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.

Port Adelaide (66) v Collingwood (63)

It’s been hard watching Collingwood get so close lately only to lose, hasn’t it? Somehow I’m coping, I hope the rest of you are hanging in there.

Still, the Pies are continually improving and that terrifies me for the future.

It’s hard to really focus on this game when so much hung over it. The teams entered the stadium without fanfare and it was obvious Port were playing with a lot of emotion early on.

It was a game that was worthy of Phil Walsh’s legacy with both sides battling to the very end.

The Collingwood midfield was terrific with Taylor Adams amassing 37 disposals, captain Scott Pendlebury 28 and Dane Swan had 33 in his 250th game.

Adams offset his fine performance by booking a trip to the tribunal for kneeing Justin Westhoff while he lay on the ground. It was a bizarre one with Adams seeming to try to do it several times.

It was like he was searching for the best camera angle for the Match Review Panel, which if anything should count for thoughtfulness and might get him a reduction.

To me though, the difference was Ollie Wines who is just a monster. His performance was the salt in the wound that was Melbourne’s performance this weekend.

After the game there was another great tribute to Phil Walsh.

These Adelaide sides have been pretty amazing lately. I’m almost getting into the habit of saying nice things about them, not something I ever predicted.

Richmond (71) v Carlton (41)

It’s taken a month but John Barker has finally got this team playing like Carlton and just in time too.

Richmond were not overly impressive but normally they would have lost this one and the fact they didn’t is currently being investigated by the Vatican for possible miracle status.

The Tigers don’t usually win when they play badly, so this could be a big step forward.

It’s worth now asking the question, could Richmond be the ones to lose to Hawthorn in the Grand Final? We may need to see them win just one final first.

Blues supporters would be unhappy with the loss but pretty happy it wasn’t the slop they got served earlier in the year. Players still seemed to try but missing targets like it’s an obsessive hobby is never a good thing.

Carlton fans would be pretty angry with the decision to not reward Matthew Kreuzer a mark in the third quarter that denied them a shot on goal.

Don’t argue if it was with them, let’s all pretend it was that moment that cost them the game, it will get Blues fans really angry.

Alex Rance was impressive all night but I don’t know if negating Lachie Henderson is quite the achievement Channel Seven’s commentary team thought it was.

Essendon (69) v Melbourne (60)

The omens were bad early for Melbourne with the car park at the MCG closed due to the rain. It meant Dees fans had to catch public transport, which turned out to be only the second worse thing to happen to them on the day.

This was a terrible game in terms of spectacle, the rain meant skills were even poorer than normal and Essendon were fielding their VFL team and Dyson Heppell.

Melbourne haven’t really been a proper football team in decades, more an excuse for rich uni students to get drunk in the Frank Grey Smith Bar and meet someone from the right families.

Surely, Melbourne’s ability to manufacture losses is without peer. Here they faced a Bombers team that was comprehensively smashed the week before, had almost everyone of note out through injury and have a sword dangling above their careers.

Melbourne therefore decided to not only kick 7.18, they contributed to this by bombing it into the forward line all day long, despite it not working at any time. It was pure madness.

As a long-suffering Dees fan I’m not that interested in the ‘if we kicked straight’ line of thinking. We didn’t and if it weren’t this it would have been something else.

That’s the problem with Melbourne, always accepting excuses or believing some story about improving. As the greatest philosopher who ever lived said “Do or do not. There is no try.”

The only fact is Melbourne lost again to a team below them in ability but who were willing to work harder.

I’m sick of it and watching teams like St Kilda and the Bulldogs show more heart and ability makes it all the more frustrating.

For Essendon, Joe Daniher booted five straight, which follows Melbourne sorting out Travis Cloke’s goal kicking issues earlier in the year.

Seriously, the Dees are better than any sports psychologist. If I were an AFL forward I’d just picture my opponent wearing a Melbourne uniform.

It was a great win by Essendon and one thing I’ll pay Essendon for is their belief in their club.

There’s real pride and loyalty at Essendon, often it’s been used in a misdirected sense but it’s there in spades.

We should however temper some of the claims this has sorted things out for them.

