The Tuesday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round 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.

Carlton (78) v Richmond (105)

While it was disappointing not to have the opening round split over several months, it was nice to have the footy back.

Even a Carlton/Richmond match up didn’t dent my excitement.

It was sad that only one team got to lose this one after both tried so hard to.

Within minutes of the opening bounce we had Brett Deledio reported for a bump on Simon White and Dale Thomas going off with a dislocated shoulder.

The Collingwood supporters on social media exploded in sympathy for Daisy, which was heart warming.

Carlton jumped all over Richmond early and it looked like the Tigers were mentally still back at Adelaide Oval wondering what the hell had happened.

However, Carlton are still Carlton and the Tigers fought back with the wonderfully named Kamdyn McIntosh leading the charge.

Seriously Kamdyn? We may as well give up on spelling all together. Won’t be long until we have a player called Ds!lfmer; Smith.

Jack Riewoldt broke out later in the game with four goals in a performance that meant a lot, given his recent tough times.

The optically challenged Mick Malthouse would be furious with his charges and their inability to go near their opponents.

I blame the hovercraft. The Blues players took the hovering thing a bit too seriously.

Remember Carlton, winning is the best match day experience.

Melbourne (115) v Gold Coast (89)

A new Melbourne season is like going out in public with your family. You hope they don’t embarrass you but you’re generally resigned to it.

This time however it felt like you’d been given a much-improved version of your family.

Like when Marty McFly returns to the present day after taking care of Biff in the first Back to the Future.

What do you call it when you’ve watched your team play and you’re not sad beyond words? It was the question going through my mind as I left the ground.

The game had some spite early on, when Matt Shaw was reported after a late spoil on Melbourne’s Dean Kent that left Kent bleeding.

It was a key moment and Melbourne responded by drawing a line in the snow and led at the quarter time break.

I thought singing ‘It’s a Grand Old Flag’ at that point was a bit over the top but the Demons fans were up and about.

The Demons were impressive by Demon standards. There were still plenty of skill errors but the innovative strategy of recruiting competent AFL footballers seems to be paying off.

For the Suns, this was a worrying performance. They had lots of outs but there seemed a lack of intensity for large parts of the game.

You feel that losing Karmichael Hunt was a real problem as he would have been definitely able to give the Suns a lift.

Gary Ablett showed that he’s a better player than almost everyone in the AFL by playing with just one arm.

After the game, Rodney Eade said he thinks the Suns are still a couple of years away from finals, which is not what his Chairman has said. Trouble in paradise.

Sydney (72) v Essendon (60)

Essendon set out to achieve the rare ‘have 34 players cleared by a tribunal then win on the weekend’ double.

It was a big ask, especially considering Sydney had almost played in the Grand Final last year.

It had rained all today and conditions were tough, however this meant nothing to master coach James Hird, who had once seen out a pretty tough French winter.

This confidence showed, with the Bombers all over the Swans and with a 41-point advantage late in the third.

The Swans looked like they had forever left their footballing ability back in the 2014 Preliminary Final.

However, the Swans had Buddy Franklin and Kurt Tippett and as they say, the big men don’t get any shorter.

They also had Isaac Heeney, who was illegally grown in a test tube in one of the Swans’ clandestine footballing academies.

The fourth quarter saw Sydney boot seven goals to nothing, showing that Essendon’s aversion to writing things down extends to a game plan.

It was like they hadn’t bothered to do a preseason. Weird.

Brisbane (74) v Collingwood (86)

After Dayne Beams had fled north faster than a Victorian retiree, Collingwood were out for revenge.

Despite the fact people were talking about Brisbane like they were their 2003 team, Collingwood actually made fairly short work of them.

Brisbane did come back late, when Collingwood were very tired and kicked the last seven goals of the game.

The damage had already been done though and not just on the scoreboard

A Travis Varcoe knee had left Tom Rockliff with broken ribs and a punctured lung.

It looked so painful that I had sore ribs straight after seeing it but that could have been the two family sized pizzas I’d eaten. OK, three.

