The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Twenty One

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.

Western Bulldogs (95) v Collingwood (92)

Neither side deserved to lose this, even though it was great Collingwood did.

This was a thrilling game, which I don’t think is technically legal on Friday Night Footy.

Collingwood showed an impressive and unexpected level of heart, exemplified by Darcy Moore crashing head first into the LED signage around the boundary.

Despite a fair gash to his head, he managed to play out the rest of the game and also managed to avoid being fined by the AFL for placing advertising in danger.

The AFL needs to do a lot more to protect sponsor signage. Getting rid of all the players would be a good start.

The Bulldogs lacked urgency in this one and it was only the fact they are a class above the Pies that meant they could get away to leaving the hard work until the last minute.

Brisbane (99) v Carlton (95)

Oh dear. I thought we’d moved past this Carlton.

Their first half was Malthouse era stuff, with the Lions going into halftime with a 40-point lead.

It’s important to remember that the Lions aren’t good and the Blues embarked on a comeback in the third quarter, after Brendon Bolton told the team that despite his nice guy image, he would feel nothing when he got rid of players at the end of the season.

The fight back almost worked too, with Dale Thomas getting a set shot from the left forward pocket with two minutes remaining to put Carlton in front, but he missed.

It was like the expensive revenge of Mick Malthouse and further endeared Daisy to the Blues faithful.

So Brisbane hung on for a famous victory. Well, famous like a former contestant on The Voice is famous.

Hawthorn (96) v North Melbourne (57)

Going by the reaction to this performance, Hawthorn can’t win the Premiership.

History supports that view; being top of the ladder this late in the season is a tough position to be in.

In fact, no team that’s been top of the ladder at this stage has ever won the Premiership. I haven’t checked if that’s true but certainly no team going for its fourth premiership has (this may also not be true).

Despite Hawthorn being done for, their first quarter was solid with them booting eight goals to one.

Brad Scott showed why he’s one of the AFL’s keenest minds, saying after the match, “conceding a 46-point start makes it very difficult.”

North did fight back though. Boomer Harvey even whacked Sam Mitchell. It’s hard to take a side there but it made me wonder what Sam Mitchell’s ever done to deserve it. Oh, the kneeing. That’s right.

In the end, Hawthorn put the foot down and North just couldn’t go with them. It leaves the Kangaroos campaign to miss the eight alive and well.

Greater Western Sydney (96) v West Coast (97)

If GWS stuff up their positioning at the final stoppage and lose the game but no one is there to see it, did it really happen?

Oh, I do enjoy a good ‘Giants have no fans joke’, mainly because I get both of their fans complain to me every time about my material being old.

They’re right of course, ‘no fans’ jokes about the Giants are as old as the Giants themselves, so five years old.

And while it’s still true, I promise to refresh my material, stop doing them and start focusing on some new work about Richmond always finishing ninth, free kicks to Hawthorn, Collingwood fans having no teeth, Melbourne supporters being at the snow and Adelaide fans drinking chardonnay.

I’ve also got a heap of jokes about West Coast not being able to win away from home.

Yet, thanks to Nic Naitanui those jokes are ruined now. At the final stoppage in the dying seconds, he pushed off Shane Mumford, gathered and goaled, to win it for the Eagles.

Just pushing off Shane Mumford is impressive enough, the rest was just showing off.

It’s the moment when Nic finally emerges from Jack Watts shadow and is recognised as a great player in his own right.

For the Giants, the shock loss is less than ideal. It drops them to fifth and means a top four spot seems a lot less likely.

Heartbreaking for their fan.

St Kilda (76) v Sydney (146)

The Saints got a reality check against a team that was on a mission to win and win big.

The Swans played this like a final, knowing a top two finish is what’s need and St Kilda were just the unfortunate team that stood in their way.

Buddy Franklin is obviously an amazing player ‘with ball in hand’, as the commentators like to say but it’s his presence around the ball that impresses me the most.

He is brutal, crashing through opponents like an out of control jeep ploughing into a row of parked cars.

St Kilda played like a bunch of parked cars for a lot of this.

