Mar 16, 2022


A highly unhelpful guide to Round One


The only guide to the round that admits it’s completely unhelpful. What it lacks in insight, it makes up for with wild theories and detours onto unrelated topics.

It’s your unhelpful guide to Round One.


Melbourne vs. Western Bulldogs (MCG) 7:10pm Seven/Fox

Well, I’m back.

I took a bit of a break from writing; for some reason, two years of pandemic seamlessly morphing into World War Three made me feel in desperate need of some time off.

But I missed you all. Well, almost all.

I didn’t miss the people who, during my break, would say to me, ‘2020, 2021 and 2022 are the worst three years in my lifetime Titus.’

“OK, we’re just pretending the Hawthorn threepeat never happened, are we?” I’d reply.

I was usually met with blank stares at this point, which I can only assume is due to people realising the truth in my words.

Never forget just how bad that threepeat was.

For Melbourne fans, even imminent nuclear war hasn’t dampened the joy of last year’s premiership; if anything, it feels like they got one in before last drinks were called.

This year’s AFL season starts with a Grand Final rematch, rather than the more traditional ‘Carlton sacrificed at the ‘G’ ritual.

Apparently, these two teams have a heated rivalry due to some unpleasantness over a song called ‘Freed From Desire’.

To be honest, I’d never heard of the song until this all blew up.

That’s not surprising; my music tastes are so old that when I hear Glenn Miller and his Orchestra on the wireless, I still remark, ‘what is this noise?’

Having now listened to ‘Freed From Desire’, I’m even more perplexed how this could cause any angst. Why would you fight over that song?

I mean, part of the lyrics read:

Na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na, na-na-na
Na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na, na-na-na
Na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na, na-na-na
Na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na, na-na

How can you get fired up over that?

Sure, if it were Shakira’s ‘Hips don’t lie’, I’d understand, but this seems ridiculous.

Also, being two great teams, with youth and stars all over the place, I’m not sure we need a song from 1997 to spice up the rivalry.

I’m tipping the Dees in this one.


Carlton vs. Richmond (MCG) 7:25pm Seven/Fox

Michael Voss, after massive success in Brisbane and Port Adelaide, now has the exciting opportunity to fix Carlton.

It’s an opportunity that has been given to a lot of people in recent years.

In good news, you could say he can’t do any worse than previous efforts, but that sounds like a challenge.

Now I’m not one to hype a team up just to make it more enjoyable when the wheels come off, but the Blues beat Melbourne in the preseason.

That means anything less than a premiership this season should be considered an abject failure.

But as the Western Bulldogs and Melbourne have shown in recent years, times change.

I’m just saying we shouldn’t get complacent about Carlton; I mean, the Soviet Union just reappeared. It would be tough to see another evil empire make a comeback.

Richmond had some sad news recently, with Peggy O’Neal announcing she will step down as President at the end of the season.

Personally, I’m thrilled. Under O’Neal, Richmond have gone from a club that provided about 47 per cent of my material to winning three premierships, a record membership and financial success.

Her reign has been an unmitigated disaster.

I’m tipping Richmond.


St Kilda vs. Collingwood (Marvel) 7:50pm Seven/Fox

Kanye West wanted Marvel Stadium on this night but couldn’t get it because it clashed with this blockbuster.

My biggest issue with that is stopping Kanye means St Kilda got their one highlight of the year out of the way very early.

Marvel Stadium will debut its new scoreboards at this game, scoreboards Gillon McLachlan described as ‘the sexiest things you can possibly see.’

I’m not sure what Gil has been watching on these screens, but I hope he at least had the decency to do it with the roof closed.  

Collingwood certainly provided the feel-good story of the offseason, when Jordan De Goey managed to have his assault charges downgraded to second-degree harassment.

So many of us grew up dreaming of being an AFL player who could get favourable plea deals.

It shows you that if you offer rare glimpses of greatness and can afford a good lawyer, dreams do come true.

I’m tipping the Saints.


Geelong vs. Essendon (MCG) 2:10pm Fox Footy

Patrick Dangerfield saved a family of three from drowning at the beach during the offseason.

The family were dragged out by a rip, and Dangerfield kept them afloat for fifteen minutes before lifesavers arrived.

It raises the question, is there anything this guy won’t do to get his name in the media?  

Geelong will be the big winners this year, in my opinion.

Not in terms of footy, but with a Federal and State election being held this year, and being surrounded by marginal seats, expect them to be offered more cash than Prince Harry and Meghan Markle shopping a tell-all book around.

Personally, it’s well past time the urinals were gold plated at Kardinia Park.

