Mar 20, 2023


The Monday 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.


Richmond (58) v Carlton (58)

Footy returned, and so did 2022 Carlton, managing to snatch a draw from the jaws of victory.

If you’re a glass-half-full person, you could say that at least they managed not to snatch a defeat.

Not many Blues fans are glass-half-full types these days, instead, this would have been an unpleasant reminder that barracking for Carlton is a weekly stress test for your heart.

Richmond in a way, could see this as a win; they looked horrible at times in the first half, appearing very much like a team affected by fewer preseason games this year. 

Footy was back, but their skills were not.

The second half was a little better, but the contrast between the skills in this game compared to the following night was stark.

Tim Taranto and Jacob Hopper, Richmond’s much-vaunted new midfield pairing showed they can get the ball but they also showed they could butcher it with alarming consistency.

Getting the ball is great, but not when you turn it over most of the time.

The dying moments of this game was for Carlton what horrible corporate types call a ‘teachable moment’, as the Blues repeatedly made bad choices.

The problem is Carlton seems to have had a lot of teachable moments but not a lot of learning gets done.

Take the moment with just 17 seconds left and Carlton up by six points. All the Blues needed to do was stop a goal.

Every single fan at the game or watching on TV was thinking, ‘they would want to cover Tom Lynch here’.

Which made it odd when Tom Lynch went up for a mark, and the Carlton defenders decided the best approach was to stand by and watch him.

In hindsight, this was not the best approach.


Geelong (103) v Collingwood (125)

Look, you’d prefer the Pies to look this good in Round One rather than in the finals.

Still, it wasn’t great to see a Pies side look fast and skilful, and really makes those predictions that they are going to slide down the ladder this season look as silly as they seemed at the time.

If anything, the Pies look better, and it hurts to write that.

Geelong wasn’t bad either, but to lead at quarter-time, half-time and three-quarter-time and then lose is not ideal.

They really needed more Joel Selwood, who must have been wishing he could jump the fence in the last quarter.

Geelong wasn’t helped by injuries to Tom Stewart and Sam De Koning, both taken out by Ed Sheeran, who could be cited by the Match Review Officer.

Chris Scott said he hated losing coaches blaming something like the turf, only to then proceed to do just that.

The Pies had injury problems too, with Jeremy Howe breaking his forearm in an incident so grim that even Channel Seven wouldn’t replay, and they showed Celebrity Big Brother.

To see a teammate go down like that and still focus and win the game was a credit to the Pies.

That’s enough being nice about them; I need to go have a shower.


Harry Sheezel (87) v West Coast (82)

Harry Sheezel made claims that AFL is hard look silly on the weekend with a lazy 34 disposals on debut.

To be fair, he was playing the Eagles, so that’s like diet AFL, but still, Roos supporters would be frothing over his debut.

While Sheezell looked like he’d played 200 AFL games, in the first half, the Eagles looked completely new to the sport.

They had the urgency of those families that stroll five people wide on the footpath, and you’re stuck behind them, and they then notice you and act like you’re the annoying person.

The second half saw them lift their work rate to ‘almost acceptable’, but they can’t blame covid for everything this year and were far off the pace.

One big problem for them was Nick Larkey, who may have only touched the ball nine times, but six of those times led to goals, which is not a bad return.

In the end, the Kangaroos hung on, in a good start for the Clarkson era; for the Eagles, it will be interesting to see who coaches them next year.

Port Adelaide (126) v Brisbane (72)

Brisbane are the mirage in the desert of the footballing world. You keep thinking they are a good team, but then they do this and you’re forced to reassess your opinion of them.

They are the poster child for getting ahead of yourself.

The Lions appeared to be cruising to a win by half time, but decided to sit out the third quarter, a tactical mistake they soon regretted.

The Power have unearthed a real talent in Jason Horne-Francis, who broke the Lions in the third quarter as he celebrated not playing for North Melbourne.

It just shows you that he can be motivated if you just give him everything he wants.

Port put on eight goals to one in the third quarter, as the Lions decided defending was too hard.

They were certainly not helped by selecting a backline that would need help getting something down from the top shelf.

The good news is the Lions have plenty to work on and 23 more rounds to do it.

As for Port fans, it’s time to let your hopes get wildly out of control.

Melbourne (115) v Western Bulldogs (65)

Kysaiah Pickett was everywhere on Saturday night, setting up clearances in the midfield, kicking four goals up forward, and unnecessarily targeting the head with a late bump.

Luckily for him, Bailey Smith got straight back up, and Pickett will miss just two matches as the AFL continues its slow path to getting serious about protecting the head.

For the Dees, this was a great win, given they were missing Christian Salem, Jack Viney, Steven May and Bayley Fritsch.

