The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Fifteen

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.

West Coast (130) v Essendon (52)

Let’s begin by saying a word of thanks that the bye rounds are finally over.

Spreading them over three weeks is the sort of terrible idea only the AFL can conceive and so perfectly execute.

The bye rounds were like the season entering the pits only to find them manned by Daniel Ricciardo’s crew, emerging with all momentum gone.

In footy, the one thing you don’t want to lose is that mystical life force known as ‘momentum’.

Adding to the sense of malaise, these bye rounds has had some terrible scheduling for prime time. Not that this is a new phenomenon.

This game was no different, in that it was mind numbing to watch. The Eagles somehow managed to turn in a deeply unimpressive 78-point win.

It was close early on, with the Bombers continuing their impressive first quarter efforts this season.

Essendon are a bit like your friend who goes hard early on, only to hit the wall and suddenly you’re pouring them into an Uber at 9.21pm.

Notice I said an Uber, not a cab? I’m so up with what the kids are doing.

Port Adelaide (94) v Richmond (56)

Before the game I enjoyed Hamish McLachlan getting Wayne Carey’s views about the Tom Boyd incident, asking ‘can you keep a secret in footy?’

Given Wayne spent the weekend apologising to the entire 1996 North Melbourne Premiership team, I imagine the answer is ‘no’.

While these two may not be professional teams but they gave it a real go for parts of the night.

Basically, the Power just managed to do some innovative things like ‘tackling’ to pull away from the Tigers.

Damien Hardwick said after his team’s rather inept performance that Richmond wouldn’t be playing finals this season due to the fact they’re ‘not good enough’.

Welcome to reality Damien! It may have taken you a month longer than every other person on the planet to get here but let’s just celebrate that you did actually arrive.

It really is amazing that the Richmond board extended Hardwick this year. He was appointed in August 26, 2009.

That was the year Avatar came out and while that may have seemed like a good idea at the time, extending Hardwick and that particular movie franchise leaves us all now scratching our heads and asking “is that really necessary? Do we need to see more?”

The only thing I’ve taken out of Hardwick’s reign, is that I wish I had a dollar for every time someone used the term ‘mathematically possible’ and ‘Richmond’ in the same sentence.

Gold Coast (108) v St Kilda (68)

St Kilda this week took the lead of many Victorians at this time of year and had a holiday on the Gold Coast.

It was a disastrous day for the Saints, coming off a terrific win the week before against the Cats.

They lost Paddy McCartin in the first quarter with his third concussion for the season. It’s a serious outcome. Most people don’t get three concussions in their life time.

Talk to anyone who’s had a serious concussion and they’ll tell you one thing, it’s scary.

The Saints looked poor from early on, with mistakes compounded by inaccurate goal kicking, resulting in 20 behinds compared to just eight goals. Nick Riewoldt was a perfect example going 0.5 when he’s usually very good at this goal kicking thing.

Perhaps on a day where the focus was on the nation’s politicians, the Saints were paying tribute through their inaccuracy.

The Suns on the other hand played a lot like the Suns never play. Gold Coast had quite a few key players returning from injury and it certainly showed. They suddenly didn’t look like the team that had just rattled off ten straight losses.

It’s hard to judge yet if it was genuine improvement, the Saints were so disappointingly shambolic, almost anyone could have beaten them.

Still, the signs were there that maybe there is an AFL team buried underneath all that disappointment.

Sydney (79) v Western Bulldogs (83)

This was a terrific game, so good it was kept away from prime time television.

It would be easy to cast this as the Bulldogs overcoming a week of off-field drama but for the players, Tom Boyd’s suspension is a bit like hearing someone who works from home won’t be in.

The Bulldogs seemed to find their form from earlier in the season, with the return of Jason Johannisen adding pace they’ve so obviously lacked.

All game, the Bulldogs players kept reminding me of their talent, something I and perhaps them had forgotten over the last month or so.

Sydney were excellent overall too, with Buddy booting five and their midfield again impressive.

If this is any indication of what the finals are going to be like this year, I can’t wait. It was the first game this week that didn’t make me wish I followed another sport.

A match played under such pressure and so close throughout is almost always going to come down to who makes the mistake and who capitalises.

In this case, it was the Swans who couldn’t keep the ball in the dying moments while they had the lead, a problem they’re not unfamiliar with this season.

That’s not saying the Bulldogs don’t deserve the credit, they kept exerting pressure all game, even when it looked over. The pressure produced a crack which Marcus Bontempelli exploited and Jason Johannisen then blew wide open.

The Swans are certainly a good side but they’ve come up short a few times this season, trust me, I recognise that affliction when I see it.

Carlton (45) v Collingwood (57)

I’m sorry you had to see this. This was a killer.

I was flicking between this and the election results and both made me fear for the future of our country.

The only reason I stuck with watching this game, is that when it comes to commentary, political commentary is potentially even worse than sport commentary.

Every political commentator is so partisan that it’s like Eddie McGuire commentating Collingwood but it’s every single person on the panel.

Basically, election night coverage is David King’s ‘The Lab’ on every single channel, yes that’s right, my version of Hell.

How in Australia we don’t settle elections with a sporting contest is beyond me. It seems unAustralian.

Anyway, devoting too many words to reviewing this would be a waste of yours and my time dear reader.

The game was awful, Collingwood won but in a fashion that only underlines how poor they are, while a young Carlton side is fading after a good first half of the season and needs another preseason under Bolton to improve again.

The only entertaining bit was having a drink every time someone mentioned Stephen Silvagni’s son was playing. I consumed three bottles of scotch. By quarter time.

Melbourne (98) v Adelaide (120)

Only the second decent game of the round and cleverly hidden from free-to-air in Melbourne by an AFL who seem to want to avoid showing the general populace the good games.

Every other sport desperately wants free-to-air coverage, to attract future generations and sponsors.

The AFL say ‘to hell with that give us the short term cash now’.

This was an entertaining game, with wild swings in momentum and some fantastic individual performances.

Most notably, Chris Dawes, who was easily the Crows best defender on the day and not only barely gave himself a look in but also blunted a lot of other attacks.

Seriously, Collingwood are brilliant at turning out terrible forwards. Looking forward to seeing what they can do with Darcy Moore.

The difference in this game was that Adelaide are just that bit better than Melbourne.

Sometimes insight is overrated. Footy is a simple game.

The Crows simply led in the key stat of ‘total points’. Arguably the most important statistic in the modern game, right up there with ‘fajitas consumed per week’ and ‘hair product used’.

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  1. tonyb1971

    ‘Tom Boyd’s suspension is a bit like hearing someone who works from home won’t be in…’ One of your best, mate.

  2. Czar71

    Only three bottles of Scotch? I think you may have missed a few Jack references Titus!

  3. dean0820

    “Talk to anyone who’s had a serious concussion and they’ll tell you one thing…”i was almost laughing just anticipating the punch-line, but it didn’t come 🙁

  4. mjsimmons1976

    No free to air footy on Sunday in Sydney either………forced me to watch classic tv shows such as Diff’rent Strokes. Good to see the AFL are keeping the Sydney market engaged with the 2016 season.

  5. MacHawk

    Turnovers, Titus – it was turnovers as well as Chris Dawes who had me also wondering mid-game whether he was actually the stand-out worst player in the league.

  6. Mitzimini

    Tassie is seriously rationed with free to air games. Looks like we could lose channels too.

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