The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Sixteen

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.

North Melbourne (93) v Essendon (68)

This is the beginning of North Melbourne’s run of easy teams, not that they made it look easy.

In fact, they started off making Melbourne fans feel a little better about the week before.

This was one of many horrid games on the weekend and it’s sure to have people calling for ‘zones’ or other such nonsense. The truth is neither side could hit a target it it was their job (which technically it is).

I don’t think zones would fix that, unless you just want a bunch of guys in one zone turning it over to another bunch of guys in another zone. Would be more like volleyball really, just a ball going backwards and forwards.

It’s hard to convey in the written word just how bad the skill level was, let’s just say, when there was a bit of a melee at halftime, no one could hit a target in that either.

North Melbourne are basically Todd Goldstein with a weird supporting cast. He is so good and just works all day, if the rest of North had his consistency they could go all the way and lose to Hawthorn in the Grand Final.

Boomer Harvey was back in the starting line up just ahead of his 400th game after starting as sub last week. Word is the club will organise another ‘raffle’ for him to win this week as a way of saying thanks and avoiding those pesky salary cap rules.

Essendon showed they are having a go with a depleted cast but it’s hard to look past the fact they are ordinary.

One thing the Bombers probably need to think about is having a ruckman. I know it’s an innovative and new position but some other teams seem to be having some success with it.

Geelong (72) v Western Bulldogs (64)

The Bulldogs took the chopper down to Geelong for what should have been a win that cemented their rise. Unfortunately, the game showed they still have a bit to go.

This was the first of numerous non-descript games on Saturday. I watched them all and I still have no explanation as to why I did. A lack of a social life probably the main cause.

Geelong are like an old prizefighter, they may not have the power and speed of their prime but they still know a few tricks.

Without Joel Selwood, who was out for his Chris Judd impression last week, Josh Caddy and Mitch Duncan stepped up, with Steven Motlop being the difference when it mattered.

It will be interesting to see if the Bulldogs can bounce back against the Pies next week. They looked tired and who can blame them? We’re all a bit tired right now plenty of late nights with The Ashes, Tour de France, the British Open and shark punching all on each night.

At least it was nice of the English to give us tonight off.

Gold Coast (79) v Greater Western Sydney (94)

I felt this game lacked NRL stars. Surely the AFL can put aside a few dollars for them?

This was fairly close, showing the impact of Gary Ablett on the Suns and a host on injuries to the Giants.

Gary put on another master class (or as he calls them ‘a normal game’) to remind the doubters that he is the best player in the league.

He had 30 possessions, 17 tackles, nine clearances and three goals. Seventeen tackles! That’s Jack Watts’ career total.

It’s like he just decided to do it, “Let’s just test out the old shoulder.”

The Giants luckily don’t just rely on one player, which is where they have the edge on the Gold Coast.

Led by household name Devon Smith, who booted 4 goals and three of them when it counted, the Giants managed to edge out the Suns.

I really should get to know the Giants players some more. At the moment my mind just sees Heath Shaw, Shane Mumford, Jeremy Cameron and then a host of Joshs, Cams and Adams. I guess that’s still a better working knowledge than everyone in Sydney.

Collingwood (56) v West Coast (87)

Each week I read people saying ‘this week is going to be the test for the Eagles’ and every week the Eagles pass. Still, I guess playing Hawthorn is the only test that matters, which they do in Round 19.

For the Pies, this was another case of close but no Winnie Blues.

Collingwood lost Travis Cloke early with a calf strain and while it may have improved the team’s accuracy, it did take away someone to kick in the general direction of.

The defeat means the Pies now slip out of the eight and I blame a lack of hugging. The Pies need to have a lot more public displays of affection, perhaps spooning would help.

The Eagles didn’t emerge unscathed either with young star Jeremy McGovern doing his hammy in another blow to the Eagles defence.

Being a West Coast Eagles defender this season is like being a drummer in Spinal Tap, I wouldn’t be shaving or gardening if I was one of them.