Essendon beat the 15th placed side and one that found ways to lose. The Bombers aren’t out of the woods but they’ve bought some breathing space.

Western Bulldogs (95) v Gold Coast (73)

Last week’s drilling of North Melbourne seems to have been a bit of a false dawn for the Suns (see what I did there? I might as well retire).

Although, beating the Kangaroos is more about them than it is about you.

Still, Gold Coast looked like they may be finally getting back on the wagon for most of this game.

Kade Kolodjashnij was again great and Gary Ablett was just Gary.

Unfortunately for the Suns, all that focus on off field activities means they have the fitness of a footy columnist.

Starting in the third, they started to run out of speed across the ground. Charlie Dixon went off too and losing speed and Charlie just saw the Suns spiral downwards.

The collapse was on and it felt like watching the Australian top order in action.

The Bulldogs capitalised with a ten goal last quarter in a pretty brutal display, overcoming a 37-point deficit in the third quarter.

It was a disappointing loss for the 9449 people who showed up. Not a bad return for $100 million invested! Imagine if the Suns had been given some real money.

I was really impressed by Liam Picken who had 37 touches and nine tackles. Luke Beveridge just seems to keep getting the best out of all his players. He’s like the anti-Mark Neeld.

North Melbourne (120) v Geelong (79)

After years of people predicting the decline of the Cats, finally it has come true. Just goes to show that if you predict something for just long enough it may eventually come true, I believe in you Jack Watts!

For North, this was the beginning of a lot of false hope with their next month being Essendon, Brisbane, Carlton and Melbourne.

Look for people to be talking about the Kangaroos getting their act together even though they’re playing four of the bottom five sides.

Apart from the fact that the Cats were very ordinary, they also have concerns with captain Joel Selwood under scrutiny for what appears to have been a ‘chicken wing’ tackle.

While not in the spirit of sportsmanship, I’m contractually obligated to point out it was the most courageous chicken wing tackle I’ve ever seen. So brave that Selwood.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about it was that Selwood didn’t spontaneously start bleeding after the incident.

Still, Brent Harvey owes him one so he may get a good testimony out of the Kangaroos.

The incident raises my biggest concern that one day a player will do a ‘sling chicken wing‘ tackle while sliding, followed by a traditional dance and we’ll just have to stop playing footy.

The internet would just explode.

West Coast (147) v Adelaide (91)

I’m not going to admit to shedding a tear watching the end of this game; my eyes are just unnaturally moist.Still, the Eagles crowd was terrific, honouring a side that impressed everyone on a night that can’t have been easy. Take a bow Eagles and Crows fans for being amazing, now get out of here before I cry again.

It’s pretty hard to assess the Crows performance, there’s thankfully not much precedent and I’m just amazed they got through it. After the game it was pretty clear how affected they all were.

Patrick Dangerfield deserves singling out; he had 21 contested possessions in a stunning performance. After the game he looked wrecked, both physically and emotionally.

The Eagles though just continue to impress and it’s all the more fun because no one really saw this coming (of course I did but I just kept it to myself).

The second term was just a perfect display of team footy with the Eagles booting eight goals to none.

The crowd knew they wouldn’t see another quarter of football like that until the very next day when Hawthorn played.

The Eagles midfield is really good and they bat so deep.

Naitanui provides better service than any five star hotel and Priddis, Gaff, Masten, Shuey and Yeo just feast of it. They’re the best midfield you’ve never heard of, assuming you don’t live in Western Australia.

Greater Western Sydney (84) v St Kilda (49)

 The Giants’ hopes of making the finals for the first time remains alive and you could just sense the excitement amoungst the 9178 people who got along.

With crowd numbers like these, it’s no wonder the AFL was so keen to crack the Western suburbs of Sydney. There must be thousands of dollars to be earned in this Promised Land.

This one saw the Giants come out early and dominate the Saints, only to see their lead slip away in the third quarter.

The Saints deserve credit for trying to come back but unfortunately they left it all a little too late, like my attempt to make something of my life.

Unfortunately, Nick Riewoldt picked up an injury and could be in doubt for Maddie’s Match next week. Let’s hope he can recover in time.

