Jul 25, 2022


The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Nineteen


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.


Richmond (52) v Fremantle (52)

Despite the return of Ivan Soldo, Richmond have somehow dodged the bullet that is four premiership points once again.

Always innovating, this time the Tigers managed to not lose, while also not winning, a cunning ploy.

Not since the bible has someone put so much faith in people called Noah but unlike then, this time that faith seems misplaced.

Noah Balta and Noah Cumberland both had chances late to tip this close game into Richmond’s favour, but the Tigers are the Houdini of escaping wins.

If you didn’t barrack for either of these sides, this was an exciting game, but if you did, it was a nauseating, stressful, ruining what could have been a nice Friday night.

With Rory Lobb out for the Dockers, and Tom Lynch out for Richmond, fewer goals were kicked.

It’s these sorts of insights that make this column stand out from the rest. Not in a good way.


North Melbourne (75) v Hawthorn (121)

North Melbourne’s stunning winning streak has finally come to an end in one of the greatest upsets in not only the history of Australian Rules but global sport.

The Kangaroos had unleashed a reign of terror on the competition ever since Leigh Adams had ripped the head coach position from David Noble in a bloody coup. 

Yet on Saturday, a plucky little team by the name of Hawthorn managed to stop the Kangaroos.

Jack Gunston, returning after a break following the death of his father, booted five and gave the Kangaroos trouble all day.

I began to suspect North were in trouble when the Hawks led 49-3 after the first quarter.

To me, that suggested something was up.

“North could be in trouble here,” I said to the man next to me in the pub, who promptly picked up his pot and went and sat down the other end of the bar for the rest of the day. 

Sydney (118) v Adelaide (85)

I also watched this at the pub and amazingly, despite it being packed, the two seats on either side of me at the bar remained empty throughout.

Weird huh?

Sydney were like someone told them they could leave the minute the job was done, so they booted 9.3 in the first quarter, then took the last three quarters off.

The Crows can take some pride in outscoring the Swans over the last three quarters, but in some ways, to do that and still lose by 33 points is top-notch comedy.

But that’s Adelaide, more interested in making us laugh than winning.

Sydney have been clever recently.

With the bottom half of the top eight looking shaky, they’ve decided to go on a winning streak.

It’s an interesting tactic, and I wonder if teams like St Kilda and Richmond will look back and wonder if that would have been a better approach.

Port Adelaide (94) v Geelong (106)

It would be fair to say the next three games were all fantastic, except none of them went the way I wanted, so instead of feeling like the game is in good shape, I sulked in the undignified way only a fully grown man can sulk.

Geelong seemed to have this one in hand, up 34 points at half-time, only for the Power to show they really should be a lot higher on the ladder than they currently are, if not for their own ineptitude.

The entire difference in the third quarter was Charlie Dixon who decided to play ruck and up forward, picking up 11 disposals, seven of them contested and kicking two goals.

He was just showing off really.

Geelong didn’t know what had hit them, but unlike Port, they don’t rely on one player having a superhuman quarter to win.

Oh, except Tom Atkins may argue about that who had 12 disposals in the fourth.

Yet he also had a well-functioning forward line, who, with depressing predictability, secured the win with the game on the line.

It really is a case for Geelong of can they do this in finals?

Cats fans have nothing to worry about, there’s no reason to think they can’t.

Brisbane (110) v Gold Coast (93)

I mean, this was a bonkers round. So many great, close games. It’s almost like claims the game is dying are just the crazy ramblings of a few bitter people.

There was a moment in the fourth quarter, when the Suns held a seven-point lead, that it seemed like the Gold Coast had a real chance at playing finals.

By the end of the quarter, those hopes were crushed, like that one time I thought someone had a romantic interest in me, only to learn moments later they were airport security,

When she said ‘excuse me sir would you please step over here’ it was to test for explosives and not to say my eyes had captivated her in a way she hadn’t thought possible.

Easy mistake to make I imagine.

Notably, the Suns have one of the rare Noah’s not at Richmond, Noah Anderson.

Did Australia go all in on Noahs about twenty years ago? Not since Mitchell has there been a name populate so many sporting lists.

I’ve heard the Tigers are willing to offer Shai Bolton and the next ten years of first-round draft picks to get Anderson under their ‘recruit everyone called Noah’ strategy.

Anderson provided excellent support for Touk Miller, who was ridiculously good again, and it took Jarrod Berry tagging him in the fourth to slow him down. But remember, tagging doesn’t win games. Except for all the times it does. Which is a lot.

While securing a top four spot is looking highly likely for the Lions, more importantly, Rhys Mathieson brought back his 'shotgun' celebration. Surely this round couldn’t get any more exciting.

Western Bulldogs (110) v Melbourne (100)

I wouldn’t call this game exciting, more devastating, but that’s an extremely biased view, what with my soul being severely bruised watching this.

But as far as Bulldogs fans or the neutral observer goes, this was an exciting game, with momentum swings, lots of scoring, one-on-one battles across the field, and a thrilling ending.

While the win keeps the Bulldogs finals hopes alive, it was the stellar performance of Mia Fevola’s former boyfriend that would have excited the Doggies fans.

