Mar 27, 2023


The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Two


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 (90) v Geelong (82)

Not since July have the Blues won a game of football, and despite trying to extend that streak, they just couldn’t do it on Thursday night.

Doing it against Geelong made that all the sweeter, as Carlton fans left the ground with a new feeling, happiness.

They have now proven they can win, lose and draw the close ones.

Sure, they make life more uncomfortable for Carlton fans than wearing a mankini, but if they win, they won’t mind.

Don’t ask me how I know a mankini is uncomfortable. Let’s just say this cost-of-living crisis is making us all try new things.

Geelong have not got off to the start they would have liked, and if it wasn’t for Jeremey Cameron, this could have been a belting.

Cameron booted six goals as he threatened to rip the Blues apart. It’s players like him and Dangerfield that show the Cats are just so good at developing players.

A 0-2 start is devastating to Cats fans and enjoyable for the rest of us.


Brisbane (93) v Melbourne (82)

Look, organising the lights to go out wasn’t easy, but it was the only thing I could think to do, as the Dees where in real trouble in this game.

It’s not an original idea; a Detroit Lions fan rang in a bomb threat when his team was losing a playoff game, only he did it off his own phone. Not the sharpest tool in the shed. 

For the Dees, with Steven May a late withdrawal, the worst thing that could ever happen happened, with Max Gawn going down with a knee injury.

The vision of him in the rooms was the saddest thing I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen that clip of Steve Smith trying to sing.

Grant Thomas came out and criticised Gawn for ‘sooking’, which is hilarious from Thomas, who has made sooking a high art form.

Not since Wayne Carey wrote a column on the importance of culture in a footy club has someone exhibited such a lack of self-awareness.

Luckily Max Gawn has escaped a dreaded ACL injury, the one positive for the Dees from the weekend.

Because the Lions made them look ordinary, they were all over them and deserved a much bigger winning margin, the forty-minute delay taking away all their momentum.

Underinvestment in critical infrastructure is a long-term worrying trend, but you know it’s serious if sporting events are being affected.


Collingwood (135) v Port Adelaide (64)

I’ve warned people about Collingwood this year. They are really good and have that positive mindset that good teams have. It’s terrifying and a reminder it’s never a bad time to build a bunker in your backyard.

If you’ve never lived through a Collingwood premiership, think the pandemic combined with the worst person at work lording it over you for 12 months.

Nick Daicos is a terrible role model for youngsters. He makes footy at this level seem easy. It is not.

The way he runs around just getting the ball at will, and then using it almost perfectly every single time, is unnatural.

Then you add Josh, and you have the most terrifying brothers since the Krays.

It’s time the AFL looked into this sinister breeding program the Pies have been running.

The Power not only had no answers, but they also looked like they didn’t even understand the questions.

Probably the most complimentary thing I can say about Port was this was a pitch-perfect impression of the Washington Generals.

Adding more humour to the day was various people acting baffled why Jason Horne-Francis was being booed.

I mean, you can say you don’t like it but don’t pretend you’ve got no idea why it happened.

We all know it’s because he had a tantrum and forced North to trade him. It’s not complicated that many people take a dim view of that.  

In other news, a brawl broke out at this game, making us all ask the question, ‘why were A-League fans allowed into the ground?’

Adelaide (76) v Richmond (108)

The Tigers were cruising in this one, up by as much as 45 points, and by halftime, they obviously decided it was time to put the cue in the rack.

The only negative in the first half for them was when Nathan Broad tried to bury Patrick Parnell under the ground in a sling tackle that should see him miss a few weeks.

The second half however saw the Crows run rampant, kicking five goals to one.

The one thing in Richmond’s favour was the Crows decided to boot eight behinds as well. I’m not sure why they did that.

It set up a tight last quarter, except for the fact that Hardwick pulled off a coaching masterstroke; with just over 12 minutes left in the final term, he subbed off that list clogger Dustin Martin.

It worked, with the Tigers kicking away to win a game while only working two quarters.

Just imagine if the Crows had played all four quarters or kicked accurately. I’m sure that’s all Adelaide fans will be doing this week.

Western Bulldogs (41) v St Kilda (92)

If you’re a Saints fan, this is as good as it gets.

