The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Seventeen

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.

Carlton (35) v Hawthorn (173)

For those that thought the end of Mick Malthouse meant an end to the enjoyment of watching Carlton get flogged, this was a gift.

Like finding a Penfolds Grange in the cellar when you thought all you had left was cask wine.

There’s not much footy to talk about from this game, I don’t know what Carlton were playing but it sure wasn’t football.

For the Hawks, this was like stealing candy from a baby, if the baby was really uncoordinated and awful at football.

The Blues performance, their biggest loss ever, was so bad Mark Maclure spent halftime calling for Mick Malthouse to be sacked a second time.

The only interesting moment was when Wayne Carey said Sam Mitchell wouldn’t get a game at other clubs, including Carlton.

People seemed surprised that Carey said something stupid but he is both Wayne Carey and a Channel Seven commentator, so I’m not really sure why.

The good news is that these two play again in the final round, the AFL have already announced Carlton’s score will carry over but we all know that won’t be not enough.

While it was a big win for Hawthorn, let’s not get carried away until we see them take on a top team.

Greater Western Sydney (42) v Geelong (69)

We should take a moment to talk about the umpiring this round.

Previously, umpires interpreted the rules like a jazz improviser, it was the free kicks they didn’t pay that were important. Like improvised jazz, it was often awful and confusing but there was a rhythm to it.

This week, the umps decided to just play every note. It was like listening to a primary school band all playing recorders.

Not that I blame the umpires, they’re struggling with the 90 different ways AFL have told them to interpret rules.

I’m sure the best solution the AFL have is to tinker with all the rules again, which should fix everything.

This was the Giants’ chance to keep their push for a first finals appearance going, right in front of their home fans… in Canberra.

Unfortunately, GWS turned in the sort of performance that doesn’t get you into finals. It was weirdly ordinary stuff and the only thing that stopped me dozing off was the fact I was torn between being a bit hungry and not wanting to get off the couch.

I can let hours pass like that, frozen by indecision. Unfortunately, this time I therefore had to watch this game in full and by the end I was both hungry and bored.

Tom Hawkins kicked five goals and the Cats came back to life like Karl Vreski at the end of Die Hard.

Can the Cats make the finals? Probably not but considering the injuries they’ve had this year they haven’t fallen as far as it may seem.

Adelaide (125) v Gold Coast (80)

It feels weird being happy when the Crows win but I guess it will wear off eventually.

The Suns were not bad in this but like Jesus resurrection, their Son of God’s return was short lived.

Is this the future for our Gaz? Cruelly cut down by injury? It will be sad if it is but hopefully he can faith heal himself in time for next season.

The Suns without Gary Ablett tend to struggle but they really challenged Adelaide. Harley Bennell was impressive on his return. He collected 38 ‘possessions’ had a lot of speed and broke the lines (Sorry, I promise I’ll stop now).

The Crows did enough to win but weren’t super impressive. Really, it’s just fun watching Eddie Betts torment Blues supporters, although even I’m starting to feel sorry for them.

Richmond (78) v Fremantle (82)

Richmond again pulled their fans hearts out of their chests and showed it to them, as only they can.

It was arguably the most brutal thing I’ve ever seen and I remember Bec Hewitt’s ‘singing’ career.

The game was marked by some truly odd moments, at one point Dustin Martin squirted his water bottle at his opponent and was promptly given a 50-meter penalty against him.

It was very dangerous from Dustin Martin squirting water like that, his opponent could have drowned or even worse, been attacked by a shark.

For Fremantle, their best player by a mile was the MCG goal post who repelled Tiger attack after Tiger attack, saving a certain six goals. I understand Fremantle have extended its contract for four years.

What was most amazing about this match was the amount of chances the Tigers gave Fremantle to get back into the game.

It was relentless. Time and again Richmond missed shots or turned the ball over. In the last minute Bachar Houli’s kick out up the centre was turned over and led to the game winning goal.

Blaming Houlu though is kind of like pointless given this was very much a team effort.

The Dockers can be happy with the win but this was hardly a massive return to form, if Richmond had kicked straight it would have been a worrying loss.

You don’t want to take false hope from this Docker fans, that’s the trap Richmond fans fall into, repeatedly.

Essendon (116) v Port Adelaide (129)

The Paddy Ryder Cup sure lived up to expectations, with Essendon not being as awful as expected and Port being not as good as expected.

It was a fun, free flowing affair with some of Essendon’s younger players showing some promise. Imagine if they hadn’t lost those other draft picks. Sad.

Port are still a bit mystifying, the have some great players but they seem to have lost that creativity they once had.

Fittingly, it was Paddy Ryder who lifted in the second half and kicked three goals in the last quarter.

James Hird dismissed Paddy Ryder’s match-winning final term as ‘lucky’ but then he would. Can’t give any credit to those who refuse the Kool-Aid.

Brisbane (38) v North Melbourne (110)

Hanley and Beams were outs for Brisbane and I was surprised the Lions just didn’t forfeit there and then. I bet the crowd of 15,563 wished they had. I certainly did.

Brisbane are so bad it must make Carlton fans feel better. They lack any forward line and seem to not really go for things like ‘structure’ or ‘a game plan’.

How did it get like this? A lot of it has to go to Michael Voss’ time as coach. The Fevola trade hangs over this club like an alcoholic fog.

Luckily they moved Voss on and now he’s ‘helping’ Port Adelaide, with similar results.

North were celebrating Brent Harvey’s 400th and they had time to stop and reflect on his career during the game, as often the Lions players appeared to be more part of the crowd celebrating the milestone than people actively involved in the match.

Western Bulldogs (104) v Collingwood (86)

Has any team on a five game losing streak ever been talked about as highly as Collingwood?