This was another game which showed just how bad the video score review is. What’s the point of technology if it makes things harder? In that sense, the Video Review System is like an Apple Watch, expensive and serving no real purpose.

Sydney (57) v Hawthorn (146)

The worst thing about Hawthorn’s continued success is that it creates more Hawks fans. Like when bushfires create lightning, which causes more bushfires.

Last week, the reigning Premiers made short work of the supposed contenders, Fremantle and this week they took care of their other big threat.

What was staggering is that it wasn’t even close. The Hawks took apart the Swans with the ferocity of a group of teenage boys eating a bucket of KFC. IT was horrifying and amazing to watch at the same time.

In fact, ANZ Stadium proved the only opposition to the Hawks with Jarryd Roughead sliding across exposed metal bolts behind the goals, tearing his jumper and leaving a mark.

ANZ Stadium is the worst place on earth. If people are serious about not having refugees come here, we shouldn’t be sending them offshore, send them here. I suppose even Australia’s politicians have limits.

Personally, I would have liked to get the Hawks to demolish ANZ Stadium after they’d finished with the Swans.

Sydney will be reeling after this and those freshly healed scars from the 2014 Grand Final will have been ripped right open. This was an insipid performance, with less life in it than the freshly mapped Pluto.

Buddy Franklin was again the only bright spot, while the expensive Jesse White, Kurt Tippett, finished with eight possessions.

To think people were once upset Sydney had managed to poach him. Like many things in life, these things don’t always turn out the way you think.

Sydney will be a bit nervous with Ted Richards reported for striking Sam Mitchell. In fairness though, I’m sure it was just an instinctive attempt by Richards to protect himself.

The only question left now is can anyone beat the Hawks? Box Hill might be competitive on a good day. It seems that unfortunately we are all just living in Hawthorn’s world right now.

Fremantle (95) v Carlton (53)

Fremantle may have won this but they hardly sent a message that they’re back. They in fact seemed to struggle early against a side that can be at best described as ‘a work in progress’.

Carlton were in fact within 21 points at three-quarter time, which almost deserves four points or at least an elephant stamp.

The win also saw the Dockers lose Hayden Ballantyne for the rest of the season with a ruptured pectoralis major tendon. If I’m not mistaken that’s a knee.

It’s a big blow to the popular player and opposition supporters will be quick to send their support.

Apart from the win, the only real positive that came out of this was the ability for Ross Lyon to see Carlton up close.

Surely this will have cured him of any thoughts of going there. It’s now only Leon Cameron who needs to sleep with one eye open.

The Blues take on Hawthorn next Friday in a game that promises to be bloodier than all the Saw movies combined. Great scheduling AFL and best to not let children see that one.

Melbourne (60) V Brisbane (36)

Shoot me.

That’s all I could think watching this. Zones would fix this one but not on the ground, a relegation zone.

You really have to wonder what these teams do at training all week. Obviously it’s not skills.

This game is the bastard child of expansion, filed with a host of players who in the past would have been in the VFL or SANFL but are now playing in an allegedly professional competition.

Melbourne started strong but as they always do they let their opponent back into the game.

Jesse Hogan booted four and was a rare bright spot for Dees fans who were pretty frustrated at their side’s magical ability to go missing for significant parts of a game.

Lucky for Melbourne they were playing Brisbane, a side that seemed to out-Melbourne Melbourne.

Where Melbourne had a forward target, Brisbane had nothing. They just ran around in circles until they turned it over, so for about two seconds.

At the end of this, I was ready to give up on football altogether, then the Showdown happened

Port Adelaide (113) v Adelaide (116)

After watching Dees v Lions, the Showdown reminded me why I actually like football, it was emotion charged, as was expected but it was also an exciting game of footy.

Adelaide took the momentum early and it was exciting stuff, a high level of skill and end-to-end running. But it was Port’s ‘we will never give up’ attitude that made this a classic.

The Crows were fading fast and it set up a thrilling ending with Robbie Gray pulling the Power to within a kick with a minute to go.

I was so excited I was on my feet, spilling a bowl of nachos on the floor, which I should really clean up when I get home tonight.