But the real question is what is going on with the Dogs? They were in control for a lot of the game, but the ease at which the Dees blew passed them would be concerning for Dogs supporters. 

Especially as it keeps happening.

The Doggies weren't helped when Liam Jones went off with a neck injury. Luckily, he’d done his own research on such an injury and could treat it.

A few crystals and a night under a dreamcatcher, and he’s ruled out any serious concerns.

A big problem for the Dogs was their forward line, which is tall but can’t kick goals.

Last time I checked, you win based on your score, not collective height, which sounds like a stat Champion Data would overvalue.

Gold Coast (61) v Sydney (110)

Is there a stronger brand in football than the Gold Coast Suns? Sure, the brand is ‘just making up the numbers’, but its consistent.

Against the Swans pressure, the Suns turned the ball over so often that Sydney almost didn’t need to get the ball themselves, knowing they’d have it back within seconds.

There were real ‘deer in the headlights’ vibes from the Suns' players, who seemed surprised when they had the ball in their hands and seemed keen to get rid of it as soon as possible. 

This is a good strategy for a game of hot potato but not footy.

The Swans looked good, and while Sydney fans will be thinking, ‘where was this last September?’, at least they seem to be getting on with things.     

Unfortunately, Buddy marred the victory with a high hit on Gold Coast’s Sam Collins.

Cue a discussion about ‘playing on the edge.’

In a week where concussion is a big topic, the AFL has sent a message by giving Buddy a week and Pickett two; that message is not a strong one.


Greater Western Sydney (106) v Adelaide (90)

The Adelaide Crows have dug deep to lose this game in perhaps the most disappointing performance of the round if you ignore Hawthorn.

Leading by 28 points at half-time, and with the Giants having Lachie Whitfield, Harry Perryman and Josh Kelly on the bench in the last quarter, the Crows had to work hard to have the Giants overrun them.

Izak Rankine was indicative of the Crows, working hard all day but with little reward, booting 2.5.

In 36-degree heat, the Giants, to their credit, kept coming at the Crows all day, despite the mounting injury toll.

It was an impressive turnaround, as they had looked terrible in the first half, but the benefit of playing Adelaide is there’s always a chance.

Now the Giants get the Eagles next week, ensuring a 2-0 start to the season.

Hawthorn (65) v Essendon (124)

Essendon got the shot of false hope they desperately needed and now sits on top of the ladder, which is just weird.

For Bombers fans, things couldn’t have gone any better, thumping the old enemy and watching Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti with a goal.

It was probably the Bombers best day in twenty-odd years.

They may be as organised as the Italian army off the field, but they can beat the wooden spoon favourites.

The challenge now is can they repeat these results in the AFL?

Hawthorn are in for a long year.

I don’t know any of their players names, and based on this performance, I won’t be learning any of them soon.

My advice for Hawthorn fans facing a year such as this is to try to suppress any feelings of hope. Try to feel as dead inside as possible.

St Kilda (67) v Fremantle (52)

The excitement machine that is a Ross Lyon coached club was in full effect on Sunday.

Despite having about half the squad out, the Saints were a disciplined machine and squeezed the Dockers across the ground.

Fremantle’s rucks took the odd decision to tap the ball to St Kilda’s midfielders all game, which to the untrained eye seemed an odd approach.

Perhaps even stranger was Nat Fyfe only touching the ball nine times.

When the Dockers did have the ball, they moved it slowly and with no real purpose.

In fact, the umpires seemed to give St Kilda more trouble than the Dockers, with the Saints players deciding that arguing with them was a good idea, which it wasn’t.

No player had ever won an argument with an umpire.

The Dockers stayed in it all game but given they were finalists last year, and St Kilda had so many missing, that was the least they could do.

This being round one, it would only be common sense to write them off for the year.

You can help support me in producing this ridiculous nonsense I churn out on a regular basis. Find out more here:



Hugh Wilson

Mar 20, 2023

Good start Titus. Perfect combination of dees winning and the odd dumpster fire to bring back old memories that have been repressed

Korean Jesus

Mar 20, 2023

It's good to have you back for another season Titus.

The Dees should be featuring at the pointy end of the season again this year, so you're in for another good year.

Julian Noel

Mar 20, 2023

Go The Mighty Pies. I am waiting for Kane Cornes to respond.... please Kane, please...

Jonathan Dowling

Mar 20, 2023

Two requests for 2023 please Titus:
Limit people’s comments to a few lines and please, tip against the Pies every week.

