North Melbourne

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.

Hawthorn (86) v Port Adelaide (108)

Channel Seven should show the AFL more often on a Friday night, it’s a lot more interesting than those screwball comedies they’ve had on a lot this season.

This game had it all: skill, competitiveness and Luke Hodge trying to decapitate Chad Wingard.

It was really out of character from Hodge, unless of course you consider that elbow earlier in the year. Luckily, the commentators all quickly gave him glowing character references.

In response to the incident Alastair Clarkson said, “Just run the tape at full speed; (it’s a) hard game.”

He’s certainly right about that. At full speed, it looks even more dangerous and he’s correct about it being a hard game. It’s even harder if someone’s trying to take off your head using the point post and their elbow.

I blame Lite ‘n’ Easy which Hodge promotes. Eating that is going to make anyone a bit angry.

In fact, Hodge should just plead ‘hangry’ at the tribunal.

Wingard seemed to recover OK though with four crucial goals.

The were crucial because the Hawks had fought back to be just a point behind at the three-quarter break.

It was the Channel Seven commentary team’s barracking that got Hawthorn back in it.

Cameron Ling was especially supportive and I had to Google him to reassure myself that he had actually played for the Cats and not Hawthorn.

The Hawks will be very disappointed to have dropped this one. With the Eagles continuing to win, this makes the top two almost impossible. The good news for the Hawks is they don’t have to face the Power in the finals.

Hey, it just occurred to me that if Port played like this all year they’d be in the finals! Oh, forget I mentioned it Power fans.

I guess in the end Port just had more to play for in this one.

Collingwood (56) v Richmond (147)

It occurred to me while watching this that Travis Cloke is like having an extra defender. He takes plenty of marks in the forward fifty and ensures they don’t become goals. Why anyone plays a direct opponent on him baffles me. Let him go, I say.

I went to this game and while seeing the MCC full of Collingwood and Richmond supporters was jarring, it was nice to see people actually at the ‘G.

Collingwood were just awful. It’s like their goal is to make a late run for the wooden spoon. They won’t get there but you can’t question their lack of effort.

How bad were the Pies? Well they made Ty Vickery look like Gary Ablett Sr. That’s technically impossible to do. He ended up with six goals.

It was a great win for the Tiges but in reality it was more like simulated match practice in the end.

Greater Western Sydney (44) v Sydney (133)

The game that stops a nation was another example of just how well this expansion stuff is going.

The Giants were so poor and while I acknowledge they’ve got a lot of injuries, they still gave up way too easily once it became apparent the Swans had come to play.

How bad were the Giants? Well they made Kurt Tippett look like Gary Ablett Sr. Wait…

While the GWS have been disappointing on the field, at least they are such huge drawcards in attendance and ratings that it’s all been worth it.

The Swans to me are the wildcard of the finals. They haven’t been that good this year but there they are in fourth position.

Could they go the whole way? Probably not but if they do, let’s all pretend I predicted it right here.

The big question out of this game is now that Sydney have won the Battle of the Bridge, what they’re going to do with said bridge? They could toll it but the killjoys at the AFL are likely to ban them for doing that.

Perhaps they could ban both GWS fans from using it.

Gold Coast (97) v Essendon (95)

The only interest in this game was seeing if Hird’s sacking had any impact. Seems it did.

Is it possible the players didn’t really want to play for Hird despite them all saying they did?

I doubt players would ever lie about wanting their coach to the media. I’m sure if a journalist asked them publicly ‘Do you want your coach?’ a player would say, ‘Not really. He’s actually really bad and the quicker they sack him the better’.

After all, the coach is only the person that decides if you’ll play and where.

So against the Suns, the Bombers looked like they actually wanted to play football for the first time in months. It was actually nice to see.

Despite me approaching this game like a dental appointment, it actually turned out to be a pretty exciting game.

In fact, on-field conversationalist Jake Carlisle had the chance to kick a goal on the siren to win it but just missed.

