The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Nine

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.

Sydney (122) V Carlton (62)

This was a tough night if the two things you hate most are racism and dancing. It made it very hard to pick a side.

Of course, a complex issue such as race in Australian society can’t be addressed in a short overview of Sydney v Carlton but surely we can agree that we are all thoroughly enjoying the Blues’ season?

I guess it would be too nuanced a view to suggest not everyone booing Adam Goodes is a racist but there are also a fair few people whose motives aren’t as pure as they pretend.

Perhaps the best thing to do is to save our booing for umpires and the AFL’s Grand Final ‘entertainment.’

Personally, I had no problem with Adam Goodes representing his culture. I’ve been known to represent my own culture from time to time, that being the culture of a middle aged pasty white guy who mainly watches TV alone while eating Pringles. Who wouldn’t want to celebrate that?

Is it possible we’re all making too big a deal over a dance? I hope so. Making too big a deal over minor things is the whole purpose of sport.

New interim coach John Barker said, ‘Tonight was never going to be about talent,’ which could pretty much be Friday Night Footy’s slogan this year.

A lot was made of the Carlton players’ work rate being up in this game; I guess it was if you consider it was up from zero and you were referring to them at least feigning interest this week.

Sydney’s only take away from this was the disappointment they didn’t win by several thousand points. A poor effort, really.

Seven goals from Lance Franklin was probably a pass mark while Sydney’s midfield just did what they needed to do.

Hawthorn (93) v Gold Coast (40)

Elbowing enthusiast Luke Hodge returned from suspension and the Hawks returned to the winner’s circle against the consistently disappointing Suns.

The Tasmanian crowd at Aurora Stadium must have wondered how the Gold Coast got a team before them but were also grateful they didn’t get this particular team.

Rodney Eade said he was pleased with his side’s effort ‘except for a patch of about 15 or 20 minutes.’ He must have been watching a different game to the rest of us or his watch doesn’t work.

Sam Mitchell had 37 disposals and Luke Breust kicked three goals in his 100th game for the club.

Now all the Hawks need to do is win two in a row this season. Dare to dream, Hawthorn fans!

Melbourne (54) v Port Adelaide (115)

Speaking of winning two games in a row, Melbourne hasn’t done that since Dustin Fletcher debuted for the Essendon “Same Olds.”

Early on, it appeared the Dees might finally achieve that elusive goal. Jesse Hogan was looking good and the Dees were up by 24 points in the second quarter.

Then Port remembered that you need to contest possession and everything turned around, the Dees quickly reverting to their ‘tortoise hiding in its shell’ act.

It’s damning to the Demons that Angus Brayshaw, a first year player, shows more effort and hardness than many of his far more experienced teammates. His ‘trying for the whole game’ thing is not really the club’s culture.

For the Power, Travis Boak led from the front when it mattered, getting his hands on the ball and ensuring his teammates got involved.

Port will be pretty happy to have won this given the extraordinarily poor start.

Lose this and the chance of playing finals would have looked shakier than Brad Scott’s coaching career.

Western Bulldogs (113) v Greater Western Sydney (68)

The minute people started talking about the Giants being a smokie for the Premiership I knew they’d lose this.

The Bulldogs were never going to let the Giants run in waves through the middle like Adelaide did and it appears GWS seem to not have a Plan B. Maybe the AFL could buy them one.

The Doggies surprised the Giants with seven consecutive goals in the first quarter for a lead of 37 points. A decent start, I’d call it.

Dangerous umpire murderer, Will Minson, enjoyed his return to the AFL and with Mitch Wallis’ 36 possessions, they dominated stoppages.

Easton Wood was also terrific, though Leon Cameron seemed not to have noticed, failing to put anyone on him.

Former Bulldogs’ skipper Ryan Griffen was booed whenever he touched the footy; luckily for him it only happened ten times.

Richmond (72) v Essendon (50)

After the shock of seeing some indigenous culture on Friday night, we were thankfully spared it during ‘Dreamtime at the G.’ After all, there is a time and place for indigenous culture but it is certainly not during Indigenous Round.

In Dustin Fletcher’s 400th, the Bombers failed to honour his career with a disappointing performance and he was subbed off with his ancient groin injured.

The Dons kicking for goal was more than a little inaccurate, with Jake Carlisle developing an aversion to kicking between the two big sticks.

Based on recent performances, it seems that similarly to Al Capone’s downfall, Hird may not get done for the supplements program but for not being a very good coach.

Richmond are in the eight after a terrible start and fans are quietly getting back on the bandwagon and acting like they never got off.

The Tigers’ midfield seems to have woken up after the first few rounds and recaptured some of the spirit that led to last season’s run to the finals.

It seems they’re on track to disappoint their fans in a final again this year. Maybe that upset could even happen in the second week. I’ve got my fingers crossed for you Tigers fans and you’re welcome.

Adelaide (57) v Fremantle (68)

We all remember the great footy battles, Ablett v Salmon, Brad Scott v Etihad’s Roof, Allen Jakovich v fast food and now Fyfe v Dangerfield.

It was a thrilling contest as two of the games greats tried to will their respective teams over the line.

Fyfe had 40 possessions, 26 of which were contested.

Seriously, the guy had more contested possessions than most players have possessions in a game. He also had 14 clearances and kicked a goal but by then he was just showing off.

