The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Four

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.

Richmond (51) v Melbourne (83)

Supporting either of these teams must shave at least ten years off your life and it was the Tiger fans getting their actuarial tables updated this round.

The worst thing about this for Richmond supporters was the fact they’d expected it all week.

The script had the originality of the third Transformers movie.

There was the disappearance of the clubs ‘leaders’, the failure to match an opponent’s physicality and the coach lamenting the fact that the players ‘hadn’t shown up’ after the game.

I thought it was Damien Hardwick’s job to get them to show up but what would I know?

For Melbourne, this was the perfect tonic ahead of three weeks against Fremantle, Sydney and Hawthorn.

Melbourne were on top all day, which last happened when Ben Chifley was Prime Minister.

Jesse Hogan showed he could match it against the GREATEST DEFENDER EVER (according to the Channel Seven commentary) Alex Rance, in a strong performance and Brayshaw showed he is not a bust, which is a nice change.

If Melbourne keeps this good drafting and recruiting stuff up they’ll be in danger of having a decent side.

As a long-suffering Dees supporter, I haven’t been this happy since I actually ran over a Tiger in my Range Rover.

St Kilda (81) v Carlton (121)

12,125 people attended this game and the AFL will probably write to them all to apologise.

The first of five ANZAC Day ‘blockbusters’, this gave New Zealanders a chance to reaffirm their commitment to Rugby Union.

A lot of people think football shouldn’t be played on ANZAC Day and Carlton and St Kilda honoured that sentiment with an error prone display.

The Saints started well but they are all over the shop as a club. The march of folly into New Zealand is the perfect example of a club that has no clear plan.

They haven’t even got their home base sorted and their ploughing money into this misadventure.

Carlton’s got plenty of players who can lift when the games not that physical and such was the case in this one.

It takes the heat of Malthouse for one whole week until they face Collingwood on Friday night.

Essendon (49) v Collingwood (69)

This crowd was slightly bigger than the one in Wellington but only by a measly 75,000.

Like many of these ANZAC clashes it was tight early on, with the most interesting thing being the amount of turnovers in the game.

If you’d brought someone from overseas to this, they would have thought kicking it directly to the other side was the point of the game.

Jamie Elliott, was also allowed to kick a goal from several kilometers out of bounds too, making your overseas visitor think the white makings were mainly there for show.

Elliott needed a Zone Two ticket to get back on the ground from where he kicked the goal but the umpires let it go, probably because they hate Essendon and are part of the global conspiracy that’s out to get them.

After the ‘mark that was definitely not a mark’ last week, Elliot is quickly becoming ‘the man umpiring forgot’.

It was also good to see Travis Cloke kick two straight. It’s too early to work out if the psychologist has fixed his goal kicking but I can report he’s stopped wetting the bed.

Essendon had a real chance to win this but they chipped the ball around like they we’re hoping to get selected in more SuperCoach teams.

Their lack of directness cost them and the Pies showed them the way to do it.

For the Bombers, it just shows no ASADA investigation, no Essendon. They better hope WADA take the case.

In the end, footy fans were happy Essendon lost, but also careful not to be happy Collingwood won.

Greater Western Sydney (119) v Gold Coast (53)

A total of 6,917 people turned up to Startrack Oval in Canberra to watch this. I’m not sure if that’s a terrible or an amazing result. Given the standard it’s possibly a miracle.

Anyone wanting to see the Suns play is miraculous.

Sure they’ve got some terrible injuries but the Suns have been given every bit of help a club could possibly ask for in the last few years.

The fact their president said they’d win a premiership in three years, three years ago, then downgraded that to they’d play finals this year, makes you wonder what’s going on.

Apparently, what’s now going on is they’re rebuilding. Rebuilding what? They’re an empty block of land.

Rodney Eade has lowered expectations so quickly their fans must have motion sickness.

The Giants sit second on the ladder in their best start to a season ever. Unlike Gold Coast, they’ve recruit older players and their younger players are just better.

Their fans must be getting really excited about the idea of playing finals this year.

They could all sit in a corporate box together.

Port Adelaide (99) v Hawthorn (91)

Adelaide Oval before the siren is like being stuck at some horrendous 40th birthday party in Semaphore, all those drunken Port fans singing INXS at the top of their lungs.

It’s enough to rattle the best of us and it certainly rattled the Hawks who proceeded to forget to play for the first half.

That’s not to say the Power weren’t very good. They had Grey and Wines out but that didn’t stop them playing like someone on the amateur setting of FIFA.

In the first quarter, goals were flying in from everywhere and the Hawks looked more like 2008 Melbourne than back-to-back premiers.

The Power were up by 58-points in the second and it seemed you could safely flick over to catch the beginning of Freo v Sydney.