He proved the key difference when it mattered.

As for the Dees, their once mighty defence looked about as coordinated as a grade six school play.

As the season has gone on, the Dees have looked, what I would term, ‘less good’. This is not what you want.

I want them to be ‘more better’.

Most experts agree, that the closer you get to the Grand Final, the better you want to play.


Carlton (90) v Greater Western Sydney (54)

Still reeling from Melbourne losing the night before, I didn’t enjoy Carlton winning the next day. 

This is what happens to you when your team loses, you want other teams’ supporters to be miserable too.

Wishing misfortune on others may make me seem petty and small, but that’s only because I am petty and small.

Sometimes though I am happy for other supporters, but those moments are fleeting and usually go away pretty quickly if I ignore them.

The Giants hung around in the first half, doing just enough to seem like they were working hard, before sneaking off early, probably to the pub. It’s an approach I appreciate and am familiar with.

Carlton, with almost all the rest of the top eight involved in herculean matches, welcomed the chance to not have to battle until the death for the four points.

The Blues are going to play finals.

It’s been overshadowed by Collingwood’s charge up the ladder, like when covid took the focus off climate change.

But we should be worried about both.

Collingwood (80) v Essendon (76)


A game that is an instant classic, with comebacks, key goals, exciting young talent, vital tackles, soaring marks, and an after-the-siren match-winning goal from 40 meters out on an angle.

Even the taint of a Collingwood victory couldn’t spoil the beautiful bloom of this day.

To break this game down, would be like taking apart Michelangelo's David or picking apart Max Martin’s songbook.

It was more than the sum of its parts. A footballing hymn to the heavens.

This game was high art, something that either lifts your spirit or breaks it apart. Either way, you feel something. You know you are alive.

It should be shown in every art gallery in Australia on a loop.

If you bumped into someone who had never seen Australian Rules before, you could do a lot worse than to sit them down and say, ‘this is the greatest sport in the world, and your life is about to be improved immeasurably, because today, you will witness beauty in its purest form.”

And like all great art, at its core was a fatal flaw, that somebody had to lose when perfection would have seen both teams lose.

West Coast (62) v St Kilda (90)

Two things have driven St Kilda to a massive win over the Eagles, the first was Brett Ratten threatening to basically get rid of anyone who didn’t perform and the second was the fact they were playing the Eagles.

After the weekend of football we’d had, this was a bit like going from drinking top-shelf champagne to the mid-strength beer they serve at the footy.

Jack Steele led the Saints with 40 disposals, and Dan Butler booted a career-best five goals, but remember this was against West Coast so take these stats with a grain of salt.

West Coast to be fair looked better for a lot of the game. Tom Barrass finished with 26 disposals and eight marks and ruckman Bailey Williams had 23 hit-outs and nine clearances but remember this was against St Kilda so take these stats with a grain of salt.

The win keeps the Saints tantalisingly close to the top eight. Why must St Kilda toy with their fans’ emotions in such a cruel way?

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

My new podcast Sports Bizarre is out now: https://sportsbizarre.com/  




Jul 25, 2022

Head up, Titus - Lever being able to play that game would probably have resulted in a Melbourne victory. We'll be okay :)

Fancy Pants

Jul 25, 2022

I typed in to Google this morning "Wikipedia # how to lose a an AFL game in 30 seconds when you shouldnt" it linked me direct to - "See Collingwood v Essendon 24 July 2022"...


Jul 25, 2022

"Bliss was it on that day to be alive,. But to be a Magpie fan was very heaven!" - words penned by Billy Wordsworth to honour a day dedicated to Billy Picken and consecrated by Billy Elliott.


Jul 25, 2022

'Mia Fevola's former boyfriend' had me in stitches... well played

Scott McKenzie

Jul 25, 2022

Jason. Perhaps the Bulldogs defence may have stood up a little better if Caleb Daniel and Taylor Duryea had been there.

Doggy Dancer

Jul 25, 2022

You can't just mention Mia Fevola casually like that. I'm triggered. I still shocked and devastated from her most recent breakup, and the ones before that.

Wes Mantooth

Jul 25, 2022

A further return after Googling "how to lose an AFL game in 30 seconds when you shouldn't" returned "See Gold Coast vs Richmond, 9 July 2022.

Let's face it, Essendon have been on the path of imitating Richmond now for a few years, and yesterday's effort against the Pies showed they can now deliver a genuine 'Richmondy' effort as well as the real thing.

It was a beautiful thing, apart from Collingwood actually winning.


Jul 25, 2022

Thanks Demons, very much for costing me hundreds in my multi.


Jul 25, 2022

You forgot to mention the massive upside to the draw...no Roaming Brian. What are the chances of a draw every Friday from here on?

Distinguished Guy

Jul 25, 2022

1. Interesting your comment about the many Noahs. Just on the weekend I was thinking the same about the Baileys. I was wondering if instead of Stat Of Origin the AFL could try "All the Baileys" v "Best of the non-Baileys".
2. Worryingly effective lyricism in the Collingwood v Essendon review but right on the money. Forget and stats and other analysis and just say that if you saw this as it played (TV or at the game) you were blessed. Unless an Essendon supporter of course.