Essendon’s season copped a colossal blow recently, with Mick Malthouse predicting them to win the flag.

I don’t know any club that can recover from something like this; it must take all the players’ motivation away, knowing their season is essentially doomed before it even begins.

I’m tipping Geelong.

Greater Western Sydney vs. Sydney (Accor Stadium) 5:10pm Fox Footy

Thanks to Toby Greene, players can’t abuse umpires on the field anymore. Thanks a lot Toby!

Again, one of life’s great pleasures curtailed by political correctness gone mad.

Toby will miss this game, of course, he’s out suspended for the first six rounds, and the Giants added to that punishment in the offseason, making him co-captain.

That sends a strong message.

The Giants also hired James Hird over the break in a part-time leadership advisory role, and after the firm foundation of success he built at Essendon, it’s an intelligent decision.

Sydney fans will be hoping their young side takes the next step this year, but in the short term, they’ll be hoping Buddy can notch up 1000 career goals.

He’s currently sitting on 995 goals, an astounding achievement in the modern era.

The game has changed significantly during Franklin’s career, with numerous rule changes introduced to improve scoring, which have instead reduced scoring.

Imagine your job was to achieve a specific outcome, and you managed to achieve the polar opposite result, and you not only got to keep your job but tell everyone you were pleased with how it worked out! That must be nice.

I’m tipping the Swans.

Brisbane vs. Port Adelaide (G) 8:10pm Seven/Fox

If my perusing of preseason predictions in the media is any indication, Brisbane are the team expected to take the next step this season and challenge for a premiership.

That’s not ‘Mick Malthouse picks you as premiers’ bad, but it’s not exactly a good sign either.

The Lions need to win some finals instead of losing them so regularly that it’s the only predictable thing left in this crazy world.

Much like Brisbane, Port Adelaide need to win in September. Against the Bulldogs in the finals last year, the game was over so quickly, Power fans were only on their second UDL can.

With Eddie McGuire gone, Port can’t just roll out the prison jumper debate as a distraction every time they struggle on the field.

This is the year Ken Hinkley has to take them very deep in September, especially with Clarko out there circling like the angriest shark that ever lived.

I’m tipping Brisbane.  


Hawthorn vs. North Melbourne (MCG) 1:10pm Fox Footy

Speaking of Clarkson, thank God Jeff Kennett moved him on. What a train wreck his time at Hawthorn was.

I mean, there are kids in primary school who have never seen a Hawthorn Premiership.

Jeff had good reason to move Clarkson too; he was taking away too much of the glory from Jeff.

Imagine engineering a situation where you lose a four-time premiership coach and keep Jeff Kennett.

No wonder the Hawks fans are furious and are attempting to move him on as fast as is humanly possible.

North Melbourne may have finished bottom of the ladder last year, but in more important news, they are no longer broke.

This is a considerable shift, like North Korea adopting democracy.

Unfortunately, on the field, North have a long way to go. North Melbourne, that is, not North Korea (they have a surprisingly effective back six).

What North needs is some firepower up forward, like a Ben Brown type.

I’m tipping Hawthorn.

Adelaide vs. Fremantle (AO) 4:10pm Fox Footy

Probably the most exciting thing about the Crows this season is that their 2018 preseason camp is still generating media.

In the offseason, it was the media issuing apologies around some of their reporting.

This story is like Karl in Die Hard; just when you think it’s dead, it roars back into life.

I can understand the focus on a camp that happened back in 2018, though, for Crows fans, they look back on that time with fond nostalgia.

A Crows fan told me this week they are looking forward to this season about as much as a colonoscopy. I pointed out that at least a colonoscopy doesn’t last half the year.

Being based in Melbourne, as I started writing this column, I realised I’d seen no mention of Fremantle in the media.

This is hardly surprising unless Nat Fyfe takes his top off; the Melbourne media barely mention the Dockers.

If I remember vaguely, they have a young list with some very promising talent.

Luckily my deep knowledge of footy means I don’t need to rely on the media or the internet to provide deep insights into every club.

Why, off the top of my head, I can tell you the Dockers are a professional Australian rules football club competing in the Australian Football League, the sport's elite competition. The team was founded in 1994 to represent the port city of Fremantle, a stronghold of football in Western Australia.

See? I bet you missed this sort of insight.

I’m tipping the Dockers.

West Coast vs. Gold Coast (OS) 7:40pm Fox Footy

West Coast welcomed back Jack Darling this week, with Adam Simpson announcing, "We'll put our arms around him,” which they can now that he’s been vaccinated.

This whole anti-vaccination thing has been blown out of proportion by the media; it’s such a small group.

Most people are pro-vaccine, happy to get a needle; they just don’t bang on about it.

