Oct 02, 2023


The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Grand Final 2023


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.


Collingwood (90) v Brisbane (86)

Unlike Ticketek, who fail when it matters most, Collingwood knows how to turn it on when it matters.

For years, people have been saying these close wins will catch up with them, the only problem with that theory is they may have won several premierships by then.

One is already in the bag.

The day could not have been better in terms of build-up. The sun was out, and people were streaming to the MCG in the best mood. 

You could sense the tension too, it was almost like everyone knew an epic clash was coming.

Things were certainly helped by KISS getting the brief of playing hits, and blowing up everything they could get their hands on.

If you were going to pick a band for a Collingwood Grand Final, KISS are perfect. The Venn diagram of KISS and Pies fans is almost a perfect circle.

As the teams entered the stadium, the noise was deafening, and I mean deafening, I’m still getting my hearing back. 

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The crowd didn’t need to be woken up, but after the Pies looked well on top early, Zac Bailey had everyone in awe as he smothered a Mason Cox kick, got the ball, then despite being pinned on the boundary, evaded two tacklers and then snapped the ball through on a difficult angle.

I was right behind him as he kicked it and as it curled through, even the Pies fans around me applauded.

The game only got better from there on. The Pies pressure dominated, while the Lions kept finding individual efforts that kept the game close.

Charlie Cameron came to life, but in a game of small forward one-upmanship, Bobby Hill also started kicking goals and taking spectacular marks.

If you weren’t enjoying this game, you were dead inside.

At half time, I needed a good lie down, because Mark Seymour and Kate Miller-Heidke had come on and were playing something so laid back I had to fight sleep.

When will people learn that a stadium is not the place to do an interesting acoustic treatment?

Luckily the third quarter started up, with Pies fans watching their side boot 0.6 for most of the quarter, as the Lions players fought hard, including Joe Daniher, who more than stood up on the biggest stage.

The Pies poor kicking look like it could cost them a premiership, as did the Lions habit of giving away late goals in each quarter.

When the third quarter ended, there was a level of tension in the stadium usually reserved for family Christmas.

Then came a fourth quarter few will forget.

It became clear there was to be no release from the tension, no team was going to run away with this one.

Charlie Cameron snapped a goal with five-and-a-half minutes left and the Pies fans near me looked like they had forgotten to breathe.

The Lions fans were roaring, but it was a roar with an undertone of ‘there is still way too much time in this game left.’

Which proved true, as Nick Daicos and Jordan De Goey combined for a goal that had the stadium literally shaking.

Suddenly my mind was focused on the quality of the structural engineering of the MCG.

The Pies were up by five and now it was the Lions fans turned to panic.

People’s smart watches were going off everywhere, with alerts for damaging loud noise and irregular heartbeats. Mine told me I was having a stroke or had just been in a car accident. It wasn’t sure.

Sure, playing in a Grand Final is hard, but watching one isn’t a walk in the park either.

Seconds became hours.

A fifty-metre penalty to Steele Sidebottom saw the Pies take a ten-point lead, but no one really calmed down. This was a game that was going to demand something of everyone playing it, and everyone watching it.

With just over four minutes remaining, the game went to another level, Brisbane tried everything, and the Pies did everything to stop them.

There was a moment where it felt like the Pies might have done enough, only for Hugh McCluggage to then get the ball to Joe Daniher who scored, and we were back on again.

Ninety-three seconds were left to run and just four points separated the two sides, soon though, the final siren would ring and those four points were an enormous chasm, impossible to bridge.

The Pies had won a famous victory. The MCG exploded, there were tears of joy and devastation.

Collingwood’s captain would receive the cup from his father, while Craig McRae would reveal he had just again become a father earlier that day.

The best team of the year had won on the biggest day, while the Lions had not lost any admirers.

Sometimes we need to be reminded that the game isn’t in trouble, it’s glory days are not in the past. They are now.

The sport we love is in rude health and it was a joy to watch.

Now, let’s never mention Collingwood winning the premiership again.