Patrick Dangerfield, responded with 38 possessions and 29 of his were contested, in a case of anything you can do I can do better.

While we’re on the subject of amazing stats, Aaron Sandilands had 69 hit-outs in this one. That seems excessively high.

A spectacular goal from Eddie Betts sparked the Crows after they let the Dockers get away early. You can see why the Crows stitched him up a decade ago, just a natural goal kicker.

Adelaide came back and it showed the Dockers’ discipline for them to come back. Michael Barlow kicked an amazing goal to get Freo over the line in a back and forth final quarter.

In the end it was footy that was the winner, oh and Fremantle, again.

Brisbane (86) v St Kilda (108)

Brisbane came out of the inflatable lion firing and led by 29 points in the first quarter, only to then let the hard work slip away.

The Lions seemed to be surprised their opponent changed some tactics and had no answers as St Kilda suddenly created more goals than a Tony Robbins’ self help conference.

Nick Riewoldt kicked four goals and had 10 marks after missing out last week with concussion. He could be a really important player for the Saints.

The real spark for St Kilda came from David Armitage, who I’ve been telling people about since at least a week ago.

His 31 possessions and 11 clearances turned the contest as the Lions began to make more poor decisions than the Carlton Board.

Collingwood (112) v North Melbourne (95)

A terrific victory for North Melbourne and one to put the haters back in their box.

North Melbourne do a pretty good impression of a top footy side but like all impressionists, if you watch them long enough they remind you they’re not the real thing.

The Kangaroos just dominated in the first half and even a truly special miss at goal by Jarrad Waite that landed in a neighbouring suburb didn’t phase them.

Then Collingwood produced a nine-goal third quarter as the North players looked on with a disinterest usually reserved for people in a corporate box.

To their credit, North fought back in the fourth quarter but in the rain it was the Pies that got over the line.

Steele Sidebottom can take a fair bit of the credit for the fight back and both Jamie Elliott and Scott Pendlebury kicked goals when they were needed.

Brad Scott spent the post-game interview ripping into his players like he’s somehow removed from the problem.

How many times does he have to talk about sending a message to his players through dropping underperformers? It’s like Groundhog Day but without the humour or happy ending.

West Coast (120) v Geelong (64)

Nic Naitanui took one of the great marks, which weirdly resulted in an avalanche of people pointing out all his flaws on social media.

It’s why I plan to never do anything impressive; people just tear you down.

It was an amazing mark. Nic got higher than almost any West Coast Eagle ever and that’s a crowded field.

Naitanui backed up his mark with 36 hit-outs, seven clearances, 17 disposals and two goals. Not a bad day at the office, really.

Although, when I jumped on someone’s back at the office like that, it was not applauded. Gary in sales is still not allowed to pick up heavy things and has a special keyboard that cost the company a fortune.

The Eagles themselves were so inaccurate kicking for goal it seemed inevitable Geelong might pinch a win but West Coast obviously decided that if you can’t kick accurately, go for pure volume with 40 shots at goal to Geelong’s 14.

Geelong suffered from a few injuries that cut down their rotations but they were second best throughout the game.

It must be tough for Cat fans getting used to being an only OK team. There really should be a program to help them transition to this new reality. With all the marginal seats down there I’m sure someone will fund it if they ask.

Chris Scott’s post match interview was a lot like Brad’s. You could have closed your eyes and imagined it was Brad sitting there instead… no wait you wouldn’t even have to do that (because they’re identical twins, get it? OK I’ll go now).


  1. Nt11Smd

    TitusOReily Sensational as usual. Great read. Had a chuckle

  2. duncan_marc

    TitusOReily Allen Jakovich v Fast Food. That would be a reality show worth watching. Brilliant stuff.

  3. Phil Crowden

    I love this analysis very week – or is “analysis” the right word?

  4. Geoff Schaefer

    A fine jest Titus re “Eddie Betts being stitched up a decade ago”. In reality though I have it on good authority that he was part of a four way deal which involved Paul Salmon, Sean Wellman and Darren Jarmen in 1996…

  5. eatay3

    TitusOReily Too tight it’s hard for Cats fans transitioning, struggling with it every week. Are you really middle aged?

  6. Ben Turner

    “Sydney’s only take away from this was the disappointment they didn’t win by several thousand points” – good

  7. John Holland

    Hey! Good reading and Fyfe v Dangerfield was worth going along for.

  8. OzMoose68

    ‘Tonight was never going to be about talent,’ which could pretty much be Friday Night Footy’s slogan this year.

    Well said. I guess with Carlton featuring every f*cking Friday night that it was inevitable though.

  9. Jonathan Dowling

    Nic got higher than almost any West Coast Eagle ever and that’s a crowded field…love it and so would Ben.

  10. ichymochek

    TitusOReily nailed it re: North Melbourne armchairfooty

  11. p_annie_14

    TitusOReily this is as ever good Titus esp love the Sydney one and way you handled it all. Masterfully!

  12. moloughlin

    This probably makes me a bit juvenile but my favourite part of the Melbourne v Port encounter was a slightly unlikely seeming passage of play when the commentator shrieked “Schultz….HOGAN!”.  It was like watching the footy at Stalag 17.

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