It was lucky for the Suns he did; their season has been bad enough without losing to a team that doesn’t want to play football at the moment.

USA (97) v Geelong (97)

So one of the Saints players is an American. A North American to be geographically precise. You probably missed that because the commentators totally didn’t mention it every two-seconds.

I worry about an influx of Americans coming here and taking away our cushy AFL jobs.

Soon, we’ll have people from all sorts of cultures coming here and then we’ll have to hold some sort of ‘multicultural round’ and really old white guys will have to get all upset about it and then people on social media will be outraged about that and I just can’t even.

Still, the Saints played exceptionally well in this one, even if they are built with possibly illegal labour. They were just better for most of this game and the draw was a real blow.

Each week, I seem to write about how the Saints are decent because they try. It’s such an underrated thing in footy.

All the so-called experts bang on about stats like ‘handballs to stationary third cousins’ when really, effort is where it all begins and you can’t really measure it; you can only see it.

A draw is not ideal for Geelong, despite Channel Seven’s commentary team saying, ‘That’s a handy two points for the Cats.’ You know what’s better than two points? That’s right: four points.

As a result, I’ve done the calculations and Geelong now need to win the next two games and some other results and stuff need to happen for them to make the finals.

Adelaide (131) v Brisbane (44)

A massive win for Adelaide and just the percentage boost they needed as they look to cement themselves in the eight. Geelong’s draw didn’t hurt them either.

This was a good display for the Crows after smashing the Bombers the week before. They could have taken the foot off the pedal against Brisbane but they kept it up all game.

Adelaide now play West Coast then Geelong, with that last game possibly being important.

Brisbane were disgraceful.

How bad were the Lions? Well they made Tex Walker look like Gary Ablett Sr. They also made Eddie Betts look like him too. Man, I need to work on my comparisons.

Unlike some journalists, I actually rang Tom Rockliff after the loss. He said, ‘Who is this?’ and after I explained who I was, he said, ‘I’ve never heard of you and never call this number again’.

Always good for a quote is Tom.

North Melbourne (94) v Fremantle (83)

I’m eating a lot of humble pie as I write this. I’ve regularly written off the Kangaroos this season (last season too) but they really showed something in this one.

North were behind early and in the past they would have clocked off and mentally gone home. This week was different and it’s heartening to see if you’re a Kangaroos fan.

My favourite ruckman, Todd Goldstein, was huge for the Roos, battling Sandilands all afternoon and booting two crucial goals.

Could North be the real deal? It’s possible but I don’t know if I can yet bring myself to say it.

Fremantle seemed to struggle without Matthew Pavlich and the afternoon was further soured by Nat Fyfe being reported.

The only thing that seems to match Fyfe’s attack on the ball is his ferocious desire not to win a Brownlow. Personally, I’m with him there. An evening of hearing someone reading out names and numbers is my idea of hell.

So much so that I’ve devoted my life to also not winning a Brownlow too and without wanting to brag, I’m well on my way to achieving it. So is Fyfe who will probably get suspended either for this or something else in the next fortnight.

Carlton (78) v Melbourne (55)

Carlton v Melbourne on free-to-air shows why the TV channels ponied up $2.5 billion. What a terrific game!

It showed that lacking footballing ability need not be a barrier to an AFL career.

Before the game, Levi Casboult was announced as an out and I was sure the Blues were tanking. Maybe they were. Given a target, the Blues usually seem to miss it and maybe they did here.

After the game, Steven Trigg probably came into the room and said, ‘I told you to lose! Lose!’

To be fair, tanking against Melbourne is hard. They are so much better at giving up than anyone else in the league. I used to think they gave up when things got hard but the last two weeks showed they give up before anything has even happened.

Consider that the Blues also lost Murphy, Kreuzer and Michael Jamison in the second half and still won handily.

The saddest thing about this from Melbourne is it’s so routine. A game that seems to be winnable against a terrible opponent and they are frankly, embarrassing.