The Bulldogs are not exactly years ahead in their rebuild, in fact they’ve come from further back and at this stage they look like having a better bunch of players.

Collingwood fans will have at least have been happy with Darcy Moore’s performance. Five goals straight would have the Pies faithful wondering why their other players can’t do it. I’m sure that sort of accuracy can be trained out of him.

The Doggies are fast. It is actually exciting to watch them run out of defence, all supporting each other and creating options for their teammates. They also seem to have basic competency in kicking and handballing, a rare treat in football these days.

Bob Murphy should have been captain years ago. How Ryan Griffen go it over him is one of life’s great mysteries, like Stonehenge or Ryan Reynolds’ career.

There was a moment early in the game where the Bulldogs missed two easy set shots, only for Murphy to then step up and calmly slot one. It was leadership at its best.

Melbourne (46) v St Kilda (83)

When people talk about Melbourne improving it reminds me of when people spoke of Shane Watson’s potential. A mirage shrouded in smoke and hidden with mirrors.

Paul Roos is lucky his pay isn’t performance based. Roos has better players than Neeld had yet the improvement is marginal at best.

The players are still in the main, awful. Their skills are sub AFL level, their commitment lacking more often than not and they surrender faster than a great white facing off with Mick Fanning.

Roos talks about this like it’s somehow not related to his job. The only stat Melbourne are up in are excuses.

I don’t really care that the players are happier and having a great go of it at training. At the moment they are wasting their members’ time and money.

This was insipid football and any talk of improvement is just that, talk.

And don’t give me that ‘they could have won a few more if they’d kicked straight earlier’. They didn’t and that’s the problem with Melbourne, coulda, woulda, shoulda.

Speaking of improvement, no one talked about the Saints improving before the season but they’ve quietly gone about finding talented youngsters and improving their existing players.

St Kilda are not a top team but they put in the effort each game and were just wiling to outwork the Demons in this one.

West Coast (103) v Sydney (51)

Beating a lot of other teams is no way to prove you’re a good team Eagles! You have to pass some other test that I don’t really understand.

I’ve been on the Eagles bandwagon for a while now, mainly because they kept winning despite a lot of key injuries. That tells you a lot about a team.

They just keep passing the challenges that are put in front of them and I’m looking forward to when they take on Hawthorn.

Still, you do also have to wonder what’s happened to the Swans. Sure, they had their salary cap out due to injuries but that doesn’t explain the drop off in recent weeks.

I’m still not willing to write them off totally but they’d want to see a form turnaround pretty soon.

One thing that was disappointing about this was the constant booing of Adam Goodes.

It was a shame because it comes not long after Eagles fans showed enormous class towards the Adelaide players after their game.

I get the Goodes thing, he does stage occasionally but there has been a heap of players that do that and even though they occasionally get booed, this is next level stuff.

The other problem is that why some people do it for what may be ‘pure’ intentions, there are an awful lot of racists overtones mixing in with this. That’s never a good sign.

It’s like if you have a long held opinion and then suddenly Brian Taylor starts saying the same thing. You start questioning your own thinking on the topic and you definitely stop expressing it publicly.

I’m not trying to be preachy, I’m just saying be careful who you stand near in life, it means people sometime confuse you for something you’re not.

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  1. Chris_D_31

    TitusOReily The Brian Taylor analogy was a perfect summary of the booing debate U0001f44d

  2. Drewsa Fiedler

    I am going to have to steal that Kool-Aid bit.

  3. Longworth72

    TitusOReily Jesus Titus, you’re getting so good I’m just linking to your stuff to rebut arguments on serious stuff. Feels weird but good.

  4. Gary Bruce

    it will be interesting to see how Hawthorn go against a top 4 team they haven’t already played

  5. Pugs22

    Easily the best weekly footy review going around, always has me in stiches.  Wish they’d stich up the Goodes boo’ers as well; bloody drongos.

  6. Bonjour_Pippy

    TitusOReily Wayne Carey being Wayne Carey, priceless

  7. Annierees

    TitusOReily As an Eagles supporter, I concur absolutely. And feel quite embarrassed by the boo-ing.

  8. AndrewDeakin

    I was at the CarltonHawthorn game. After 10 minutes, most people around me began talking among themselves, occasionally looking up to see if anything was happening. Many did not return after the main break. In the second half, the procession of Hawthorn goals became so monotonous that spectators reacted to each addition to the scoreline with only a smattering of polite applause, before resuming their conversations. Some Carlton members discussed alternative spending options next year in lieu of their CFC membership. I’ve gone to each Carlton game in Melbourne this year. Last Friday was the most deathly Carlton match of the year, worse even than the notorious “witches hats” game against GWS. Friday night’s Blues match was a record-breaker in the Club’s history (largest ever loss), and for me personally, the worst entertainment spend that I have ever made. Nothing funny about that!

  9. James Chirgwin

    Mitch McPherson Elias Benjamin few home truths here

  10. phil crowden

    I find I’m now reading Titus instead of watching the so-called footy shows – it seems he is actually far ahead in analysis of current day football – great reading!

  11. GregJames

    Ah, O’Reily, you’ve done it again!! Great work on the Carey interview, too.

  12. misanthropicfcuk

    I’m starting to worry about you Titus. This was one of your best until you got to the Melbourne game, the humor went out the window and was replaced by the anger of someone who’s suffered over a decade of abuse at the hands of someone they love. 

    Maybe barack for the Dog’s this year and pass the writing for the Dee’s matches off to a trained monkey for awhile. I fear PTSD and Vietnam style flashbacks may suck the humor out of you completely and that would be a travesty of epic proportions.

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