Two wins to start the season, and Mattaes Phillipou running around like he’s a ten-year veteran.

It’s enough to make a St Kilda supporter feel positive about things. Well, as much as a Saints supporter can feel positive, what with the sense of dread that always looms over them.

Especially impressive for the Saints is how quickly they’ve improved defensively under Ross Lyon. Could losing a Grand Final be on the cards?

For every single positive sign for the Saints, the Bulldogs had ten negative ones.

They can neither defend nor score, two fairly important parts of the game. If their intention was to give a sense they didn’t want to vibe there, then mission accomplished.

Their forward line is like handing their opponent four extra defenders, and apart from a couple of stars, the rest look disinterested the minute things get a bit hard.

There was so much underperforming from the Bulldogs it was like a group of actors had been hired to pretend to be footballers.

Fremantle (72) v North Melbourne (73)

It must be nice to be the AFL and be able to review and clear yourself whenever something happens.

Imagine being able to do that in a relationship.

“Look, I’ve reviewed my behaviour on Friday night regarding the incident involving me calling your mother a ‘negative black hole that sucks all enjoyment out of life’, and I’ve reviewed it and assessed it was correct.”

I’m sure Fremantle fans feel a lot better knowing the AFL has ticked off insufficient intent not being called due to the siren going before the ball went out.

“Oh, that’s ok then.”

Not that North were unworthy winners, Fremantle were a bit like the kid who left their homework to the last minute.

Under pressure, they committed more mistakes than the Russian military.

The reality is if they are as good as people thought they would be, handling North Melbourne in Perth should not have come down to the dying seconds and a hopeful umpiring call.

The Dockers certainly had no answers for Luke Davies-Uniacke, who had one of the great performances for a hyphenated player.

North’s pressure was far superior and shows how much harder they are working this year.

I imagine his arrival at the club was a bit like when Homer went to work for Hank Scorpio.

“Are you guys working?”

“Yes, sir, Mr Simpson.”

“Could you, um, work any harder than this?”

“Sure thing, boss.”

The good news for the Dockers is they have the Eagles next week, so they won’t start the season 0-3.

As for North, obviously, premiership favouritism has entered the chat.


Sydney (118) v Hawthorn (37)

A light training drill for the Swans, an existential crisis for the Hawks.

Any sense of reviewing this ‘game’ is completely pointless.  

The Swans were ruthlessly professional, while the Hawks looked like one of those Tik Tok videos where a dad gets hit in the family jewels while the family all stands around and laugh.

Hawks coach Sam Mitchell said after the game, "We've got some challenges," proving he is one of the greatest deadpan comics alive.

That’s like me saying I have ‘a few character flaws.’

The Swans will be thrilled the Hawks gave Logan McDonald and Joel Amartey some confidence and allowed them to try some things, but they were as untroubled as you can be in a game of footy.

Essendon (108) v Gold Coast (80)

I’ve said it a thousand times, never let Kyle Langford boot five goals against you.

But did Gold Coast listen? No.

With Essendon missing Sam Weideman, Peter Wright and Jake Stringer, this was probably a pretty good chance for the Suns to snatch a victory, enter Langford.

The 2023 Coleman Medallist was the difference in what was a fairly even and entertaining game until the Bombers managed to pull away in the last quarter.

For the Suns, starting the season 0-2 is territory as familiar to them as my couch is to me.

For Essendon, these flashes of competency aren’t familiar, and while the sample size is small, it’s a trend we wouldn’t want to continue.

I mean, I’ve lived through Essendon and Carlton being good before, and it was like hell had opened and we lived amongst it.

That’s not an exaggeration either. If anything, I’m understating it.

Just ask anyone over twenty-five years old.

West Coast (100) v Greater Western Sydney (81)

In a shocking development, the West Eagles won a game, raising concern about just how bad the Giants are.

Perhaps the most relatable Giant is Jacob Wehr, who got hammered by Shane McAdam last week, only for Liam Duggan to clean him up this week.

There are those periods in life when you just can’t take a trick. I call these the moment between birth and death.

The second quarter was when it all happened, with the Eagles booting six unanswered goals, as the Giants midfield provided all the resistance of crepe paper.

The Giants recovered late, when the Eagles were well ahead and looked exhausted, but overall, there were more worrying signs than my annual health check.

