vaguely interested. Nailing their colours to the mast like that means that the board need to go, not just the coach. Maybe I’m being a bit hasty given he was only appointed in 2009.

Hardwick said after the game, “We are still firmly of the belief that if we get everything right we can challenge for the top eight.”

Remaining confident and delusional are often separated by such a thin line but this is a couple of kilometres in the delusion zone.

North of course were good without being amazing. They got the job done against very poor opposition. Their disastrous season may be getting back on track.

In the end this was as advertised, 1st taking on 14th.

Hawthorn (82) v Melbourne (64)

Dees fans like myself were thrilled to see number nine back out on the MCG and there were cries of ‘Neeta’ every time he went near the ball.

Early on it looked ominous for Melbourne, after a good start was quickly returned to normal programming. To everyone’s surprise though, the Dees got back into it and actually took the lead again.

It was a strange performance by the Hawks and for the first time I’ve really bought into the idea they are showing their age.

The Hawks are usually known for being clinical but at times they seemed more like an Auskick clinic.

The Dees but a lot of pressure for long periods on the Hawthorn midfield. A notable moment was Bernie Vince lightly brushing Sam Mitchell’s face. It was with such force that Mitchell may even have felt it. Of course, Vince was quickly reported, adding to a laughable day from the umpires (towards both sides).

Overall, I though the Demons weren’t as good as some people made out. At times Hawthorn besieged Melbourne’s defensive fifty and while it was impressive how long the Demons withstood it, the fact the Hawks missed a lot in front of goal, made this appear closer than it was.

The ease with which the Hawks pulled away when it mattered is also a concern for the Dees.

That all said, Melbourne’s team was far younger and a lot more inexperienced and this was perhaps a sign of one side on the up and the other on the way down.

Not that I’m getting too ahead of myself, the Demons play Collingwood next week and are every chance to stuff that up.

Carlton (102) v Brisbane (64)

Brendon Bolton is terrible at tanking. He’s got Carlton sitting in tenth spot and winning more than losing.

He better be careful; he’s got so many players playing well that the Blues are likely to trade them all if past behaviour is any indicator. A prime candidate for a trade is obviously Jacob Weitering, who repelled numerous Brisbane attacks with an effortlessness bordering on disdain.

I have to give credit to Carlton for turning around things so quickly this season, even if it does make me feel nauseous as I type it and I’m only doing it because a Carlton fan kidnapped my whiskey and won’t give it back until I post this.

Brisbane on the other hand make me feel nauseous when I watch them play. They are worse than someone who organises their wedding on Grand Final day.

The most terrible thing about the Lions are their skills. They can butcher it kicking or handballing and sometimes you can faintly hear the opening theme to Curb Your Enthusiasm after one of their numerous creative turnovers.

If their aim as a club is to go nowhere, then they are well on track.

Geelong (98) v Greater Western Sydney (88)

Thanks for making things confusing Geelong! How can the team that turned in such baffling performances against Collingwood and Carlton perform like this?

It seems that Chris has taken on Brad’s role of ruining our tips.

Not that this was easy. The Giants were behind most of the day but hung in there and in the third quarter looked like getting on top.

GWS did the same against the Crows the week before, looking in the contest but just a level below their opponent. It’s nothing a few more first round draft picks couldn’t fix.

Isn’t it amazing how talk of how unfair the advantages the Giants get dies down after two losses in a row? I mean it’s either unfair or not. Short term results are kind of irrelevant.

Lucky for the Giants, footy people have the attention spans of toddlers. What where we talking about?

The difference in the end was that in the last quarter, Geelong captain Joel Selwood but his head down and got to work.

A goal on top of his 29 possession were key and he was well supported by up-and-coming youngster Patrick Dangerfield, who the Cats have done well to nurture into an exciting prospect.

Gold Coast (41) v Sydney (79)

Two terrible AFL games on Saturday night and I watched both of them. They say the first step is admitting you have a problem.

It’s not like I had any other options. The last time I was invited to a social event on a Saturday night was never. Surprised? Not if you know me personally you’re not.

Anyway, I probably needed a night in to process a week in which Taylor Swift broke up with Calvin Harris and Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik split up.With the exception of Tay-Tay, I don’t know who these people are but if good looking people can’t make love work, what chance do the rest of us have? That kept me awake, I’ll tell you. That could have been the tub of ice cream I ate while watching this game though.

While Friday night in Tasmania was about the weather, this was about the rain, or more accurately, the inland sea that replaced Metricon Stadium.

More than 200mm of rain fell up there in the 24 hours prior to the bounce, covering the field in water, yet it was still a better surface than ANZ Stadium has ever been.

Apparently, 4368 people showed up to watch this but I suspect the AFL counted a good sized school of fish that took up residence in the forward pocket.

Gold Coast actually led at the first break but then the Swans remembered this was a footy game, not water polo match and lifted. After that it was pretty much one-way traffic.

Of note, was the fact that late in the game Tom Lynch was reported in the dying minutes for a stomach punch to Jeremy Laidler.

Perhaps Lynch has decided that carrying this team on his back isn’t worth it and he wants a few weeks off.

Fremantle (126) v Essendon (47)

In the end, Fremantle were overawed by the moment. The chance to play the reverse perfect season proved too much for them and Ross Lyon came up just short once again.

Really, the Dockers were never in it. Essendon seized control of the game early and built up a solid deficit.

The Dockers just couldn’t stop themselves scoring, while at the other end, Essendon made sure of every chance by not converting.

Lachie Neale was especially bad, gathering 42 possessions and setting up teammates to succeed.