Why, I was in Victoria Street, Richmond, yesterday, and I saw quite a few people self-vaccinating in the street with great enthusiasm.

Darling’s late change of heart means he won’t play this week, but that’s OK; barely any of the Eagles side will play with all the injuries they have.

The Suns lost Ben King to a knee reconstruction before the season began, which is less than ideal, but they have built up a list full of young talent.

That means the Suns are always worth watching, as you get to see the players that might be playing at your club in a few years.

It’s going to be an interesting year for Stuart Dew. Already there’s speculation that Clarko could step in if things go badly.

On AFL360, Gillon McLachlan was asked if he would step in to replace Dew if the Suns struggled this season.

He said, “The choice of the coach of the Gold Coast Football Club is for the board of the Gold Coast Football Club.”

I took this to mean that, yes, he totally will step in if things go pear-shaped.

I’m tipping the Suns here.

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Elrond Hubbard

Mar 16, 2022



Mar 16, 2022

Golly, it's great to have you back, Titus!

Might be not what the world needs, but definitely what MY world requires ; )

Verna Mae Wellington

Mar 16, 2022

Missed you Titus.

Tigers 171920

Mar 16, 2022

Great column to start the year Titus, glad to have you back!

The g train

Mar 16, 2022

This footy starts tonight? Crickey. Titus O’Reily’s rather unhelpful guide is the only AFL guide I read, so must thank Titus for letting me know the season starts tonight. Thanks, Titus. Good to have the unhelpful guide back. And rather hilarious as usual.

“you could say he [Vossy] can’t do any worse than previous efforts, but that sounds like a challenge.” Bit harsh on Vossy. You CAN actually do much worse than nothing.

Looks like St Kilda are in for a great start to the year. Titus tipped them. What could go wrong?


Mar 16, 2022

Great to have you back Titus - always gives me a laugh

Blue(s) Fan

Mar 16, 2022

So the Blues beat the Premiers in the preseason and the Blues womens team took Melbourne to the wire on Saturday. Does this portend any future success? I still remember the year the Blues won the pre-season then wooden-spooned, maybe even tanked towards the end, so I don't hold out much hope. But as a Bluebagger hope is sometimes all you've got, so I say Go the Blues!


Mar 16, 2022

Gah!!! I've tipped exactly the same as you. Now I'm worried.


Mar 16, 2022

the game was over so quickly, Power fans were only on their second UDL can.

No warmup for Mr Titus, he’s straight back with the good stuff 🤣


Mar 16, 2022

Fabulous Titus. Your insights are the very best way to kick off the season!

Keith Martine

Mar 16, 2022

The world hasn't tanked, Titus is still writing AFL. Thanks Titus.

Boris Norris

Mar 16, 2022

This is so exciting. The tension is palpable! I can't wait to find out what the rules will be this year.

Have there been any leaks Titus? Do we know anything about which rules will be massively over-umpired in the first 6 weeks which and which ones are going to be ignored? I guess all will be revealed in a few hours.

Kafka’s Ghost

Mar 16, 2022

Delighted to have you and your deep football, and societal, insights back Titus. The only football columns really worth reading.

Fat Side

Mar 16, 2022

Ouch, the Ben Brown line was shorter and sharper than a jab in the ribs with a jailhouse shiv.
Good to have you back Titus.

Sheldon Wiebe

Mar 16, 2022

Thanks for brightening my day, Titus!

Note for Boris Norris: the most over-umpired rule will be umpire abuse, because umpires...

Most under-umpired ? My guess is holding the ball (seems like it goes from called way too much to called way too little in alternating seasons).

Glad to help.


Mar 16, 2022

Great to have you back Titus. Obviously you had an excellent pre season with a start as good as this. Hopefully your form will take you deep into September and not like Richmond last year.

Total Flanker

Mar 16, 2022

War pestilence and environmental collapse are bearable with Port UDL jokes

Kelly Minogue

Mar 16, 2022

Hoping that Gill takes on Qland Olympics and Peggy gets redeployed into the top Gig! Her three most important decision on Day 1; a) Publish entire and complete fixture
b) Abolish the Stand Rule
c) Abolish the six/six/six rule

Glad to have you back Titus


Mar 16, 2022

given the Dees have withdrawn the source of most of your material can we expect you to become a Saints supporter now as your footy-derived self loathing would be a perfect at Moorabbin

Over the top of the pack

Mar 16, 2022

Titus great to have you back.


Mar 16, 2022

With apologies to Alfred, Lord Tennyson
"Courage, my friend!" He pointed to the green
that was neatly fenced, unmarked and clean.
"Time will roll us forward soon
to evenings and to afternoons
that will surely clear away
your weary dreams.”

