The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Twelve

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.

Essendon (43) v Hawthorn (151)

So what movie did you watch while this was on? I flicked between this and Kindergarten Cop.

Did you know there’s actually a Kindergarten Cop 2 starring Dolph Lundgren? It came out in May this year.

I don’t know if you can really say ‘starring’ followed by ‘Dolph Lundgren’ but I admire someone giving it a try.

Re-watching Kindergarten Cop, I can’t say I thought it was a universe that needed more exploring, despite Arnold Schwarzenegger’s nuanced and haunting performance.

Anyway, I would have preferred Kindergarten Cop 2 to this game. It was as pointless as salt free butter.

Alastair Clarkson said this was the Hawks’ first four quarter effort in some time but really, this isn’t exactly a game you can take anything from.

All I took from it was the AFL scheduling department obviously have other things to do on Friday nights.

Port Adelaide (97) v Western Bulldogs (100)

If the previous game was Kindergarten Cop 2, this was more The Godfather part 2.

The first quarter alone was worth the price of admission. It was end-to-end stuff, with a fair bit of spite.

You could just sense that both teams cared about this one, which is always a nice change.

The pressure around the ball was something else and lasted for all four quarters. My chips and dips intake was significantly down, always a sign of a good game.

Marcus Bontempelli was seriously impressive with 30 disposals and two goals. He constantly stood up when it mattered. It was a clear sign of a player arriving at the next level, next level is coincidentally the name of a T-shirt company he’ll launch in a few years.

I actually felt sorry for Port Adelaide. They’ve finally got their season back on track and they’ve fixed so many of the things that hurt them earlier in the season, I can’t imagine that’s been easy.

Coming so close must have been pretty heartbreaking, especially when everything was clicking.

Don’t tell anyone I’ve said nice things about Port Adelaide though.

In the end, this was one of those games that just made you glad to be a footy fan.

Brisbane (64) v Fremantle (147)

What are the Dockers doing? All that hard work over the first ten rounds just casually tossed aside.

Fremantle now sit in 16th place and their tenuous grasp on the wooden spoon grows weaker with each passing round.

In this game, the Dockers even looked positively competent for long periods of time.

We should mention, in the spirit of full disclosure, that they were playing the Brisbane Lions.

As the season goes on, it’s becoming clear that with the exception of Essendon, the Lions are the worst team in the competition.

We’ll have to wait until Round 18, when the Lions take on the Bombers, to find out if they are actually the worst team.

This performance was the last thing Justin Leppitsch needed after a horror week in which both the CEO and the board gave him their full confidence.

That’s the last thing a coach wants. You never hear Alastair Clarkson getting the full support of the board. In fact, the Hawthorn board hopes he has confidence in them.

Anyway, terrible game.

Geelong (105) v North Melbourne (74)

Plenty of evidence in this one if you think North are just pretenders and Geelong’s losses to Collingwood and Carlton were just ‘hiccups’.

What this game does ensure, is that the Geelong Advertiser is going to run more pictures of Patrick Dangerfield this week than the North Korean media will run of Kim Jong-un.

It was a stellar night for the greatest recruit since that guy who won series one of The Recruit.

He had 48 disposals, 10 centre clearances, 11 inside 50s and two goals (Dangerfield, not the guy who won The Recruit, he didn’t even manage that in his AFL ‘career’).

North had no answer. I watched this at home and I was closer to Patrick Dangerfield than any North player was the entire night.

I’m not sure what’s more worrying, that Brad Scott didn’t have someone tagging him or he actually did and this was the result.

North didn’t look bad, but they did look a level below the Cats, which is a real worry. It’s too easy to say North are just pretenders, they’re obviously a very competent team but this loss and the Sydney one mean it’s looking more likely that they can’t match it with the top teams.

It’s something that haunts all North supporters. You can see it in their eyes. Trust me, the other day I met two in the same room. It was amazing, like seeing two snow leopards in the wild.

It was amazing watching them interact. They even talked about Boomer Harvey in a positive fashion, something I’ve never seen footy fans do before.

I never thought I’d see even one Kangaroos supporter in the wild, now I’ve seen two together. Blessed.

West Coast (76) v Adelaide (105)

We’ve all been there. That time you forgot to play the fourth quarter.

It’s like leaving the iron on at home.