The Hawks though were coming, with the Channel Seven commentary team barracking for them like their life depended on it.

Hawthorn booted 10 goals to three in the second half and it seemed like the Power were going to let this one slip.

In the end, the Power fell over the line by eight points, in a manner similar to when you make it home to bed after a big night. It’s not pretty but you made it.

The Hawks impressed me with their comeback and it proves that they can compete against the top teams.

Fremantle (74) v Sydney (60)

Much like the other big game of the night, Fremantle set off at a rate of knots in the first half and any other side would have been gone.

The Swans seemed shocked by Fremantle’s pace and attack on the ball in the early stages and faced a 48 points deficit at half-time.

Perhaps the Swans were a bit in shock at how expensive it is in Perth?

The second half saw Sydney turn it all around and suddenly the hunter became the hunted. In the last quarter it got down to three points and if it wasn’t for some poor goal kicking, Sydney could have pinched this one.

Much like the Power/Hawks game, this one didn’t teach us much except that all these sides are all very good.

Brisbane (65) v West Coast (118)

Speaking of very good teams…

Brisbane put on the sort of inept display that must have Queenslanders salivating over next week’s Q Clash.

What a game that’s going to be, just two teams turning it over to each other again and again.

It’s very possible it will end in a nil-all draw.

The Eagles were major beneficiaries of the Lions ability to manufacture turnovers even when they seemed impossible.

The fact almost the entire Eagles’ defence is out injured hardly mattered given their opponent was essentially playing defence for them.

Geelong (67) v North Melbourne (83)

You have to go all the way back to Round Two for the last time Hawthorn and Geelong both lost on a weekend. Amazing stat.

Seeing the Scott brothers square off is always a treat on television. It’s like watching an angry mime competition with the key category being ‘feigned outrage’.

This was a difficult one to pick. Geelong are obviously not what they once were and had Jimmy Bartel, Tom Lonergan, Mathew Stokes and Andrew Mackie out, while North are just Norf.

Geelong started well and Kangaroo fans must have been looking at each other with a resigned ‘here we go again’ look on their faces.

Yet North worked hard to get back in the game and had the advantage of Geelong forgoing surgical passing into the forward line for blindly bombing it high in the air.

Seriously, Geelong should know better than that, their fans certainly did.

Of course, the Cats biggest worry is that Robin Nahas did a lot of the damage against them. Worrying signs.

Western Bulldogs (125) v Adelaide (68)

So the Phil Walsh era was over pretty quick.

Much like Port Adelaide and Fremantle, the Doggies jumped their opponents early but unlike the others, they didn’t let them back in the game.

It was a pretty impressive display from the young Bulldogs. They were tough but more importantly clean and efficient.

Jake Stringer kicked six goals and the Crows had no answers for him. It became more surprising when he didn’t kick a goal when the ball went near him.

Adelaide were definitely poor but you can’t take anything away from the Dogs, they were simply better in every facet of the game and supporters have every right to be up and about.

The young talent at the kennel is scary and it’s exciting to see where they can go.

For the Crows, they’d hope this was a blip not a sign that when they were tested they collapsed.

Their draw gets tougher now and you don’t win the premiership in April apparently. Who knew?

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  1. Karina Natt

    This reminds me of the time Never Tear Us Apart came on in an Adelaide pub and the Port supporters took off their shoes, poured their beers in and skolled, yelling “Go the Paaar”.

  2. Dimi Sianis

    Meanwhile crows fans knitted away to beethoven whilst baking apricot slice and sipping at chardonnay

  3. Troy Nisbet

    Or you don’t win Premierships In April Titus O’Reily

  4. Titus O'Reily

    Ha! true. I may have celebrated that demon win a bit too hard.

  5. Mathew Rodda

    GWS fans better not book that corporate box for September just yet – the Giants have only beaten St Kilda, Gold Coast and Melbourne.

  6. Mathew Rodda

    Teams used to be able to win the NAB Cup in March.

  7. The Editor

    You’re always worth a read and a smirk Titus… just a shame you topped out at Grade 4 English. Fortunately, given your target audience, that fact is irrelevant and you probably come across as quite the scholar to most. You can imagine my surprise when I heard that Robbo’s highly esteemed rag had picked up your column. Who’d have seen that coming?

  8. The Editor

    You’re always worth a read and a smirk Titus… just a shame you topped out at Grade 4 English. Fortunately, given your target audience, that fact is irrelevant and you probably come across as quite the scholar to most – certainly the Collingwood supporters anyway. You can imagine my surprise too when I heard that Robbo’s highly esteemed rag had picked up your column. Who’d have seen that coming? Ahh, a love match akin to Clarko and UFC. Longg mae ewe propser.

  9. Alexander Reincke

    The crows got off lightly. West coast and Brisbane was very funny

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