The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Seventeen

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.

Sydney (70) v Hawthorn (75)

I’m fairly sure this was a repeat. At least, I felt like I’ve seen this one over and over again.

In many ways we should have known. Hawthorn, a team that always gets it done and Sydney, a team that has developed the habit of losing the close ones.

I personally can relate to the Swans problems. I too have experienced a breakdown in structure when it comes to the business end of proceedings.

Apparently it happens to a lot of people.

Really, the Swans were very good, this was one of the best games this season and you could argue they were unlucky.

I mean Cyril Rioli booting a 52m goal with 77 seconds remaining to win it? That just shouldn’t happen.

It reminds me of a mate I had who always dropped flukey threes in NBA Live 96. You’d just shake your head and stop inviting him over.

Former Major League pitcher Lefty Gomez, used to say ‘I’d rather be lucky than good’. Unfortunately for the rest of the AFL, the Hawks are the ultimate combination of both.

While in many ways it’s boring seeing them do this all the time, we’re also watching arguably the best team there’s ever been, which has to at least be admired.

Don’t tell Hawthorn fans that though, those people are awful, what with all their superiority based only on facts.

Fremantle (61) v Geelong (78)

It was a Patrick Dangerfield masterclass and by that I mean he showed his teammates how it’s done while they stood and watched like a bunch of amateurs.

Dangerfield is so good that he can bend boundary lines to his will, as seen by his stunning goal in the second quarter.

He was so out of bounds he could have been back in Moggs Creek. The umpires didn’t call it though; they must have been busy with something else.

If someone says it was an amazing goal, calmly point out it wasn’t a goal and never speak to that person again.

Geelong overall were hopeless. Again, so many Cats were missing that you could fill an entire season of Channel Nine’s old show Missing Person’s Unit.

Fremantle on the other hand would have been happy with the effort, especially since Ross Lyon said during the week that his side would not be defined by wins and losses.

It’s an odd position for a coach to take. Try it at your work, ‘I won’t be defined by doing my job’ and see how long you last.

Richmond (102) v Essendon (83)

Like only Richmond can, even when they win they lose. This was a spectacularly bad performance against the bottom side.

Sure Essendon have their best players suspended but Richmond have Hardwick, so it balanced out.

It’s still astounds me how disorganised the Tigers are. In this game they were as organised as a Turkish coup.

If they have a game plan it’s written in crayon.

The most depressing thing about them for Tigers fans is where is the improvement going to coming from? Playing the youth seems to only provide a window into the players who will crush the hopes of Richmond fans in the seasons to come.

This idea that this board has got a plan is basically a fairy tale for grown-ups.

Essendon on the other hand at least showed a lot of heart.

I’m not so sure that plugging the returning players in is going to make them the instant success everyone is claiming but at least Bombers fans can start to look forward to returning to being a relatively normal footy club in the near future.

North Melbourne (77) v Port Adelaide (105)

On the positive side for North, it must be nice to be able to prove so many people right. On the negative side, there’s a spectacular amount of negatives.

North are a team that basically went all in this year and that is not looking like a good decision.

They’re your mate who goes all in when they don’t even have a very good hand and then spends the rest of the night complaining that poker is ‘stupid’ even though it’s their fault they’re out and then they drink all your beer. That right, North are basically you Keith.

Sure, the Kangaroos have injuries but that doesn’t change the fact they’ve looked terrible for more than a month now. This game could have been very different if they had simply kicked straight for example.

This was a match they had to win to stave off the Power, who suddenly look like having a real shot at playing finals. If North lose to Collingwood next week it would be a fair bet they will struggle to finish in the eight.

It will be a weird feeling for many to want Collingwood to win a game.

Port on the other hand could still rue their rather ordinary start to the year but they helped themselves a lot with this performance.

Now they just have to keep winning and wait for North to continue their losing ways.

Western Bulldogs (107) v Gold Coast (59)

Basically, every Suns player is injured except for Tom Lynch, so this was never going to be a great game.

Just imagine Lynch in a good side. It would be scary. Instead he gets to run around with this injury plagued rabble.

The Bulldogs weren’t even tested in this. They just did what they had to do. Their only issue was a potentially serious shoulder injury to Jake Stringer.

Tom Boyd also made his return and when he kicked a goal his teammates ran from everywhere to congratulate him. They were probably worried what would happen if they didn’t, after all, we’ve seen what this guy does to his friends. Imagine what he would do if he didn’t like you.

Adelaide (97) v Collingwood (69)

I do worry Collingwood are slowly getting their act together. Not enough to be a genuine premiership threat in future years but enough not to be a generator of punchlines.

This was a workman like performance from them even though they stood no chance of meeting the Crow’s level of class. Even Travis Cloke showed he can be decent without using illegal magical gloves.

The Crows early on looked like they would dominate and were on pace for ‘most goals from the goal square’.

The Pies came back for a bit before normal programming resumed and in the end the Crows were never really troubled.

Adelaide now sit in second place but the way the eight is at the moment you can be second one week and seventh the next.

