The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Eighteen

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.

Collingwood (84) v North Melbourne (124)

I guess all good things come to an end and such is the case with North’s free fall down the ladder. Ending a five-game losing streak, North had the inept Collingwood forward line to thank for this much needed win.

Still, it says a lot about the Kangaroos season that this could even be described by some as a ‘mini-final’.

Despite the margin, North were about as convincing as a Nicole Kidman acting performance. It’s very hard to see them challenging anyone in the finals and it’s entirely possible they lose every game until the end of the season.

Nathan Buckley said after the game that Collingwood’s entire forward line was on notice. I think it’s nice he considers them a forward line. I’ve always thought of them as extra defenders for the opposition.

In the end, this was a reminder that Collingwood are simply an average team, nothing more, nothing less.

Sydney (74) v Carlton (68)

So this was more interesting than it should have been.

A few weeks ago, it seemed the young Carlton side was tiring as the season entered the home straight but they showed a desire in this that should have Blues fans very excited about the future.

Where under Malthouse the Blues seemed to go out of their way to find reasons to give up, in this their effort was superior to the Swans for long stretches.

Brendon Bolton has certainly shown the impact a coach who isn’t hated by the players can make, especially when that coach also knows what he’s doing.

Carlton had structure, effort and excellent performers in Patrick Cripps, Bryce Gibbs, Ed Curnow and Kade Simpson.

Sydney on the other hand looked as uncomfortable as Chris Christie at a Donald Trump media conference.

They had a few key outs which meant they lacked experience and it showed, as the frequently bumbled like a teenager on a first date.

It was really their stars that got them over the line, with Josh Kennedy almost single-handedly willing the Swans over the line and Buddy booting four goals.

While this was a disappointing performance for the Swans, on the plus side, they finally won a close one, something previously thought impossible.

Gold Coast (105) v Fremantle (81)

This was a terrible game. It hurt my eyes, made time seem to come to a complete halt and drove me to drink. OK, maybe I was already drinking but it certainly got me pouring doubles.

The Suns came into this without a midfield, which shows you how bad Fremantle currently are to still get beaten.

Previously, I’d always thought a midfield is essential, like an engine in a car.

Rodney Eade said the win was the Suns’ best of the season, which just highlights how bad their season has been.

Really, the difference was the Suns forward line with Sam Day (four goals), Tom Lynch (four) and Peter Wright (three) all reminding us that the one bit of the Suns that actually works is their forward line.

Fremantle were terrible but then almost their entire team isn’t playing. Dockers fans must long for the end of the season like I longed for the end of this game.

West Coast (66) v Melbourne (60)

Melbourne had to work incredibly hard to manufacture this loss. They won every statistical category ever invented, even non-footballing ones and still managed to find a way to not win.

The Demons would be kicking themselves that they lost this and based on their performance, they’d miss.

Countless times the Demons streamed forward, only to invent new ways to turn the ball over. It was a performance eerily similar to The Simpsons scene where Sideshow Bob repeatedly steps on rakes. It would be too much to ask for Melbourne to learn from their mistakes during a game.

While the Demons were inept, the Eagles hardly won any admirers with this performance. Make no mistake, the Demons lost this, the Eagles certainly didn’t win it.

If this is the best they can do at home, expect the Eagles finals stint to be shorter than Mal Meninga’s political career.

Western Bulldogs (60) v St Kilda (75)

How was your weekend? I bet it was better than the Bulldogs.

So bad was their weekend that I’ll give the only Bulldog supporter at work a hug today. Sure, I’ll shower immediately afterwards but that’s how bad I feel for them.

While the defeat hurt, what hurt more was losing Mitch Wallis and Jack Redpath, who ruptured the ACL for the season.

Wallis broke both bones in his lower leg in a horrific injury that I advise you to avoid seeing if you can.

It means the Bulldogs will now have to rely on Tom Boyd up forward. Given he had eight touches and one behind, this is a nightmare scenario.

St Kilda certainly benefitted from the Bulldogs weakened state but they were impressive again.

Suddenly, they’re in ninth, just two games behind North Melbourne, who they play this week.

The Saints making the finals would be the perfect end to a crazy season.

Geelong (85) v Adelaide (55)

The showdown between Patrick Dangerfield and his former team promised so much but the Crows never really showed up. I don’t blame them, the weather looked awful in Geelong with rain pouring down and it being Geelong and all.

In a loss they had to have, Adelaide’s eight game winning streak came to an end in a weird game.

The Crows just seemed off all night and scoring 55 points was never going to get it done.

The Cats on the other hand seemed to not only have the desire to win that also managed to play some key players into form, Tom Hawkins being the most obvious, who seemed like old-school Tom Hawkins.

Adelaide also had an ankle injury to Tex Walker but luckily they have the Bombers in Adelaide next week so if there’s ever a good time to rest players, that would be it.

Essendon (91) v Brisbane (128)

Brisbane celebrated this win like they’d won a premiership instead of beating a team with half its side suspended.

It shows you how far they’ve fallen when this victory was taken as a sign they’re on the right track. The idea that the pressure is off Leppitsch because of this win is fanciful.