The Giants would be worried about a knee injury to another star, Dylan Shiel, it comes ahead of GWS’ big clash against the Gold Coast next week in the ‘Battle of the White Elephants’.

Hawthorn (115) v Fremantle (43)

What is it with good players doing silly things lately? We had Selwood’s weird tackle and in this one, Sam Mitchell raised his knee up again and Nat Fyfe spoiled in a manner that could at best be described as careless.

Both Mitchell and Fyfe seem to be a bit careless when it comes to these things. It’s very reckless from Fyfe, my entire life savings are on him winning the Brownlow, I can’t afford to lose that seven dollars.

I was looking forward to this game but like the Star Wars prequels, the hype was way off the experience and yes, Hayden Ballantyne is Jar Jar Binks.

Hawthorn are really good at the football, way better than the Dockers it appears. The Hawks just toyed with them.

Their skills are just far too good to fold under the pressure Fremantle applies. Where other teams turn the ball over, the Hawks can hit targets and expose the space Fremantle’s over pursuing opens up.

Before this round the Premiership seemed to be wide open but after this game and Sydney’s struggle against Brisbane I now wonder who can anyone beat the Hawks?

It was the old heads too. Hodge and Mitchell just dominated with Hodge teaching Fyfe a few tricks along the way. Let’s remember the Hawks still have Frawley and Roughead to come back. Yes, lets dwell on that for a while. Sigh.

The Dockers only managed to kick one goal in the first half, who says Ross Lyon coached teams are too defensive?

Ross’ real mistake was testing his Grand Final game plan so early in the season. You have to hold it back Ross.

Make no mistake; this was a terrible outcome for Freo. Not quite bad enough for Ross to actually go to Carlton, things aren’t that bad, but this showed how far off the pace Fremantle are.

Brisbane (49) v Sydney (70)

I really wasn’t looking forward to watching this. I wasn’t expecting much of a game and the Dees loss had left me seriously considering giving this footy thing away. Again.

Luckily, this was much better than I thought and I decided this was ‘big boy month’ and I needed to suck it up.

The Lions are much improved now that all their players aren’t injured. Their effort is there too and together this makes them not horrendously awful.

Perpetually drunk Pearce Hanley celebrated his 100th game with 33 touches and a goal and early on the Lions midfield had the edge.

Then Josh Kennedy and Dan Hannebury went to work and started to turn the game. Kennedy had forty possessions and he would be a massive star if he played in Melbourne.

I bet Hawthorn constantly rue the day they let him go, it’s been a tale of misery ever since.

Tippett and Franklin both had three goals each after their faux-suspensions and helped the Swans get across the line in a game that raised a few questions about where the Swans are (not geographically of course, that would be silly but compared to the rest of the competition. You got the point originally didn’t you? This is all just pointless words going on and on isn’t it? In brackets too! Appalling work Titus).

Sign up to Titus O’Reily’s Electronic Mail Newsletter.


  1. Simon Vidovich

    Tim Quarterman Brett BarrattTim Drok few good observations on the dees game. Enjoyed the frank grey references

  2. Ben Eddie

    We will get buried by the Lions if we (& it appears we do by the looks) think it’s a goal kicking problem. I whitness an embarrassing effort against a no-name team. Apols to Tommy Mac & Bernie Vince.

  3. Georgina Leslie

    Paula Leslie Mark Davis you will like this (esp the melb vs ess part) ☺️

  4. jayhess2000

    Yes you can just imagine the damage ‘Joey’ Kennedy would do still running around for Box Hill. I mean, who would he force out?

  5. Sam Jeremic

    “.. losing speed and Charlie just saw the Suns spiral downwards.” Bravo sir!

  6. misanthropicfcuk

    “Look for people to be talking about the Kangaroos getting their act together even though they’re playing four of the bottom five sides.”

    Spot on Titus, commentators have been doing this 3 years running now. Up and down goes the vastly overrated roller coaster that is North. They’re no where near it but watch David King fawn over them on 360 for the next month, “Oh they’re a real chance if they can just get their confidence up” HA HA HA!!!

    Also thanks to the Dees for the win…mostly because it’ll likely be our last for the year!

Leave a Comment