That said, things are getting exciting in Adelaide and it’s not for a change it’s got nothing to do with verjuice.

Carlton (75) v West Coast (82)

Seeing an American Vice President holding a Carlton jumper before the game made me think that country almost deserves Donald Trump.

Where were the Secret Service when that was being handed to him? Asleep at the hovercraft wheel, that’s where.

For a supposed top eight team, the Eagles do a pretty good impression of a tenth placed one.

Falling across the line with a seven-point win against Carlton is hardly the result that makes you think the Eagles are going to be a significant factor in September.

If you can avoid them at home, you’d be happy to play them.

Carlton after all had Marc Murphy, Dale Thomas, Andrew Walker and Levi Casboult all out but still managed to look more organised than the Eagles.

In fact, Simpson looked out coached all day.

That’s probably reason enough for Blues fans to be excited for the future. A coach that knows what he’s doing is rare than one of the Pokémons that’s hard to get (I have no idea what that is but legally every piece of writing has to mention it).

St Kilda (110) v Melbourne (74)

There’s no shame in losing every single game to St Kilda for a decade.

How could such an insipid display happen with super coach Paul Roos at the helm?

Perhaps it just reflects the glacial pace of his turnaround of the club. Roos hasn’t been a failure but it’s certainly been just a pass mark considering the improvement of other clubs around the Demons.

They’ve done poorly against top sides and the Essendon loss still casts a pretty big shadow across this team.

Melbourne came out strong in the first quarter but again they wilted the moment pressure was applied.

Considering a win here would have kept their slight chance of finals alive, the way Melbourne went into their shells individually and collectively was very concerning.

Roos’ media conference had all the hall marks of his tenure at Melbourne, a sense of him being disconnected from it all and no real answers to such a poor result.

There is a ‘veil of negativity’ Paul and games like this are part of the reason.

The Saints on the other hand must look forward to playing Melbourne like a kid looks forward to Christmas.

Even when they looked in trouble in the first quarter, they must have known that they just needed to apply some pressure and the Dees would fall apart like a Jenga tower.

As a result, it’s now St Kilda sitting in tenth and with a chance at making the eight, while the Dees spend another season holidaying in Bali in September.

Brisbane (67) v Greater Western Sydney (146)

The claim that there was 10,195 people at the Gabba for this is the biggest lie since ‘Iraq has WMDs’

You could have let a real Lion loose with no danger to the public.

During the week, Justin Leppitsch came out and slammed those saying his players were unhappy and didn’t his players back him up with this performance?

Quietly and diligently, the Brisbane Lions have been working away at becoming an NEAFL club and this showed it’s mission accomplished.

Blaming Leppitsch for it all is deeply unfair. He’s inherited a mess, been given little support from anyone and here it all is still a mess.

Sure, he’ll be thrown under the bus but that doesn’t change the fact that the whole club is a disaster. Luckily they’ve got Greg Swann their given the job he did at Carlton.

Greater Western Sydney just used this as a chance to drive up their percentage and did well to do it so well. It was brutal and I’m kind of glad no one was there to see it.

Titus O’Reily is doing a live show 2nd September at Yarraville Laughs. Tickets on sale now at


  1. BulldogCentral

    Another fascinating and insightful weekend wrap with a decent dose of Verjuice for good measure!

  2. Gus19

    As one of the *ahem, 10195 souls, I don’t think you managed to convey the true horror. After a 10 goal second quarter, the Giants dint attempt o play, they just waited for Brisbane to make a mistake and rebounded a goal. Highlight being Jonathon Patton drifting into defensive 50 and the Lions kicking it straight to him. He’s the biggest thing on the ground.
    Also, we’re allowed t-shirt cannons up here. One that fires three “rare” shirts at a time. With shrill orders not to jump over other people to get a shirt, we were treated to the sight of some bloke ‘winning’ a shirt that landed on the empty seat next to him. The cleaners were just as likely to pick up a ‘rare’ bloody shirt than any deranged fan.

  3. Gageless

    “Luckily they’ve got Greg Swann their given the job he did at Carlton”

    Don’t go ruining a good write-up; proofreading is your friend.

  4. pgoog59

    Syd v Haw – “one of the best games of the season”. Titus, really? I never thought you’d fall into the camp that thinks any close game is a good game. After an enjoyable first half a dozen or so weeks this season footy is again turning into an unwatchable quagmire. It’s so congested that umpires are allowing throws in the hope that somehow the ball will get clear from the twenty strong amorphous mass. Wake me when it’s September.

  5. sheppo

    As a master of reading into what RTB (Ross the boss) really says with his wit and little catch phrases, what he meant by not being defined by wins and loses, is the simple fact Freo have been decimated by injury this season, and the cattle still running around on the paddock had better put their best foot forward when selected, or they will be looking for another job, or club next season. Give good effort, and the rest will sort itself out. Geez you Victorians are a bit slow, but, um, wait a minute, RTB is Victorian? Isn’t he? 😉

  6. MiloC

    Just brilliant about North.  I hope all their old players re-sign for another 10 years.

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