Jul 25, 2022

Sure is relaxing, watching Collingwood games.

Con Cushion

Jul 25, 2022

Turn it up Titus .... what do you regard as The Rest? Exactly, there is no rest that's why the column is a standout. Con.


Jul 25, 2022

Classic Titus. Since Rd11 Pies won 5 games by < 1 goal, Tigers failed to win 5 games by < 1 goal. Is that art or stats?

Tom Mannion

Jul 25, 2022

Whats it take to get Melbourne back line to fight a little harder for the ball? "sledge each other"

Bert Bystander

Jul 25, 2022

@Steve. As much as i hate roaming Brian . it has one thing going for it . I get to turn the telly off earlier than i otherwise would.
Does anyone among Titus's readers have anything good to say about Taylor either roaming or commentating? Unlike a lot of others i don't mind Brayshaw , Darcy , or Carey's commentary , but BT is vexatious to the spirit. (Polite way of saying pain in the arse.)

Meghan Fevola-Bartel

Jul 25, 2022

Titus, with the AFL’s July 2022 Interpretation Update Package, if a player has their head removed from their torso whilst in possession of the ball, will the umpire call a ball up so the body parts can be removed from the field? Or is death now considered prior opportunity?

The g train

Jul 25, 2022

Collingwood’s excruciatingly ridiculous dark black magic demonic witchcraft sorcery used to constantly win the close ones is utterly soul destroying for all fair minded footy fans. In nine weeks they’ve managed to match the decades of misery and despair of being a StK supporter. After their win against Essendon, have not come across any happy people. Not even one. It’s too much, Titus. It’s too much!

Running Dog

Jul 25, 2022

Michelangelo's David HAS been taken apart, at least figuratively, so that different sections could be scanned for cracks. What a relief that his left hand turned out to be exactly 11 & 15/16ths of an inch long. Any longer and it would be a foot.

What a roll call- Bailey, Mia, Jamarra, Noah, Touk, Shai, Caleb, Roaming, Persia, Doggy, Fancy, Distinguished, Titus... what happened to traditional names, like Jarrod (spelt 23 different ways)?

Long suffering Hawks fan

Jul 25, 2022

I read somewhere that the Saints are blaming the poor state of the grass at Optus for their win.


Jul 25, 2022

Am I the only one who had to google "Mia Fevola’s former boyfriend" to find out which Bulldogs player you were referring too? Obviously I'm not up with the latest on gossip as your good self.


Jul 25, 2022

Good to see Eddie Maguire have no sensitivity about hanging Billy Picken's jumper over the top of a sponsor sign. What is wrong with this guy?

Fat Side

Jul 25, 2022

Did Freo use flooding to combat the presence of so many Noahs in the Richmond forward line?


Jul 25, 2022

The Western Bulldogs, aka The Bailey Factory.

Saint Peter

Jul 25, 2022

Titus, with all these religious comments, did you happen to be at a Pentecostal Church in Perth with a former prime minister? It is true you don't have faith in the Melbourne Footy to win the GF but you have faith in God to deliver the flag for the Melbourne Footy Club?

Son of plugger

Jul 25, 2022

In all seriousness, Titus—even as your time is squeezed and your fame spreads throughout the three worlds—you’ve never abandoned your roots in writing this ludicrous comedic brilliant nonsense. Twice per round. Season after season. The Sisters of Collective Misery would be proud of you. And we, your devoted readers, thank you.


Jul 25, 2022

Bailey A, Bailey B,
Bailey C, Bailey Dale......
If they had their own newspaper
It would be The Bailey Mail.

Swan for life

Jul 25, 2022

@Paul Butler. I had to google "Mia Fevola" so you're at least better informed than I am...


Jul 25, 2022

Thanks Titus for another very funny knee jerk reaction with more gold than the Yilgarn belt.

Leanne Sheean

Jul 26, 2022

@Swan For Life. It must be a Swans thing. I also had to Google Mia Fevola’s boyfriend 🤷‍♀️

Myk Aussie

Jul 26, 2022

See if Bombers Harrison Scott didn't put his mouth guard in his sock and physics unbalanced him (maybe Ahhh) he wouldn't have hit the post! I blame Tex Walker (and I'm a Crows fan) for now too many players doing it. It's unnecessary BS, unhealthy as well and annoys the f...k out of me! Only time should take mouth guard out is when getting a drink and washing it. Weak!

Merlin’s Mother

Jul 27, 2022

F’MON I reckon that rag would be called the Daily Bailey Mail because those B’s generate so much good copy.

And Running Dog you would enjoy that tourist highlight in (Mirboo North I think). The sign says “To the site of the tallest tree in the world “. And that is evidence based communication- cos they cut it down to check the measurements (troo).

Dees v Dockers? We will have to lock our squad up so Dockers Recruitment team don’t drive them nuts with contract offers. Will be an intriguing contest.

Myk Aussie

Jul 29, 2022

Re above Bombers Andrew Jones I meant!

Myk Aussie

Jul 29, 2022

Damn I still asleep here in Canada. 3rd time try. Bombers Harrison Jones I meant.