I bet as the Eagles drove away from the stadium at three-quarter time, someone said ‘hey guys, did we forgot to play the fourth quarter?’ and someone said ‘I’m pretty sure we did’ but they just said that because they couldn’t be bothered going back and every time the other person raises this, you drive back to find out that once again the iron is off Stacey! Why must you do this every single time we leave the house?

It was a fourth quarter that Adam Simpson said he didn’t see coming, which may be why he forgot to send the team back out.

It’s easy to see how that happened. The Crows were 26 points down, 15 minutes into the third term and it looked like this was going to be another Eagles win at home.

But Adelaide then decided to kick the last eight goals of the match, which is a lot. I kept thinking the run had to stop at some point but the Eagles seemed to have no real clue how to stop it.

The real problem the Eagles had was getting it out of their defence and into their own forward line. It was like they forgot how to do this in the second half.

It was the perfect result for the Crows who now head into the bye.

For the Eagles it’s a disaster but at least they’ve added another string to their bow, losing at home.

St Kilda (110) v Carlton (78)

So 47,945 showed up to this, which surprised Etihad Stadium and probably the 47,945 people.

You can see why Etihad Stadium would have been surprised, they’ve spent years doing everything possible to make fans not want to come.

The unexpected interest meant there were long lines and Etihad Stadium responded with typical class, blaming the fans. I can even forgive them this a bit, it’s some time since Blues fans have headed to the footy with any purpose.

Etihad’s major problem though is it is beyond awful. I’m still hopeful Eddie’s plan to knock it down gets up. I’m not sure what the next part of his plan is but I’m on board anyway.

This was disappointing stuff from the Blues considering Malthouse left Carlton on the verge of a mini-dynasty.

It’s probably time to admit the Brendon Bolton era has been a huge flop. He’s had more than enough time with this list. Time for Carlton to move him on.

For St Kilda fans, this was sweet relief. The Saints have been disappointing recently but this was a far better reflection of the direction they’ve been travelling in over most of the season.

They did it by doing something Carlton didn’t, tackling. Despite years of evidence, teams seem to fairly regularly forget that tackling is not an optional extra of the sport.

Last week, the Saints seemed disinterested passengers but against the Blues they worked hard all day.

Richmond (114) v Gold Coast (97)

This was a huge win by Richmond. You just know you’re on the right track when you can take care of the Suns at the MCG.

With the board they’ve got, another Hardwick contract extension is surely now just a formality.

Seriously, this was a disaster for the Tigers and the fact they managed to get it together against a borderline incompetent team is hardly cause for any celebration.

Especially when you consider this was a side people had making the eight and progress was winning at least one final.

The Suns had similar expectations at the start of the season but can at least point to an impressive injury list. Not that they’ve been good even considering that.

Despite being close, the skills in this made me wish, well that these AFL players had AFL-level skills.

In the final quarter, Dustin Martin was the difference, showing why the Tigers look past his qualities as a person and choose to instead focus only on his qualities as a footballer. It’s a wonderful thing.

Greater Western Sydney (105) v Sydney (63)

This was the Giants’ 100th game and the side they’ve managed to build in that short time, using only every single first round draft pick for about ten years, is remarkable.

Personally, I think a lot of the credit has to go to Tom Scully’s Dad. His work as a recruiting scout has obviously been the X factor other clubs have lacked.

While living in fear of GWS is now a Victorian pastime, it may actually have some merit, unlike every other thing Victorian footy fans worry about.

Early on this seemed a bit of a repeat of the last time these two met, tight in close and hard to score. Unlike the last time though, it was the Giants who managed to break the shackles and get away.

It didn’t exactly help the Swans when Kurt Tippett went off injured. It shows how far Tippett has come that Swans fans were calling it season over when it was believed he would be out the rest of the season.

Luckily, he’s likely to miss only six weeks.

The Giants though have no such worries. They are excellent across the park. The question is, are they good enough this year? They can be but they’re not undefeated despite the mass hysteria.

It’s a lucky thing for Swans supporters that the chances of them bumping into a Giants support at work today are up there with bumping into Beyoncé.

Melbourne (104) v Collingwood (58)

In the end, it was Nathan Buckley’s masterstroke to add Jarrod Witts to the team to support Brodie Grundy and Mason Cox that paved the way to Max Gawn being best on ground and a thumping Demons’ victory.