I had someone say I was too harsh on them and a supporter should support them. Support what? At the end of it all these players deserve no quarter. I can handle the losing; I think I’ve more than proven that but I can’t accept what these guys are serving up.

By the way, Melbourne coming back a little in the third is nothing great. Playing one quarter is not something to point to as a positive.

Carlton fans should be thrilled not only for the win but for the continuing emergence of Patrick Cripps. Finally, a successful recruit. Miracles can happen.

West Coast (162) v Western Bulldogs (85)

The Eagles are getting so good that the Melbourne clubs will start calling for them to be stripped of something soon.

West Coast’s midfield is so deep and their key forwards provide wonderful structure in their offensive 50 (I don’t really know what this means but I think it sounds good).

One more win for them and they will host a qualifying final at home. Oh the whinging from Victoria is really going to go up a notch this year. Something about Perth makes them go nuts.

You’d think it was a thirty-hour flight to a third world country the way they carry on. I’ve made the flight multiple times. Sure, I haven’t had to play an elite sport after the flight but I did have a particularly long lunch after one and managed it no problem.

The Bulldogs were good for most of this but then drifted out of the contest late.

There’s no shame in that, though. The flight to Perth is brutal and the accommodation is positively third world.

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  1. Snert Underpant

    Splendid effort Titus! I can’t help but wonder how poor Simon Goodwin is going to get out of this Melbourne coaching succession plan? It’s like signing up on a three year mobile phone deal and finding out you have no reception before your phone even arrives.

  2. peterdbarney

    TitusOReily “just plead hangry”. Thank you for that line this morning. #makingmondaysmanagable

  3. mainy66

    TitusOReily I think lingy might be applying for an asst coach role at the Hawks!

  4. Geoff Schaefer

    I seemed to recall when Paul Roos was initially approached to coach Melbourne he said he wasn’t really interested. The Board should have taken him at his word. He’s not…

  5. tassie_JR

    What are we going to do when the footy season is over?

  6. AB_ThatsMe

    Only one mistake. 9/10
    P.S. Melb 3rd qtr because it’s the premiership qtr said Roosy

  7. Bonjour_Pippy

    TitusOReily Re Hodge. Wouldn’t you rather see Hawks get a 3 peat then then teams almost in another country? Hodge only player to get 3 wks!

  8. t01132715

    TitusOReily it’s baffling but I agree with everything you say all the time Titus #crylaughing

  9. MichaelLalor

    I’m puzzled. How can Roosy get away with the slaughter Melbourne have been experiencing under his Coaching? Yet earlier in the season Malthouse gets crucified for leading Carlton basically down the same path. We all know Mick wasn’t exactly a media darling but still that doesn’t excuse the lack of scutiny of Roos.

  10. Cameron Johns

    Judy Johns Connor Pearton Kacey Curtis Callum Walker Bailey Tyson

  11. Billious

    Give Roosy a break how would any of you go doing your job when you have to find ways to utilise a million a year effectively.  Multi tasking never was a male thingo.

  12. Billious

    Channel seven commentary team proves it’s not what you say it’s how you say it that counts.  Engaging brain before mouth other than when the delicious one is in full flight is not exactly a strength of them is it.  The collective IQ  of the team would surprise everyone especially themselves.

  13. Mick_EFC

    MichaelLalor Honestly I think everyone’s bored of the Dee’s woes and also acknowledges that the problem goes deeper than just the coaching. No team has had as many high draft picks as Melbourne and gone absolutely nowhere with those concessions. 

    I’m not a superstitious person but it’s almost like the club’s built on an ancient Aboriginal burial ground.

  14. Mick_EFC

    tassie_JR Watch the repeats on Fox Footy to annoy the women in our lives.

  15. kellyexeter

    TitusOReily I think this might be your best ever. Needed the laugh today!

  16. Nathan Vernon

    This guy is gold, give this a read Whadjuk Nollamara Michelle Sandison

  17. Michelle Sandison

    I should have been onto him all season, great wrap up of the round!

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