You can help support me in producing this ridiculous nonsense I churn out on a regular basis. Find out more here: https://titusoreily.com/support-titus

This week’s Sports Bizarre episode is The Invention of Rugby: Part One, available wherever you get your podcasts.




Oct 02, 2023

Titus, thank you for another great year of columns! It makes my favourite sport even more sublime! Go Pies!!


Oct 02, 2023

Oh, was there a game on?

Furphy Unbelievable

Oct 02, 2023

Great game. Awesome win Pies!

Please tell me Gil has finally buggered off.


Oct 02, 2023

Thanks Titus for a roaring year of content!


Oct 02, 2023

Thank you Titus for your entertaining and light-hearted articles each week. I always look forward to reading your comments and have man a chuckle. Keep up the good work!! From one Devoted DEES fan.


Oct 02, 2023

Wonderful review of an amazing game, Titus. Thank you - & thank you for your weekly reviews thru the season, which are always great fun. Now for season 2024!
PS......miss you from The Cheap Seats.


Oct 02, 2023

Hi Titus

Thanks for the shout when you were in Adelaide and caught up with Danny a couple of weeks back.
you were rights we went all the way...
Love the Monday Knee Jerk Reaction and the Unhelpful Guide, they are my favorite 2 emails I receive all week.

Until next season


Oct 02, 2023

No mention of the abysmal advantage call I see Titus? True Melbournian at heart.

Brisbane tried everything, and the UMPIRES did everything to stop them - edited for accuracy.

Amazing how through all the finals, the Vic teams are umpired so differently to interstate teams.

Chris C

Oct 02, 2023

Now that the painful process of watching Collingwood win one of the most entertaining Grand Finals is out of the way, can we please now talk about how Melbourne Football Club is going to break the 59 year (and counting)premiership drought at the MCG in front of the faithful?


Oct 02, 2023

For an example of humble acceptance and great sportsmanship, do yourself a favour and watch Chris Fagan's post match press conference.

Christopher Cooper

Oct 02, 2023

Thank you for a great year of entertaining insights.
Reading of your hobnobbing with the toffs via the social pages of the AFR was an unexpected pleasure. Hopefully the lobster was up to scratch and the bubbles were French.
Go Dees !

WA Bogan

Oct 02, 2023

I can't believe it but I enjoyed watching the Pies win ... but it only took 5 minutes to regain my senses and going back to detesting them.

From the AFR:

"After the final siren, with the mojitos flowing, Goyder spent at least 30 minutes talking to football comedian (and McLachlan’s speechwriter) Titus O’Reilly. Perhaps Goyder was picking up a few custom gags – a few ice breakers – for his make-or-break meetings this week with Qantas shareholders…"

saint peter

Oct 02, 2023

The best was always left to last.
Now, let’s never mention Collingwood winning the premiership again.


Across the Face

Oct 02, 2023


This would be a fascinating thought experiment:

We transplant the brains of the Qantas senior administrators with the AFL's senior administrators. Then we sit back and see how long before - or even if - anyone notices the difference.

Steve G

Oct 02, 2023

Great work Titus, humour and facts combined to make your posts a great part of footy. See you next year.

I can see why you've been so unhelpfully unhelpful...

Oct 02, 2023

Too busy writing speeches for Gil, I see from the AFR, as noted by several other correspondents as well, that you've been unable to provide unhelpful guides, just kneejerk reactions.

Either he doesn't pay you enough that you have to keep on asking for support here, or you know that he won't be engaging you for your writing prowess at whatever his next gig is.

If you are to blame for his quips, I thought the mushroom reference was a little risqué, and possibly sub-judice as well, but perhaps Gil misread your speaker's notes on that one?

As for this article: I enjoyed the grand final from the much more refined location of Level 2 and the AFL member's dining room, but you couldn't really feel the shaking from there. They even let in a table of Brisbane Lions supporters. There was one chap dressed in black who admitted he was a Fitzroy supporter travelling incognito. No French champagne, mind you, just Carlton Draft or Mountain Goat if you were feeling particularly crafty.

Looking forward to more content from you next year when Gil releases you from your indenture.


Oct 02, 2023

Great work Legend!

