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.

Hawthorn (53) v Richmond (71)

Premiership favourites Richmond handily accounted for the ‘just making-up-the-numbers’ Hawthorn this week.

The problem for Hawthorn is they’re carrying players like Sam Mitchell who wouldn’t get a game at any other club. You just can’t do that.

This win has raised Richmond fans hopes to dangerously high levels. It’s going to be brutal if (when) they fall from here.

So full is the Richmond bandwagon that it now looks like one of those trains in India.

The Tigers have had to borrow a few of those orange boats the Federal Government uses to turn around refugees to house the overflow.

Richmond’s victory highlights the need for every player to be switched on for the entire game to beat the best. It’s a rare but beautiful occurrence, like when you buy a drink from a vending machine and it accidentally gives you two.

Suddenly, a bunch of Tigers players, whose ability to stand up when it matters would have once been questioned, are suddenly becoming clutch. It is freaking me out, like if Jason Akermanis said something sensible.

To think, Richmond should have beaten Fremantle the other week and now this, we may need to organise a lid for them to take off.

Geelong (113) v Brisbane (57)

Brisbane put in another bold claim for a priority pick in a pretty awful display against the Cats.

The Lions are so bad they even made Geelong’s ageing stars look like they were 20 again, with Stevie J kicking three goals, gathering 20 possessions and being cited for striking. The whole set for him.

Dayne Beams reinjured his shoulder to add even more misery to a season that is best forgotten. What’s happened to the Lions?

The season began with so much hope and while injury played its part, the desire has just not been there. Perhaps recruiting an NRL star could fix things.

For Geelong, this puts them in the eight but they have a hard run home. Still, Adelaide, Collingwood and GWS seem to be doing a good job of trying to avoid the top eight.

The race for eighth spot is a bit like a race where even Steven Bradbury falls over.

Collingwood (54) v Melbourne (91)

Remember when the Pies were flying high, finals bound and Nathan Buckley was the greatest coach who ever lived?

That was six weeks ago. It’s been a brutal return to reality for Collingwood who are doing a fair impression of their 2014 season.

Six losses in a row is pretty bad but a 37-point loss to the Demons is the extra sting in the tail.

You can focus on the fact Collingwood basically didn’t have a forward line but Melbourne also scored 91 points! They almost never do that, especially under Paul Roos who is allergic to goals.

The performance by the Pies was so bad you actually had Collingwood fans lamenting the fact Jesse White had been dropped.

For Demons fans, this win was a pleasant but unforeseen surprise, like finding out Max Gawn is a really good footballer.

The question for the Demons’ faithful is how can this team turn in this performance yet also deliver the one they did against St Kilda the week before?

Still, a win is a rare and beautiful thing, especially when Eddie McGuire is doing ‘Press Red for Ed’ and basically stops talking during the fourth quarter.

Sydney (117) v Adelaide (65)

Has Mick Malthouse started coaching Adelaide already? It certainly seemed like it.

Sydney came out angry. Make no mistake, this was a message to the rest of the footballing world, the Sydney Swans are not happy with the treatment of their star Adam Goodes.

It was obvious early on and lasted the whole game, just relentless pressure and focus with the Swans showing a side of themselves that had seemed lost recently.

While the Swans came out angry, the Crows seemed to be mostly absent and to be honest, that’s not really surprising.

Phil Walsh’s passing stirred up a lot of emotion but it’s often a bit after a big event like that when the shock, adrenaline and pure raw emotion dies down that the reality of a loss like that kicks in.

It was always going to be a hard run to the end of the season for the Crows and this performance showed why.

Carlton (54) v North Melbourne (118)

Again, it was Todd Goldstein, the North player you’re allowed to like who had the biggest impact on this game.

Carlton hung around for a half but after that it was a one-way parade with North doing their very best ‘flat track bullies’ act.

It was Jarrad Waite 200th game and weirdly Carlton fans booed him whenever he got the ball. I thought that was strange, I would boo Waite if he was on my team, not on another.

Blues fans had things around the wrong way. The really amazing thing about that is there were Carlton fans actually at the game.

John Barker was not happy after the game. I guess he was not only watching a losing performance but his chances of coaching them next year go up in smoke.

I’m not sure why he’s be upset about that, asking if you’d want to coach Carlton should be the first question on the concussion test. A ‘yes’ and you’re immediately subbed off, for the season.

North to their credit have nailed the bit of the season they absolutely had to, the bit where they play all the bad teams.

Given their inconsistency in the past, this was no sure thing but they’re getting it done. Just don’t read too much into it, when it comes to the finals, North should struggle.

Gold Coast (83) v West Coast (83)

No one likes a tie, it’s as unsatisfying as the Arrested Development series Netflix commissioned.

West Coast have been pretty brutal towards visitors this season and the injury ravaged Suns looked like another lamb to the slaughter.

The Suns though had other ideas and they had quite a few of their talented players actually starting to deliver.

Harley Bennell was good again with 28 disposals and a goal while stand in captain Tom Lynch kicked the goal that tied it and finished with four.

The Gold Coast’s position on the ladder doesn’t really reflect their talent. They’ve had issues all year off the field and a lot of injuries, so perhaps this isn’t the terrible result for West Coast that it seems.

The Eagles play the Hawks and Fremantle in the next fortnight so this was a good reminder of the need to focus.