Their much vaulted pressure coming undone against a team that didn’t panic because someone was running at them.

It was just what the Swans needed too, a boost that pushes their percentage higher than Michael Talia.

Port Adelaide (54) v Melbourne (94)

The first half by Port Adelaide was some of the worst football I’ve seen this year.

They were simply embarrassing. Again.

So many Port players don’t do the defensive things. I’d never realised ‘the Port Adelaide way’ meant avoiding physical contact.

While it’s more fun to blame David Koch for everything, Ken Hinkley and the players must shoulder a lot of the blame.

At one point, Port had given away more fifty metre penalties than they’d scored goals. That was partly because the umpires now hand out fifty metre penalties like they’re condoms at the Olympic village but it was also the fact Port visited their forward fifty less than a dead beat dad visits their kids.

While parts of this weren’t pretty for Melbourne, to win in Adelaide after an emotional victory the week before and not playing their best, says more about their progress than the win against Hawthorn.

They even had players like Viney and Hogan having quiet nights and others stood up.

Now people are talking about them making finals, which means they’re dead certs to drop their game against Carlton.

Essendon (75) v Gold Coast (69)

What are the odds of Brisbane and Essendon both winning in the same week? About the same as an Aussie winning a Gold Medal in sprinting.

Yes, it was the Bombers second victory of the year and Melbourne fans celebrated with enormous relief at not being the only team to lose to Essendon this year.

Amazingly, the Bombers even did this without Brendon Goddard yelling and pointing at them.

Gold Coast will rue their inaccuracy but Essendon deserve the credit for not giving in and harassing the Suns all game.

As a Melbourne supporter, I know what Suns fans are going through, shame, panic eating, rocking back and forth in a darkened room with tears streaming down their face. We’ve all been there.

It just more evidence of the amazing turnaround under Rodney Eade continues.

To be fair, you can’t blame Rodney Eade for all the injuries, unless of course the players prefer being injured to spending time with Rodney, not the craziest theory I’ve ever floated. 

Richmond (78) v Geelong (82)

I wouldn’t wish being a Richmond supporter on my worst enemy, who coincidentally happens to be a Richmond supporter. Yes, I’m talking about you Janice.

Even by Richmond standards, this loss to the Cats was really something else.

At three quarter time I thought they couldn’t lose this that if they tried but it turned out the secret was not trying.

It was all going so well for the Tiges too, right until Chris Scott started doing some of that fancy coaching stuff that had the Richmond coaches’ box scratching their heads.

This was a Richmond fan’s life encapsulated in one single game.

So much so that experienced Tigers supporters knew at three quarter time it was a lost cause. They loaded up on drinks and curled into the tiniest ball possible.

While Geelong got out of this, the real question, like the nice ambulance officer once asked me, is how did you get into this position in the first place?

A stunning comeback is nice but against an actual AFL team it would have been impossible to do.

Peggy O’Neal promised Richmond fans stability and based on this, she can take a lot of credit for the fact everything is as it’s always been at Tigerland.

Fremantle (70) v Adelaide (142)

Well this was a handy little outcome for the Crows. A win in Perth and a big percentage boost.

Remember, Ross Lyon is a defensive specialist so the Dockers did exceptionally well to hold the Crows to 142 points. I’d hate to see what would happen to a side not coached by a defensive mastermind.

No wonder everyone wants out of the Dockers. It’s one thing to have to put up with Ross, another all together to do it while losing.

Adelaide on the other hand have no complaints. This was exactly what they needed.

They sit in third with a massive percentage and Port Adelaide next week. The last time people were this excited in Adelaide, South Australia had an economy.

Titus O’Reily is doing a live show 2nd September at Yarraville Laughs. Tickets on sale now at


  1. Demon Monk

    “Melbourne fans celebrated with enormous relief at not being the only team to lose to Essendon this year.” As a long suffering Dees supporter, this was more important than screwing up my tipping this week. How true!

  2. Where is the manure

    Spot on with the  Richmond comments.  I am a Tigers supporter and I knew we had blown it at three quarter time when I started hearing that we could not lose from here.  We just cannot resist that sort of challenge.

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