Collingwood managed to go to the first change with the lead but it was as much due to Melbourne’s appalling kicking than anything the Pies were doing.

After the first quarter, Melbourne fixed their wayward kicking and were away.

Collingwood were just awful. Their structure is all wrong. They could have just left Cloke in if they weren’t going to kick goals and saying you have a defensive system doesn’t mean you actually have one.

All too often, the Demons waltzed out of defense and into an open forward line.

You have to question the coaching as well as a fair chunk of the playing list. Collingwood is a lesson that just saying someone is a good coach or you’re on the right track does not make it so.

While it’s not all the coaches fault, the players were pretty awful themselves, the lack of organisation on the field at the Pies is evident even to the backpacker watching their first ever AFL game.

Sure, it’s easy to laugh at Collingwood’s coaching change with the benefit of hindsight and that’s why hindsight is awesome.

Melbourne fans left the MCG yesterday evening with the wonderful feeling that no matter what happens this season, they are at least better than Collingwood.

This is the first time since 1988 the Demons have beaten Collingwood twice in a season.

The first quarter had the Melbourne faithful pretty worried that the side that always loses when favourites had shown up. In the Frank Grey Smith Bar in the members, nervous looks were exchanged and the bar staff got ready to leave at three quarter time.

Yet it turned around and the young private school alumni celebrated through the fourth quarter, toasting Nathan Buckley and the jolly good job he’s doing at the Pies.

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  1. MiloC

    Wouldn’t the Collingwoods be better off playing big Trav.  Then ole Figster can point the blame at someone else when the inevitable loss comes… Surely?

  2. Lauren Pratt-Parker

    Erin Louise I think you would enjoy this considering you were watching Kindergarten Cop on Friday night

  3. Jordan Brewster

    Matt Byrne What! He actually said something half nice about Port?!

  4. Nelson Zhao

    As a carlton fan I’m very surprised that you spent more time dissing etihad than us! Then again etihad does drive everyone nuts

  5. Mitzimini

    Sad spot for one snow leopard was a lost game. But a surprise email pretty well made up for it. Thank you. M

  6. Mitzimini

    Poor Trav . Doesn’t know if he’s coming or going!

  7. Gary Bruce

    Collingwood are on the right track, relying on an American who is yet to learn how to play the game as their primary forward target. He’s already a more accurate kick than Cloke & he hasn’t touched a Sherrin before

  8. Craig Lister

    Greg the section on the Carlton match is a highlight!

  9. Drew Duval

    Ahh usual cracking working Titus, what would Richmond do without Dusty Martin: “In the final quarter, Dustin Martin was the difference, showing why the Tigers look past his qualities as a person and choose to instead focus only on his qualities as a footballer. It’s a wonderful thing.”

  10. Marijana Mihaljević

    Yes, extremely lucky I don’t ever run into a GWS supporter U0001f602U0001f602U0001f602

  11. Mikes Dadd

    Titus, perhaps you could include an alternate movie recommendation when you do your weekly unhelpful guide to the upcoming matches? I missed Kindergarten Cop but did see Dodgeball on Sunday which made up somewhat for the Swans loss to the Evil Empire earlier in the day.

  12. Matt Woods

    Titus you’re a legend! The Kim Jong bit..funniest thing written on Facebook this yearU0001f602U0001f602

  13. YEAH NAH

    Reckon you’d be able to name every leopard as you Demon supporters ski past downhill. The real question is why are you lot still here and not at the snow.

  14. Mark Liam

    James Hockham this week is one of the best. Dons v Hawks is a pearler!

  15. Mark Liam

    It most certainly is. I’d go as far as saying ol’ Dusty could burn Dimma’s holiday house down and he’d still get a run. Brings back memories of Push Up and those mischievous friends of his. Go Tiges!

  16. James Hockham

    Ha ha now I wanna watch kindergarten cop lol. At least he wasn’t bagging out the Dees for a change

  17. Ted Whiffen

    Classic comedic reference to MELBOURNE FC and the snow. Where do you get these from?

  18. Damien Barnett

    Kane Colgan everything he says about North is funny

  19. bstamley

    I thought Dolph Lundgren was pretty good in Kindergarten Copy 2. He brought that Northern European, square jawed, physical presence that was so clearly lacking in the first installment. Might revisit the original when next Essendon are televised.

  20. James Dillon

    Zac like his page man, his write-ups after each round are so funny

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