The Honourable Andrew Demetriou OAM

Mar 20, 2023

Hello Titus - Big Andy D here. It was wonderful to see Gilligan's outstanding performance on the Front Bar last week. The way he solemnly stared into the camera and told us that he was absolutely 100% confident that Ed's money spinners wouldn't affect the G's surface and he was absolutely certain that the surface would be perfect. And then there's players sliding everywhere and copping serious leg injuries! Hahaha. Gold. Remember "there is no such thing as tanking"! And how about the big gambling crackdown? All the little kiddies know how to place a multi with Sportsbet but their mum has to pull out of the church footy tipping if she works at the AFL canteen. Hahaha. So good. I'll see if I can get Gil a seat on the Crown board when Robbie Waterhouse takes over as AFL CEO. It's taking a while, isn't it? They've had 10 years to plan for it.


Mar 20, 2023

Buddy one, Pickett two ..... early form from AFL still shows no consistency ....Great to have you back Titus

Peter Muhleisen

Mar 20, 2023

Excellent assemblage of one liners. Great to have you back providing readable footy content here at the end of the universe

The g train

Mar 20, 2023

“Tom Lynch went up for a mark, and the Carlton defenders decided the best approach was to stand by and watch him”. To be fair to Carlton, Titus, that’s pretty much what we all did.

Titus—re: the whole Ross Lyon thing. Do you think that StK supporters should show their true loyalty to the club by being disloyal to the club?

Great start to the season, Titus.

Gmen Fan

Mar 20, 2023

"The Adelaide Crows have never thrived on the Gold Coast"!!
Is that why they were overrun in the third quarter - they left western Sydney at halftime to go to the Gold Coast??
Apart from the geography lapse a great summation. Keep it up please Titus.

Wil Preston

Mar 20, 2023

Good stuff but you got it wrong about Richmond v Carlton. I read and heard reports that it was a “thrilling draw”.

DP Machine

Mar 20, 2023

I particularly liked that you think GWS play out of the Gold Coast - perhaps that’s where their supporter was on Sunday rather than at the wonderful former baseball park in Homebush…

Alan Wellington

Mar 20, 2023

What worries me is , that an Ed Sheeran concert does more damage to the ground than a game of footy.


Mar 20, 2023

Titus - if you can’t barge thru those 5 people on the footpath like Jason Horne-Francis just do a hip & shoulder like Buddy!

Melon Head

Mar 20, 2023

Almost , always enjoy your sardonic humour, a real breath of fresh cutting opinion in a world of mostly boorish ex-players and wannabe journalists. Everyone knows that the real honest accurate comments come from the “The Great Unwashed” particularly after a few “social adjustment medications”.
But seriously the penalties for Head Contact stuff like that we saw from “Kossie” Pickett and Lance Franklin (who has had a long history of this offence) needs to be looked at . Perhaps even the introduction of the “send off” rule. Let’s face it, the “victims” in most cases get dealt a harsher penalty than the “Culprits” , the “victims” are sent off for at least 15 minutes and or the rest of the match, and usually out for at least one more game. Maybe if the Ex-Players Class Action gets up and the AFL are up for serious compensation……. We may see a change.

Michael Devlin

Mar 20, 2023

Channel 7 consistent again, wouldn’t replay Howe’s injury yet continually showed a jockey breaking a vertebrae in a race fall.

Verna Wellington

Mar 20, 2023

Welcome back!!! Have missed your caustic remarks that amuse us all week in, week out, during the footy season. Keep up the good work. Love it!! GO DEES

Michael Devlin

Mar 20, 2023

Channel 7 consistent again, wouldn’t replay Howe’s injury(not that they should have) yet continually showed a jockey breaking a vertebrae in a race fall.

Taking elsternwick by storm

Mar 20, 2023

Truer words were never typed, Titus: the Western Bulldogs have forwards with height, panache, height, good looks, height, more height and popularity with their fans. But kicking goals seems to be like a foreign language to them.

Kelly Lloyd

Mar 20, 2023

Good luck to Liam Jones and his crystals.
Great summary Titus and go Dees!


Mar 20, 2023

"My advice ... is to try to suppress any feelings of hope. Try to feel as dead inside as possible."

Like when your date night is about to reach its climax and you can't believe your luck and then she puts down her phone and asks you, "Is it in yet?"

It's a gran

Mar 20, 2023

Love your work Titus. I'm really not sure, though, that everyone's appreciating the height differential between Pickett and Smith. And not sure that a shoulder to the neck has ever caused concussion.

Peter Avery

Mar 20, 2023

St.Kilda FC had a win on Sunday. Does anybody know that?? Although it looked better than it was I was telling the TV to focus on the ball but it wouldn't. Sorry I had a stroke over the summer.

Titus - Another great summary of the teams.


Mar 20, 2023

"not sure that a shoulder to the neck has ever caused concussion"

Maybe you should be thinking about the scenario where Pickett's wild charge leaves someone with a broken neck? Thank gawd he missed.