"Pencils poised, your fans await
your view of the likely fate
of the brave sports
who, in sweaters and shorts,
run to and fro,
for us to cheer or curse.”

Thanks, O Titus,
for bravely sharing
your prognostications.
While you’re not Ovid
we can forget Covid
and let you delight us.


Mar 16, 2022

You had me at “OK, we’re just pretending the Hawthorn threepeat never happened, are we?” 🤣 Welcome back!

Bruce Munday

Mar 16, 2022

Titus, I was hoping you might explain how Cats can lose a President, CEO, all coaching staff bar one (who?), their most talented young players and yet still be tipped to win at least one match. Doesn't compute.

Tiger Tommy

Mar 16, 2022

Blues and Bombers talking themselves up again !
Titus will put them back in to their little irrelevant places.
At least Magpie and Hawks fans have the good grace to be miserably pessimistic.


Mar 16, 2022

So great Titus. Thanks so much. In these tough and uncertain COVID and pre WWIII tomes, irreverence and razor sharp wit is balm to the bogan spirit. 💜

Dees Tragic

Mar 16, 2022

Titus, you had me at "Well, I'm back"!

Unfortunately, your guide came in too late for me to use as a guide to my footy tips, and I had to use Mick Malthouses'!

Hopefully, a rousing rendition of the last 3 stanzas from Freed from Desire might just help. Here goes:

Na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na, na-na-na
Na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na, na-na-na
Na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na, na-na-na
Na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na, na-na
Na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na, na-na-na
Na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na, na-na-na
Na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na, na-na-na
Na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na, na-na
Na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na, na-na-na
Na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na, na-na-na
Na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na, na-na-na
Na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na, na-na


Mar 16, 2022

Allow me to be the first to welcome you back, Titus.


Mar 16, 2022

Given the brou-ha-ha about “Freed From Desire,” I’d like to commend to you and your readers a Neil Sedaka song, which in the day of the LP before alternative technology, had a fold out cover so the lyrics of all the songs could be presented.

That song, the aptly named “Bad Blood,” included the immortal chorus
Do run, do run, di dit di dit run run
Do run, do run, di dit di dit run run
Do run, do run, di dit di dit run run
Bad blood, talking about bad blood
Do run, do run, di dit di dit run run
Do run, do run, di dit di dit run run
Do run, do run, di dit di dit run run
Bad blood, talking about bad blood

Journos on a beat up can make it theirs, starting with Tom Morris and Bevo after last night.


Mar 17, 2022

Oh, so good to have you back with that sharpened pencil!
As someone who has had optional optimal amnesia since March 2019, can I congratulate you on your summary of the Russian offences/offensives against Ukraine?
To use such subterfuge and the skills of the talented writer to “suggest” that Geelong, St Kilda, Hawthorn, Port and the Suns are really just a literary Blanc Marje that represents the Russian forces’ attacking prowess can be read…. We’ve had to put our thinking caps on after a dull Ashes series and the super slow Federal response to the flooding of quarter of the continent which hasn’t maintained our heightened awareness of the skills of the Premiership chugging, finally after so many decades, unadorned BDSM-orientated Dees’ fan and writer auteur!
I’m exhausted after drawing such a long bow….and it’s only Round One! I’ve done more laps than Jack Darlings’ needle giver.
Welcome back.


Mar 17, 2022

Great to read these again


Mar 17, 2022

I wonder where my Titus O'Reily t-shirt is??


Mar 18, 2022

Well done Titus on your research of Fremantle,you forgot to mention our No 1 draft pick Bob Murphy,onwards and upwards!


Mar 18, 2022

Freed from Desire seems the perfect song for the Dogs


Mar 18, 2022

Your warning on the dangers of the Carltona virus with the Voss variant was chillingly accurate. Lots of previously quiet and withdrawn friends have suddenly contracted it forcing me into isolation. Eastern Ukraine is looking particularly attractive at the moment
The symptoms are scary too


Mar 18, 2022

AAHH BIG FELLA great to have you that i have settled down after that close fought grand final i have come to terms with THE MIGHTY DEES being the only team that can go BACK TO BACK. i DO need to take you to task over one of your statements Re. hawthorn 3 peat being the worse thing in memory ANYTIME the pies win 3 GAMES in a row i start sweating and breaking out in hives. GO DEES

Darren J Ray

Mar 18, 2022

You've hit the ground running. Great to have you back, Titus.

Saint Peter

Mar 21, 2022

Very disappointing Mr O'Reily. I thought we had an agreement you would never pick the saints to win again. You know we will let you down.