All the talk of whether the Eagles are the real deal will be settled by mid-month, if they are, watch the Melbourne media both go into meltdown and begin furiously learning who their players are.

Port Adelaide (112) v St Kilda (49)

It’s all a bit too little, too late for Port. This was a good performance against the Saints who can be tricky but really, the Power’s race has been run and lost.

There’s talk of finals but with Ollie Wines injured I think it’s going to be tough.

This was a win that highlighted the reliance Port has on a few players. Chad Wingard was great again with four goals while Robbie Gray had 37 disposals.

That’s the thing about Port, some of their players are so good it distracts a bit from the holes they do have.

The Saints will rue a lot of missed chance in front of goal, especially early and their skills underlined the reason they’re 13th on the ladder.

I’m not a Saints supporter and even I was beyond frustrated with the way they turned the ball over. There were some pretty long stretches when the Saints were on top but they converted as often as me at a speed dating night.

Essendon (40) v Western Bulldogs (127)

James Hird said of this loss, “I didn’t see that coming” but then, judgment has never really been his thing.

The Bombers were abysmal. Hird can have all the excuses in the world and so can the players but even the really hard core Bombers fans have to be wondering if change is needed (OK, not the really hard core).

Just to twist the knife a little further, former Bomber Stewart Crameri kicked a career-best seven goals and luck had nothing to do with it.

The Bombers were so bad Brendon Goddard’s decided to deliver one of his motivational speeches at halftime to the players while on the field.

I can only assume Brendon was pretty annoyed at the lack of pointing the others were doing.

I don’t know why he does these speeches, they seem to have the opposite effect with the Bombers even worse after the long break.

If you ever see him gather the players together for another speech, get your life savings and put them on their opponent to win.

We shouldn’t take anything away from the Bulldogs either. They are a highly entertaining team who make a mockery of those predicting the game is about to die.

Adding to their entertainment value, they also have soul. Bob Murphy ran onto the ground in the number 37. That’s class all the way.

Fremantle (84) v Greater Western Sydney (63)

Fremantle looked to be brushing off the cobwebs early on in this one before the Giants started to put up a bit of a fight.

The Dockers controlled a lot of the game but their skills at times were pretty poor. They’ll want to get that right ahead of the finals.

One particular unsavoury incident involved Zac Dawson and Jeremy Cameron, with Dawson elbowing the star forward in the nose.

They were both on the ground and Dawson was facing the other way when he thrust back his elbow. It was pretty obvious he was lashing out and the best he could claim is he didn’t mean to hit Cameron’s nose, or he could argue he was just being his usual uncoordinated self.

He’ll miss a few weeks for that one.

Cameron, who had to get bandaged up to stop the bleeding, by someone who had never tied a bandage before it seemed, was pretty angry. He confronted Dawson when he went back on. It was all good clean fun.

The question about Fremantle is has there ever been a team on top of the ladder that people have less faith in?

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  1. Geoff Schaefer

    I can’t believe how well the Collingwood coaching succession plan has worked. It’s screwed up the Pies and the Blues! Marvellous effort that…

  2. louiseguidici

    Well well well, “Darcy Moore to kick 7” last week… Get a grip Titus and give the mighty dees (YOUR OWN TEAM) the credit they deserve

  3. AndrewDeakin

    Re your generous comment on the BluesNorth game that Carlton hung around for the first half: from where I was sitting, Carlton were MIA in the
    1st quarter (until Boekhorst goaled from a set shot after the siren), North took the 2nd quarter off, thinking Carlton were going to lie down like they did the week before against Hawthorn, but returned to the field for the 2nd half to put Carlton to the sword with a minimum of fuss. Murphy, Kreuzer and a few others tried hard for Carlton, but can’t carry a whole team. Yarran and Henderson clocked on for their shift, but their minds were elsewhere (contracting for a different club next year, judging by an article in today’s HSun).
    North’s 2nd quarter AWOL lapse rescued Carlton from the ignominy of another 100+ point drubbing. Boekhorst’s magnificent 1st quarter goal was his first major effort since Mick Malthouse took the advice proffered in Boekhorst’s notorious “go now, go decently” tweet prior to signing on to Carlton.

  4. Rick McClean

    …..and long may it continue. It is one of the few upsides to the AFL at present.

  5. tonyb1971

    “Has Mick Malthouse started coaching Adelaide already? It certainly seemed like it.”….

    Gold as always!

  6. MichaelLalor

    Has anyone bothered to report Richmond for using performance enhancing tactics? After watching them last week throw in the towel against Freo, the AFL, WADA, ASADA, The rules committee or anyone/someone needs to investigate this sudden change in playing football.

  7. Cameron Johns

    Connor Pearton Kacey Curtis Callum Walker Bailey Tyson

  8. Casey White

    Beau Greenway have a read of the north and richmond recaps. “Would you coach Carlton” as a concussion test question…answer yes and you’re subbed out for the year is gold

  9. misanthropicfcuk

    louiseguidici You must be watching a different team than the rest of us. Melbourne have been such a mind numbing bore to watch this year and although you’ve lessened the average losing margin from last year and have won 2 more games (so far) if you look at the teams below the Dee’s and the problems those teams have had this year (Bombers/Blues/Suns/Lions) very little progress has been made by Roos or the players. 

    Be realistic, very little credit is given because it’s actually not that “deserved”.

  10. Ben Turner

    Oliver Brown “asking if you’d want to coach Carlton should be the first question on the concussion test. “

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