Western Bulldogs (97) v West Coast (87)

The battle of the West and the Really Far West, turned out to be well worth watching.

Who knew football at Etihad Stadium could be exciting?

Given almost every West Coast Eagles player is injured, it was difficult to judge how they were going to go.

It was similar for the Bulldogs after almost everyone had left last year and the only person who joined had to be paid in Shane Watson dollars.

This was a rapid, back-and-forth affair with both side giving it their all.

The Bulldogs did especially well considering their highest paid player plays for GWS.

In the end the Bulldogs made the most of their considerably higher chances and started the season on a high that they can now descend from.

St Kilda (78) v Greater Western Sydney (87)

Who was fired up for this game? The people in GWS’ marketing team? AFL executives?

Not exactly a game that would have either side confident of their chances this season.

The Giants did enough to win but not much more, while the Saints looked like a team of fairly honest triers but with little to worry any opposition.

Riewoldt looked good, considering he hadn’t played in the preseason but a bump that sent him to hospital must have had Saints fans wondering what they had done to deserve this sort of karma.

Adelaide (140) v North Melbourne (63)

Now this was the sort of performance that will give Crows supporters a lot of false confidence for the season.

Not since Richmond showed up to watch the 2014 Preliminary Final, had Adelaide Oval seen an effort like North’s.

The Kangaroos gave us the full range of Brad Scott’s facial expressions; shocked, bewildered, what’s that guy doing over there? And why is this happening to me?

The only positive thing you can say about North’s performance is that it’s only round one.

They just have some work to do on their skills, offence, defence, stoppages, tackling and effort. Minor things really.

For Adelaide this was amazing. They played good defensive football and then used that as a base for attack.

Dangerfield showed why he will be playing for six different teams next season, if the Internet is to be believed.

Tex Walker kicked six goals and when he had his shirt ripped off at one point the Adelaide Oval was so loud you’d think Port were playing.

Fremantle (75) v Port Adelaide (68)

One day, the AFL will be popular enough to have games like this on free-to-air.

Unfortunately, few people actually got to see what was the best game of the round.

This was tense, exciting football with both sides disciplined enough to make the opposition accountable but also willing to take chances when required.

Turns out Matthew Pavlich is quite good, he kicked four goals and a player no one ever mentions, Nat Fyfe, had 31 disposals and a goal.

For Port, Ollie Wines had 27 touches and two goals, Brad Ebert had 34 possessions and Robbie Gray threw in a lazy 31 touches.

In the end, Fremantle edged out the Power by taking their chances but both sides should feel pretty good about the season ahead.

Hawthorn (123) v Geelong (69)

So obviously this season is a write off for Geelong. It’s very hard to get things back on track when there are only 22 rounds left.

Luckily for Cats fans, they’ll have Mitch Clark’s Instagram feed as a distraction this week.

This season was always going to be a hard for Geelong without Travis Varcoe but beyond that they were also terrible.

Hawthorn bullied them, out ran them and displayed a chasm in skill.

The Hawks sent a very clear message to the rest of the competition ‘we can beat Geelong in round one by a lot. A lot.’

Can the Hawks keep it up? I imagine they’ll find it a lot tougher against other top eight sides like GWS, the Bulldogs and Melbourne.

Jordan Lewis had a game-high 35 possessions and the rest of the Hawks looked like the Harlem Globetrotters out there.

It’s going to be a tough year dealing with Hawks fans.

They are a bit like European wasps, with no cold winters to kill them off, they just keep growing in number, ruining many a good BBQ and irritating everyone.

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  1. Bob Kilgour

    At last, at last, the natural order of the universe has been restored. We’re back into the footy season and Titus is back with the knee-jerk reaction and the Hawks are off to a great start (had to put that in to be “irritating”). The off-season has been made all the longer for me by the fact that the Australian Cricket Team no longer interests me but, with Titus back with his tongue jammed firmly in his cheek, the pain has gone away

  2. Goldie

    good read that, short and to the point. had a good laugh.

    ps. how good did the Hawks look 🙂

  3. The Hat

    Agree the Suns missed Harmichael. You just feel he would have got them over the line.

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