When the siren went we had a fitting tribute to Phil Walsh, a game where every single player had left it all on the field.

It was brutal for the Port players, they had an incredibly close relationship with Walsh too but in some ways it couldn’t have been scripted any better, two teams both reeling, giving it their all in a game that will be remembered forever.

St Kilda (73) v Richmond (89)

If you had any emotional reserves left after the Showdown, Maddie’s Match would have finishing you off.

It was a fitting tribute for Nick Riewoldt’s late sister Madeleine and the whole footy community were pretty happy Nick got up for this game after injury threatened to knock him out.

I thought Richmond should win this, which is why I was positive they could lose but they proved me right/wrong but only just.

Dustin Martin was very good again and Brett Deledio showed again why he’s Richmond’s most important player.

While Richmond seemed to have things in hand, the Saints continued their trend of working hard all game.

In the last quarter, the Saints booted six goals to none. I could sense the Richmond fans gathering their heads in their hands and going through the coping exercises their psychologist had been teaching them.

Despite not even being a Tigers fan I felt a sense of dread too, although that could have been hunger as I was after all now nacholess.

Luckily for Richmond, St Kilda had left their run too late and the Tigers faithful could breath an alcoholic sigh of relief.

Richmond now take on Fremantle then Hawthorn on the MCG in the next fortnight, hold onto the bandwagon’s safety rails Tiger fans, it could get bumpy.

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  1. Nigel Cambridge

    Your database could get a run in the Lions’ side. “Error establishing connection.”

  2. Geoff Schaefer

    I’m sure it’s the usual fine literary effort Titus, but your internet link is working as well as Travis Cloke’s goal kicking…

  3. kevindevries

    Will “took the chopper” become the Australian version of “jumped the shark?

  4. Aaron Wilson

    He’s saying the expensive Jesse white, meaning Kurt tippet is nothing but a more expensive version of white!

  5. Dominic Papasergio


  6. Stej Bosnjak

    “One thing the Bombers probably need to think about is having a ruckman. I know it’s an innovative and new position but some other teams seem to be having some success with it”
    This reminds me of Mike Sheehan when he said in 2010 the Ruckman position was dead

  7. Huw Dann

    That’s again Titus. Great read. Small correction – Hogan only kicked 4. Unless you’re also counting his point. Which given the standard of the game, probably was worth celebrating.

  8. Paul Noble

    I didn’t get it either! LolU0001f633 thanks for the explanation!!

  9. Malcolm Makkinga

    If Kurt Tippett is mistaken for Jesse White, then he is an expensive waste.

  10. cotchinsoda

    TitusOReily Not sure how many Herald Sun readers will get your Spinal Tap reference, but I loved it.

  11. Drewsa Fiedler

    Great stuff. Do the West Coast Eagles have any defenders nicknamed ‘stumpy’ ??

  12. drummo7

    cotchinsoda TitusOReily John “Stumpy” Pepys. Or did he wear no.53 for Fitzroy?

  13. cotchinsoda

    drummo7 TitusOReily Tall blond geek? Bizarre gardening accident?

  14. Titus O'Reily

    Cheers, I must have dreamt it in an attempt to find a positive in the game.

  15. nick2121

    Oh, are you saying that the ANZ Stadium is NOT currently a detention centre?
    I watched the match on Saturday night from the comfort of my arm-chair and I had assumed the Hawks were playing a team of 22 illegal Moroccan immigrants being detained there. Hmmm, no wonder Sam el-Reid is blonde, here I was thinking he didn’t look at all arabic. Plus, I think a team of illegal Moroccan immigrants would have put up a much better show.
    Anyway, thanks for clearing that up, I had been mystified about the whole match and dreadful Arabic football display  for a couple of days now. Ended up being the Sydney Swans, not detainees, which explains why they were so bad.

  16. Geoff Schaefer

    Special effort this week Titus! Gold star and a box of Fantales.

  17. Phil Johnson

    Michael Stene u should read this n follow his page. Good read.

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