Mar 20, 2023

The suggestion that Ed Sheeran could be cited by the MRO - GOLD!
The idea that playing the Eagles is "diet AFL" - GOLD!
3 votes Titus - Welcome back!


Mar 20, 2023

Sooo good to have both footy and your commentary back. 100% ready to overestimate Port Adelaide - for everyone’s sake let this hold true so we can all be comfortable with what you need to write about the Pies next week.

Ara Jansen

Mar 20, 2023

I don't give a rats, a hoot or a fig for football but I LOVE the way you write. Thanks for making me smile. You're the only footy commentary I read. It's a gift, an art and a craft to be this clever and funny for someone who doesn't care about the subject.

Con Cushion

Mar 20, 2023

Turn it up Titus ... I know and admire your ability to avoid corporate speak. But not to use the terms Teachings and Learnings in your paragraph beginning "The problem with Carlton ... " is maybe a little unforgivable! Con.

Stephen Holmes

Mar 20, 2023

Here I was starting to learn the rules of rUnion, and Essendon pulls a black swan moment out of the hat. Memories of the 80s double come flooding back. Nurse!

The g train

Mar 20, 2023

Ara: Titus’s Unhelpful guides and knee jerk reactions are the only guides anyone needs. Footy fan or not. Sure, you won’t get to know any of the Hawthorn players names. But here’s where Titus’s genius shines: we don’t actually need to know. And Titus knows this.

Barbara Tompkins

Mar 20, 2023

I would gladly tell you all that i was able to put an end to my divorce issue and restore my marriage again, because i never wanted it to happen. i don't know what came over my husband that he was filling for divorce, i tried to talk him out of it but he didn't listen to me, i had no other option than to seek for the help in any where I could think of and went to the length of contacting Ultimate Spell and now am glad I did ask for help from him. Because if not for the help Ultimate Spell or Email on: {}I don't know what would have become of my marriage now because i loved my husband so much that i couldn't stand loosing him. The spell worked like magic with the way and manner my husband change and started showing love instead of the divorce he was planning. I'm just too happy that everything is in place for me now. I would gladly recommend the use of spell to any one going through marriage problems and want to put an end to it email Ultimate Spell through his website on

Derek Fletcher

Mar 20, 2023

Don't know any Hawthorn players' names . Titus? Try this one - Luke Breust - 250+ games , 2 goals a game , three Premiership medals, All Australian. One club player , modest ,and unassuming , not covered in tatts. Could've gone to other clubs for more money but stayed loyal. Now nearing the end of his playing career to mentor the young new boys. Absent from your delight in the Hawks' thrashing is acknowledgement that it is the youngest least experienced AFL team in the rebuilding phase which was not started earlier as it possibly should've been. As a supporter , i don't mind them being down the ladder now after winning Flags in the 1970's , '80's, '90's , 2008 and the 2013-4-5 threepeat. Only Hawk supporters like me are lucky to have been alive for all 13 of their club's Flags. Happy other teams are winning , not at all sad mine isn't. Now every time you bag Hawthorn , Titus , i will write to remind you of one thing -1988 Grand Final - Hawthorn 22.20.152 Melbourne 6.20 56.

Ringo Dingo

Mar 20, 2023

Titus: Off-field BOG. (That's not a place in Ireland, that's for here.)

Darren J Ray

Mar 20, 2023

Great to have you back, Titus. (I think you meant ‘past’.)

Mac Hawk

Mar 20, 2023

Sorry Titus but your cheap shot at Liam Jones after the rest of the world has finally succumbed to the fact that he was one of the few to get it right just makes you look like a bitter conservative ideologue. Your claim to being radical has zero clothes.


Mar 21, 2023

Sheesh, Mac Hawk. You prove once again why the Tinfoil Hat Brigade is loathed by 99% of the population. (Hint: Titus is writing satire, not a feckin' medical journal.)


Mar 21, 2023

I hope youve had your 5th 'booster'. Otherwise youre a filthy 'anti-vaxxer' too...
Might want to check the horrific official stats for covid vaccines. Deaths and injuries dwarf all other proper vaccines combined for the last 10 years. My wifes friend almost died after her 2 shots. 6 months off work. My cousin rushed to hospital day after his 2nd shot, thought is was a heart attack. But dont worry about doing your 'own research', just keep lining up for the experimental injections that dont stop you catching, spreading or dying from covid lol. Why do you think all state govts stopped releasing vaxx status of civid cases after the mandates? The numbers are so bad but lets just bury ones head in the sand.

Pupper Mum

Mar 23, 2023

"This is a good strategy for a game of hot potato but not footy."

🤣 So good to have you back Titus.

Roads Scholar

Mar 28, 2023

Thanks Titus. As a humorist it must be gratifying to see how many of your commenters come to your site looking for a laugh.