WA Bogan

Oct 02, 2023

Excellent idea ACROSS THE FACE

David Bland

Oct 02, 2023

Thank you Titus for another year of "insightful" commentary.
I hope next year's GF will be a classic for the ages, between Melbourne and Collingwood - with us winning by 4 points, again. More, it will 60 years since we last won on the MCG and broke the Maggie's hearts - GO DEES!!

Dean John

Oct 02, 2023

Thank you for spelling KISS in all capitals as it should be! Greatest pre-game ever... and I stayed to watch some football.

Con Cushion

Oct 02, 2023

Turn it up Titus ... Idiotic Hysteria; the most sense you've made all year. The Venn diagram bit, particularly sensible, in any sane man's language. May your cricket team go well. Con.


Oct 02, 2023

Hey Titus. Bravo and thank you. Your insights are always so insightful, your truisms always so true and your similes are always so similar. No, that's not right. Anyhow, don't quit at your peak. I want to be reading your Knee Jerks from "Sunset Retirement Home" when the Dockers win a flag.

La T-Roc

Oct 02, 2023

Good call on Mark Seymour. Its like when the AFL had cheshire cat like Lionel Ritchie perform Easy like on Sunday morning at half time afternoon of a Saturday grandfinal.
Why isnt Airbourne being played?


Oct 02, 2023

You won't need to mention a Collingwood premiership again....for 12 months.

Mathew M

Oct 02, 2023

"When will people learn that a stadium is not the place to do an interesting acoustic treatment?" - Possibly never a truer word said than this and not just for the entertainers but also for the people who sing the national anthem!


Oct 02, 2023

Thanks Titus - Your game description has put the second cherry on the cake, next to the cherry that looks like the Premiership Cup. First time I have been in Australia for a Collingwood premiership since 1958 - what a day and what a fantastic game, at least that’s what my non-Magpie mates tell me.
Any margin less than 45 points at half-time is too close for comfort - risks giving me the blues.
I do at least now understand how Melbourne supporters felt in 1964 - four points is a helluva close win.
Hope to see, or at least read you out and about over the summer. Surely ABC could do with another voice in the commentary box at the cricket.


Oct 02, 2023

A great game in every way.
You have to beat the Victorian whistle if you’re from a non-Victorian state, so if you’re not a clear three goal better team on the day, the AFL head office plan will have its way.


Oct 02, 2023

With regard to the half-time distraction, can we get all existential and ask what is the bleeding point of it?
Does the audience need to be entertained between bands at concerts? Do they have a quick game of AFLX during intermission at the opera?
Yes, the Americans have that Super Bowl thingy but you’re talking about a brain dead nation that thinks Gridiron Football is entertaining and has elected Donald Trump. These are not the people to whom I would be looking for inspiration.
Perhaps we might turn the clock back to the time when we were an independent nation and not the 51st State, and have the GF Sprint, followed by the Concourse of the Retirees doing a lap in the back of a ute. Nice and low-key, so we can have a chat with our mates about the game - you know, the actual reason why we’re at the MCG in the first place.
You might mention it next time you see Richard Goyder or Andrew Dillon.


Oct 02, 2023

To Richard and others moaning about one late decision that they think cost them the game:
Explain the umpires not giving a free kick to Brayden Maynard when he was blocked by Liam Ryan to allow Dom Sheed to take the late mark in 2018.
If you’re looking to pin the loss on one particular moment, you might have a word with Jarrod Berry, who threw Sidebottom to the ground well after he had marked the ball and incurred a 50m penalty that put Sidebottom, to the surprise of everyone at the ground, within scoring range.


Oct 02, 2023

Love your work Titus - don't know how you can keep on working after MFCs lack of effort in the finals.

When are you going to cover the AFLW? There's some content and characters there that would sustain us until Round 1 of the men's version.

Go Demons.

Keith Martine

Oct 02, 2023

Thank you Titus for again providing your insights and slant on ALF for another year. Most enjoyable and usually closer to the mark than the joke intended!

The g train

Oct 02, 2023

Just wanna say: “Thanks heaps, Titus, for all ya really really great stuff this year”. The final KJR for the season was heaps good.

