The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Twenty-Two

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.

West Coast (92) v Hawthorn (67)

The battle of wounded knee, with both Nic Naitanui and Jonathan Ceglar going down with serious knee injuries in the third quarter. They both won’t play again this season.

Can the Eagles win the Premiership without Naitanui? Well, they couldn’t win it last year with him, so probably not.

A loss in Perth isn’t insurmountable for the Hawks and neither is the loss of Ceglar.

They did it last season and still won but it does add to the narrative about their general decline. As an aside, people who use the word narrative are the worst.

What about dictators and murderers you say? Nope. People who say ‘what’s the narrative’ in meetings should be placed into a giant cannon and fired into the sun.

I’d like to be as confident as I am about the Eagle that the Hawks can’t win the Premiership but I’m not.

Just the idea of fourthorn keeps me awake at night.

I even went for a walk at three in the morning, such was my inability to sleep and I got pulled over by the police.

They asked me what I was up to and I said I was worrying about fourthorn. They wordlessly both gave me a hug and drove me home and let me play with their tasers and firearms until I eventually drifted off to sleep.

North Melbourne (76) v Sydney (85)

North Melbourne showed for the first time in several months that they are actually mildly interested in playing finals.

I mean, they didn’t win or anything crazy like that but it turns out they didn’t need to, Melbourne did them a huge favour by just being Melbourne.

Clinching a spot in the eight is not exactly cause for celebration for the Kangaroos.

They’ve won two games in the past ten weeks and the phrase ‘making up the numbers’ should be on their marketing for the finals.

Swans fans would be thrilled with the win, especially given the early injury scare to Buddy and North actually dominating a lot of areas of the game.

They got it done and now sit in first spot. While not easy, it’s possible to win the premiership from there.

Sydney now plays Richmond at the SCG, the perfect opportunity to rest up, practise some set plays and get ready for the finals.

Richmond (46) v St Kilda (55)

This was a scrappy affair, that is to say ‘a couple of levels below VFL’.

After their horror performance last week, the Tigers were keen to show some fighting spirit.

Their big problem was there was another team out on the field. The other team wasn’t much better but they made things harder than say, when you talk tough at media conferences.

Richmond’s first half was comically inept and the second half wasn’t much better.

The third quarter was just terrible for all involved and by the fourth, I was so drunk I could barely sit up straight and kept hearing the Curb Your Enthusiasm music after every turnover, so continuously.

Despite the win, St Kilda also had Paddy McCartin go down again with another injury, this time a broken right collarbone. He gets injured as often as Robert Allenby gets kidnapped.

Greater Western Sydney (129) v Fremantle (37)

Please someone end this Dockers’ season. Can we do what they did last year and not participate in Round 23? I just don’t think I can watch another game.

The Dockers’ season was dead on arrival and then seems to have died a few more times along the way.

The weekend was just another example.

A 92-point loss to the Giants was probably to be expected, given Ross Lyon decided to only play Lachie Neale. He gave it his best shot, with 40 possessions, 11 tackles and a goal.

I’m not sure where the rest of the Freo team were; I assumed like most people they had better things to do.

There’s not a lot to read into this for the Giants. They did everything they need to do and now they face North Melbourne next week ahead of their inaugural finals. I bet their two fans are getting totally amped.

Collingwood (118) v Gold Coast (47)

Let’s hope this is the big win that fills Collingwood with the false hope to not make too many changes over the offseason.

It’s a measure of how bad the Suns currently are that the Pies looked like an exciting, competent side in this one.

Nathan Buckley has come out and said if the Pies don’t play finals next year he is done for. We all already knew that though; he’s not Damien Hardwick.

Apparently the Suns spent all of last week in Melbourne to prepare for this. They must have prepared in some of the back alley bars Melbourne specialises in, if this performance is anything to go by.

They were horrific and not even entertainingly so.

Eade complained a lot after the game but in fairness, there is a fair bit to complain about with injuries out there. It’s just, I think he’d complain a lot if there weren’t too.

Port Adelaide (94) v Adelaide (109)

Speaking of firing people into the sun, the Port fan who threw a banana at Eddie Betts is a prime candidate.

The way Port reacted and a lot of their fans too was heartening though. Port even used the word racism in their statement, something the AFL couldn’t bring itself to do.