The only positive for the night for Fremantle fans was being able to say goodbye to Ryan Crowley. Being the AFL, drug cheats aren’t really drug cheats and personal responsibility only applies to playing your role in the team, Crowley therefore got a standing ovation.

With this loss now secured, Essendon are now favourites to get the number one pick, making the last four years totally worth it.

Collingwood (58) v Port Adelaide (125)

First things first, Collingwood are on the right track and we, the opposition supporters, want to encourage them to stay on it. They also need to give Travis Cloke more time in the seniors.

It’s impossible to convey in words how bad Collingwood were on Sunday but it is possible to convey it in uncontrollable laughter.

Only 28,567 came to the the MCG for this, so that whole ‘Collingwood is propping up the league stuff’ may need to be toned down a bit.

There was a lot of focus on Travis Cloke but he was just Travis Cloke. He’s been like this for years, why are people still surprised?

He wasn’t the worst for the Pies by a long shot. In fact, this seemed a lot like Carlton under Malthouse when the players were working hard to get the coach sacked.

It can’t have gone unnoticed amoungst Magpie fans that Carlton have managed to get rid of their problem, recruit new coaches and players and are now fighting to get into the eight.

Port Adelaide on the other hand have started to get things back on track after a very ordinary start to the year. I’m not convinced they’ll make the eight but they have to be commended for working on improving a whole host of areas.

Tackling has been a feature. They were soft early on but have obviously focused on that and the benefits are there. I’m glad. Tarp memes aren’t my think and I’m glad we’ve been in the main spared them.

Port take on the Bulldogs next week at Adelaide Oval. A win will mean we’ll have to start taking them seriously.

Western Bulldogs (83) v West Coast (75)

A good game! It was slim pickings this weekend.

The Eagles can’t be faulted for their effort but the score masks the fact that the Doggies were in control for a lot of this game.

In fact, at one point the Bulldogs should have blown the Eagles out of the water but kept missing shots to the extent that a foreigner watching the game would have thought kicking behinds was the purpose of the game.

West Coast did keep willing themselves into the match though. The effort was there and in the dying moments it seemed they may penalise the Bulldogs for their inaccuracy.

However, it wasn’t to be. Kennedy was well held, which was a significant factor and again the Eagles couldn’t get it done on the road.

West Coast are good but there’s a reason they’re seventh on the ladder and not top four.

Adelaide (133) v St Kilda (45)

After today, I see why St Kilda want conferences. Although, even if they were in a conference all by themselves, they wouldn’t be certainties.

It was a terrible evening for the Saints and not just being in Adelaide. Apart from a pretty terrible display of footballing, they left South Australia with key injuries to Hugh Goddard, Paddy McCartin and Nick Riewoldt.

Goddard seems to be out for the season which is terrible news.

Injuries aside, this was a deeply troubling loss from the Saints. They’ve shown flashes of being on the right track this year but this just makes you wonder. Even Alan Richardson seemed troubled after the game by his team’s effort. It’s never good when the coach even seems in shock.

Adelaide were brilliant from early on but it’s hard to tell how much was the Saints being flat and how much was the Crows.

There’s no doubt the Crows are very tough at home and they again moved the ball faster than Stephen Trigg left Adelaide.

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  1. tassie_JR

    Keep up the great work Titus, almost Legend status.

  2. Sean Gray

    Rumour has it that Terry Wallace ready to replace Hardwick at Richmond. Says Richmond missing Tambling & Oakley-Nicholls ,

  3. Corey Wickert

    The Dees and Pies next weekend will be the worst Queens Birthday clash since…well,last year.

  4. Mummy's Little Helper

    Titus, you make my Mondays! If only you’d come around and make my bed you’d be the perfect man…

  5. Casey Hazer

    You should get someone to read over your work Titus, with some of the errors you have in there, people might start thinking you were a Collingwood supporter.

  6. Tom Liersch

    Bloody good stuff again O’Reily but c’mon mate P and B aren’t anywhere near eachother on a keyboard

  7. Tom Liersch

    Something Jim Henson and Dr. Bunsen used to do with ________ to you Buddy, meep meep

  8. tamrapalmerTP

    Displaying terrible judgement my husband sent me your latest summary. Unfortunately I am now a convert and have just stopped my hiccup induced laughter. Particularly liked the subaquatic references to my team the Swans. Horrible stuff. Keep it up. TP

  9. Sam Jeremic

    “Being the AFL, drug cheats aren’t really drug cheats and personal responsibility only applies to playing your role in the team, Crowley therefore got a standing ovation.” – ZZZZIINNNGGG

  10. Booney

    Alan Richardson was shocked after the Eagles gave them a hiding. Perhaps he needs to be told how bad the Saints actually are? 

    As for Collingwood, Pendlebury’s effort mid-2nd quarter on the outer wing showed he was softer yesterday than the 40,000 “members” who stayed at home, or were busy breaking into someone else’s.

  11. Karen Moss

    Darren Bretherton the Collingwood summation is very apt after our lunchtime discussions.

  12. Babak Jani

    Vince smashed Mitchell in the head ten times but the slap you mention was on Smith, not Mitch

  13. Prue Kearvell

    Once again Titus Thankyou.U0001f496 Love your work and am amazed that somebody of your obvious intelligence, way with words and fantastic sense of humour (to say nothing of your unbelievable knowledge of Australian Rules (??) that you haven’t put all your work in between hard covers and touring the country doing book signings.Please advise when you are doing this and I shall bring my own pen U0001f4daU0001f4daU0001f4da

  14. Mel Palling

    I just clicked on this to leave the same comment!! Lol

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