Hope ya keep doin this til ya drop—as I’m sure I speak for (almost) everyone—reading your footy columns are the only worthwhile activities in our existence.

Grant Stringer

Oct 02, 2023

"I was right behind him as he kicked it"

Titus is Mason Cox CONFIRMED

Crab 8

Oct 02, 2023

Thank you for another great year of work Titus.
I look forward to your musings before and after each round of footy over the season.
Good idea Winston. I too would be happy to read a Titus' review of the AFLW round each week.
I also agree with DOUG about the half-time activities inluding the GF sprint and retiring players, but I would also like to see a junior match played between the best 13-14 year olds selected from around the country. What a thrill that would be for the kids and their families.
And the money saved on expensive entertainment could be channelled into grass roots footy.
I may not have agreed with the umpires on several occasions during the GF, but I think the best team over four quarters won on the day. Collingwood kicked one less goal, but still won by four points.
The same goes for 2018. The best team won on the day. And everyone has an opinion about Dom Sheed's mark. But, he still had to kick that goal, at that time in the game, with dozens of magpie fans leaning over the fence and screaming in his ear. The fact that other players in this game on Saturday missed easier shots, including Jamie Elliott who is a reliable set-shot genius, demonstrates the mastery of the Sheed goal!
Thanks again Titus, I am already looking forward to the 2024 season and witnessing some WCE improvement. It's been a very long season.

6800 days since we won a final

Oct 02, 2023

Thank you for your wit and entertainment throughout another year Titus. Outstanding.

Did you headbutt Richard Goyder? If not, why not?


Oct 02, 2023

Yes, Richard, we could see your theory being tested back in 2018.

Son of Plugger

Oct 02, 2023

Thanks Titus on another exceptional season of idiotic nonsensical Knee Jerk Reactions.

But today’s KJR was fairly non-nonsensical. Which perhaps meant it was your most nonsensical KJR ever. Is the sense it was so sensical that it made no sense in context of all your other consistently nonsensical KJRs. I’m trying to work out what you really meant.


Oct 02, 2023

Maaate. Thanks for another season of your insightful commentary. Will try to survive the off season and until you blog again…at Ieast I have your podcast and now have your books (a present from my hubby!)
Cheers and sunshine C

Fat Side

Oct 02, 2023

I'm really in favour of this week off between the preliminary and grand final, allowing me to go camping in the wilderness over the weekend and return refreshed and ready to watch an epic battle next Saturday.
Titus, I'm not sure you why you keep putting in the effort each week to entertain us and give us a break from all the all too serious football guff, while also giving us a chance to entertain each other ( and hopefully you, every now and then ), but it is to our great benefit that you do. Much thank!

Geoff Hayhow

Oct 02, 2023

A warning for those protecting their ears.
Loudest recorded sounds.
1. Sidebottom Goal. Final quarter 2023 Grand Final
2. De goey Goal. Final quarter 2023 Grandfinal
3. Final Siren 2023 Grandfinal
4. Jack Crisp After siren Goal. 2023 Grandfinal
5. Jordan De Goey After siren Goal. 2023 Grandfinal
6. Bobby Hill mark 2023 Grandfinal
7. Bobby Hill 1st Goal 2023 Grandfinal
8. Final siren replay of 2023 Grandfinal. Transport Bar
9. Jet Engine take off
10. KISS

Greg Brown

Oct 02, 2023

Still shaking my head that baby McCrae was not christened Bobbi

Running Dog

Oct 02, 2023

Top commentary all year, Titus! I think a Venn diagram cross-sectioning your columns with the way a person is meant to write about football would also be pretty close to a Caucasian chalk circular. Next season, without the dread of Collingwood winning the whole thing, I expect a breakout year, and maybe even three votes in Round 14.

But I don't expect much improvement from the umpires. Although, in their defence, they're not protected by whistleblower legislation.