The AFL’s response itself was as weak as their response to the Goodes situation, showing that they are still paralysed when it comes to the issue of racism, preferring to do what most of us do in relation to Roxy Jacenko and pretend it doesn’t exist.

The Betts incident shows what a lie all the Goodes stuff was about him bringing it on himself. You couldn’t have a more different personality type than Betts and it still happened.

What brings it on is the fact there are racists. It’s right to challenge these incidents and condemn them publicly.

When people bang on about ‘do gooders’ or ‘left wing agenda’ they make out being anti-racism is in some way an odd position to take, rather than say, what decent people, the vast majority of us, do instinctively.

It really overshadowed a great game in which Ollie Wines did everything he could to will the Power over the line.

Unfortunately for the Power, the Crows are several levels above them this year and it showed.

Carlton (78) v Melbourne (58)

You know, this was actually a relief. I was feeling quite stressed about how you actually procure finals tickets these days. It’s been a decade since I needed to. Do you still use BASS? Do I need to fax in a form?

It’s also great because this keeps the annual tradition of September Holidays alive for Dees fans. I booked mine for this year back in January.

January 2011.

In some ways, it’s a pleasant change to only be counted out of the finals in Round 22 and not Round 2 of the NAB Challenge, as is usually the case for Melbourne. On the other hand, this was typical Melbourne.

With everything on the line they were hopeless. Just hopeless.

They couldn’t hit a target, they couldn’t kick for goal and they had the same weird lethargy that came over them against the Bombers.

Melbourne keep telling us it’s going to change and things have improved but this really crushed my soul into a million tiny pieces. Just kidding, I don’t have a soul.

It was the bruise free footy the Blues once accused them of. Cripps basically scared them away from the ball.

Time and again, the Blues won the ball and just ran. They also learnt early on that applying the slightest pressure causes the Dees to turn it over.

In the end, Carlton just had more to play for I guess, what with nothing on the line for them but pride.

Brisbane (69) v Geelong (129)

Geelong were never going to lose this but it’s disappointing the they didn’t run up a bigger score.

Rhys Mathieson had an interesting duel with Joel Selwood. He was obviously excited to meet his hero, the man who inspired him to also be a serial ducker.

Selwood didn’t really appreciate the close attention and mocked him at one stage with the ‘gunshot’ goal celebration Mathieson did when the Lions kicked what I think was their only goal of the season.

The Cats would be disappointed though to see Melbourne dropped their game against Carlton. The Cats face them next week and it’s always better facing the Dees when they’ve got something to play for.

Essendon (53) v Western Bulldogs (93)

Rounding out a fairly uninspiring round was this classic.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Bulldogs performance without a severe injury and this time it was Easton Wood going off with a potentially season-ending ankle injury.

They don’t do injuries by half down at the Kennel.

What they really need is a someone to get rid of the evil spirits that are obviously haunting Whitten Oval. Holy water is good or a dream catcher. The only problem with dream catchers is you might attract Jarryd Hayne.

The Bombers were really just the 2016 Bombers. They tried but lack AFL players, something they expect to turnaround in 2017.

Essendon fans will be thrilled this season is almost over and they can return to their more recent role of being a middle of the table team.

See Titus Live

2nd September at Yarraville Laughs. Tickets on sale now

8th September at The Comedy Store. Tickets on sale now


  1. JoeBoyer

    I don’t think the Bombers are going to return to be a middle-of-the-table next year.  Half the side won’t have played any football for 15 months, the other half haven’t played any competitive football for even longer, and the two halves have barely played with each other before. It will be years Essendon make the finals again is my prediction.

  2. dpallen

    Love your work, Titus — that Jarryd Hayne line could be your all-time best!

    But for the love of Ablett, get yourself an editor. If you’re gonna be on the grog all weekend, you need someone to clean up your there/they’re/theirs on a Monday.

  3. LeeRooy

    I concur with dpallen, spelling errors detract from the humour.  Your comedy is solid, but ripping people loses its edge if riddled with typos. Great Knee Jerk though, all in all.

  4. TheGoffy

    I’m pretty sure since it was in Adelaide, it’s called a checkside, not a banana.

  5. bloodspirit

    Is it just me or have the Tigers and Dees swapped spiritual roles in the game?

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