Let’s be clear, Essendon were simply awful, even considering their extenuating circumstances.

In front of goal, their inaccuracy carried over from early Saturday morning. If they’d kicked straight they could have possibly beaten the Lions.

After the game Leppitsch said “To be honest, I feel like a first-year coach, whereas the public sees me as a third-year coach.”

In fairness to the public, they only see him as a third year coach because he is a third year coach. The idea that it’s the external world that’s confused provides some real insight into the mentality up at the Lions at the moment.

This loss really upset Essendon fans, who thought this was a real chance to pick up a second win.

So much so that 34,869 people turned up. Etihad Stadium were caught by surprise, leading to long lines.

To be fair, Etihad Stadium would have struggled even if they’d known that many people were coming, fans being seen as a nuisance to the people that run that hell hole.

Bombers fans can at least find comfort in how upset people will get when they receive the number one pick.

Hawthorn (114) v Richmond (44)

I thought Essendon-Brisbane would win worst game of the round but there were moments when this challenged it.

Richmond were so bad that words on a page can’t do it justice. At times, it seemed that not only has these players never played together but that they had never played Aussie Rules before.

After the game, Hardwick slammed his team, saying their defensive efforts in the last quarter were ‘shameful’.

It’s like he thinks he’s not part of the problem, as if he held no responsibility for this train wreck. He also threw Dustin Martin under the bus in a petulant media conference that underlined all that is wrong with him.

I sound like a broken record about Hardwick but it just baffles me that Richmond re-signed him earlier in the year and I’m surprised Richmond fans aren’t even angrier.

Hawthorn on the other hand got dragged down to Richmond’s level for much of the first half before remembering they are a lot better.

Sam Mitchell in his 300th game had 38 possessions and the 70-point record breaking win was a nice way to celebrate for a player starved of success in his career.

Port Adelaide (60) v Greater Western Sydney (79)

Sunday was a terrible day of footy. I don’t know what it says about me that I watched every game.

If you missed this, I wouldn’t lose any sleep. It was a boring slog with the Power showing they are an average side while the Giants at least showed they can win away from home.

I spent more time investigating what to order for take away than paying attention to this.

Kids these days don’t know how good they’ve got it with all these new services that pick up food for you from a heap of restaurants.

In my day, if you were hungover, there was no opening an app and twenty minutes later fish and chips, a souvlaki or Mexican arrives at your door.

Instead you had to put in a brave effort of actually getting up and heroically leaving the house. Or you just lay there and starved while your head felt like tiny explosions were regularly going off inside it.

Anyway, at least this is proof the world is improving.

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


  1. JosephShizbags

    I think hangovers aren’t as bad since I gave up smoking.

  2. Gary Bruce

    despite the Pies loss, good to see Cloke’s return to form this week

  3. Rodders56

    Mate good stuff again – I actually didn’t mind the Ess – Bris clash – two young outfits who were obviously told to kick and run through the corridor – made of a high scoring game with some nice marks and a few ripper tackles – the one that had me going for the Murine was the Tigers-Hawks one – Jeezus

  4. Mitzimini

    Could it be early infancy influences allowing Titus to pour such a depressing future scenario over all three Roos fans?

  5. mcars

    Do you think a Kangas – Eagles final would provide some answers? Well, an unlikely win for one of them.

  6. Rodders56

    Mitzimini  there is every chance – maybe Barry Cable refused is attentions as a child – in any event you blokes need Waite, Wood and Higgins in the side at the same time – I hope Boomer has a stunner this week for ya !!

  7. Rodders56

    Now that I’m in this forum – I want to flag and issue. Week in week out, we see ruckmen having a shoving contest – it happens a lot with static marking duels as well – both shoving each other – its not bloody wrestling – its footy !!! They only do it because the rules seem to allow it and if you are being shoved you need to shove back – its uglier than Marty Feldman I tell ya!
    There is however a very simple solution – no shoving – if you have your hands in the air and are using your body to position yourself , you have the umpires favour ie if you get “shoved” instead of “bodied” – free kick – all day every day ( plus night games :-)..)  it used to be called “body work” > Blight etc were awesome at it – Hudson too …………See? easy!!! I case my rest

  8. mcars

    Rodders56 I like your case, it is annoying to see the grabbing and pushing by ruckmen, and not improved by some of the weird calls made by umpires. This is so angrifying that all contact by hands or arms should be banned, unless incidental. First touch, whistle, free kick, see ya later. Marking contests, not so sure that this is the solution. But open to suggestibles.

  9. Mitzimini

    Some of the tackles are downright spiteful and should be penalised . Good players play the ball not the man. This goes for the ruck contests too. Hope Titus would agree with me!!!

  10. tamrapalmerTP

    I’m with you Rodders. How can some umps call ‘holding’ when ALL ruckman are wrapped around each other, week in week out first-date style? Titus perhaps a novella on the contradictions of the game, eg: you can relocate someone’s shoulder to their eyebrow if you erherm ‘bump’ them from the side (all within the gentlemanly rules of course) but a pinkie in the back and it’s a free.

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