Alan Macdonald

Oct 02, 2023

Great summary of a match that I also had the pleasure of watching live after surviving the Ticketek debacle for Restricted Members and got a ticket into the ground.
I agree with everything you have said except for the last line as I will be mentioning it regularly as we work our way through the agonising break until season 2024.
Go Pies - Back to Back :)


Oct 02, 2023

I’ve been making silly claims like Nick Daicos would win the Brownlow this year and several more, and Collingwood would win 3 or 4 flags in a row.

Sadly the umpires and Hawthorn put a small blip in the Nick D Brownlow prediction. But flag one is in the bag. And now I’m worried I have underestimated how far this can all go.

It’s about time we got to 16 flags, now let’s get 17 and sit on top of the premiership mountain where we belong.


The g train

Oct 02, 2023

Ps Titus—you wrote Gil’s speeches. You’ll now be writing Dil’s speeches?

Shane Lucas

Oct 02, 2023

Hi Titus (aka Alex) - hope you're well. I really enjoy your weekly columns immensely - and have finally got around to properly subscribing... pls don't feel you need to send me a copy of Please Gamble Irresponsibly because you already generously gave me a signed one a few years ago. Love it - and you gave me one for the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation also - cheers Shane Lucas


Oct 02, 2023

Thsnk you Titus for another wonderful year of laughter and making life bearable with all the weird things happening in the world.
As I now follow in earnest my team in UK …Hull City for the next 6 months and our dream of getting into the Premier league again, I do so that next year will bring me extreme happiness with them and Richmond triumphing. Both are Tigers, thanks again

Darren J Ray

Oct 02, 2023

Thanks for the laughs this year, Titus.

Come to Brisbane!

Who Flung Dung

Oct 02, 2023

For those concerned about Gil keeping on staying on its official he's finally gone. The guy preciding over the screw up of our national carrier Qantas did everything he could to screw up the AFL as well by insisting Gil do his Dame Nellie Melba scenario and stay a year too long, finally forgot to get Gil to stay longer but only because he was too busy saving his job at Qantas to care any more.

Gil from all accounts according to his mates and those dependant on their livelihood through their AFL accreditation did a good job as CEO but it wouldn't take a genius to get huge increases in telecast rights of AFL games and insist that a pie and chips reduce a dollar for the fans when they were overpriced by several dollars anyway. Aside from that did he fix the important problems like ticketek, the ark, replacement of himself, meatloaf and the AFL continued bringing itself into disrepute e.g. the Hawthorn racism investigation and Essendon saga. The big issues Gil failed miserably on but he could talk himself out of anything with bigger spin than Warnie. I for one won't miss Gil at all and hopefully Dills will be more transparent and less spin doctor albeit he has been learning for a decade or more from Gil and may be take 2 of the same only time will tell.


Oct 02, 2023

Thank you! A great season of insights and fine humour. Much valued.


Oct 03, 2023

This is actually the best description of the granny that I have read! You nailed it. Thanks for another year of laughs that is often very close to the truth. GO PIES!!!!!!


Oct 03, 2023

Rather subdued summary Titus but fair enough considering who won. I will rewrite one sentence for you:
"Ninety-three seconds were left to run and just four points separated the two sides, soon though, an 'advantage' call by a Victorian umpire that no one with a functioning brain would deem reasonable would rob the Lions of any chance to stop a Victorian fairytale from being delivered to the baying heartland"
While it wasn't on the level of the downright corrupt 2016 GF, anyone see a theme going on here? Since the 2001 to 2006 interstate team domination of flags, only 2 interstate sides have won out of 17 Grand Finals. Let's face it, the AFL really is still the VFL.


Oct 03, 2023

Great summary of an epic game! So proud of the Lions! Thanks for another year of your awesome wit and assessments 🦁👊🏻

Mr Fatt

Oct 04, 2023

Jewels, the umpiring was inconsistent all day…Brisbane’s first shot at goal coming from a “too high” free after Moore tackled Hipwood around the upper rib cage area…Markov told to “stand” whilst already back pedalling at 100mph to get outside 5 metres…resulting in a 50 metre penalty & subsequent goal to Brisbane…the list goes on. Take it for what it was…a grand final for the ages where, unfortunately, one team had to lose.

Tony B

Oct 11, 2023

Thank you Titus.