For West Coast, this was probably their best performance in years, answering critics who didn’t have them in the best two footy teams in Western Australia. 

Next week they play Freo, a chance to prove who is the least worst team in the state.

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




Mar 27, 2023

If you’ve never lived through a Collingwood premiership, think the pandemic combined with the worst person at work lauding it over you for 12 months.

"LORDING it over you" was the phrase you were looking for.


Mar 27, 2023

Great column Titus.

Sorry to be THAT guy, but "disinterested" means impartial; or not standing to gain financially.

The word you wanted was "uninterested".

You're welcome.


Mar 27, 2023

Essendon sitting on the ladder in the top 5. What the hell!!!

It's been such a long time since we've smelt that very rare air up there in the high scaffolding. This is the baby bombers of 2023. We will win some and we will lose some and in spite of it all, we will carry on and learn new tricks with a new coach. Go the baby bombers.

FitzGerald William

Mar 27, 2023

We all have character falls Titus!


Mar 27, 2023

If Hawthorn and the Western Bulldogs keep this up I can just imagine Sam Mitchell and Luke Beveridge winding up like me a few years ago. That was when I was so unemployable that I was reduced to touring northwestern Tasmania with a rubber hammer and a sign saying WILL HIT SELF ON HEAD FOR MONEY.

Go Doggies

Mar 27, 2023

"They can neither defend nor score. Two fairly important parts of the game."
Can someone please email this to Bevo? He seems to have forgotten to mention this to the players.

campbell e dawson

Mar 27, 2023

Point of reference about our favorite AFL CEO; leaving Swans Hawks and walking past and seeing big Gill in the window seat at the Olympic having a beer and a chat. Shouldnt he be schmoozing sponsors or worrying about Hawthorn or whatever his job is. Having a beer and shooting the breeze is what we do

Doggie Dancer

Mar 27, 2023

Don't get too excited Saints fans. It was only the Bulldogs.

Bomber Luke

Mar 27, 2023

Who know the mighty Bombers (they may be again!) had depth in the list Titus? 🤷🏻‍♂️
But the real Hell on Earth is being a Bombers member in Sydney, with the Swines being on top of the table 😳 Hell on Earth indeed, with the Devil's being Swines members and fans🙄🤦🏻‍♂️🤷🏻‍♂️

The G Machine

Mar 27, 2023

I’d defy any SK supporter to have imagined that Lenny Hayes and Rob Harvey would have had such a positive impact on the team. It’s amazing what they’ve achieved in the first two rounds

Running Dog

Mar 27, 2023

Campbell Dawson, don't be too hard on Gill. He was probably just casually explaining to a punter, in a calm, rational manner, over a casual beer, why a major professional sporting competition needs a rule like 'deliberate out of bounds'. "Look mate, the umpires will always get it right. We've trained them to be able to read players' minds. And look at the laws of physics- an oval shaped ball will always travel in a perfectly straight trajectory in the intended direction. Especially when kicked by someone running as fast as possible in the circumstances. And it will always bounce in a predictable manner. So there's no problem here at all. This new rule I've overseen will never affect the result of a game, aggravate supporters who can see that a player was just trying to clear the area, or cause any controversy whatsoever. You're welcome. And it's your shout."

Al Wellington

Mar 27, 2023

Good to see the Wet Toast Weevils finally jag one against Lesser Western Sydney. Nice to see Ben Cousins kick a couple of Majors in the Dads V Brats game earlier. We may see Ben return to Wet Toast next week owing to his brilliance in the curtain raiser. We can only dream !

The gtrain

Mar 27, 2023

As Titus would say, it takes two rounds of footy to form a clear vision of the season ahead. It’s now clear:

1.The dead set premiership favourite—North Melbourne.
2.Legit top 4 Candidate—Essendon. (Brad Scott predictably *trying* to put a lid on things).
3. Also rans after a promising start—Port Adelaide.
4. Best Coaching appointment—StK’s Harvey and Hayes.
5. Don’t write them off just yet—Hawthorn

Titus—it would be more newsworthy if there wasn’t a brawl at a Port-Collingwood game.

Superlative MNJR this round, Titus. Or, as Homer Simpson might say: it was really, really, really good.

Ps A Fox commentator describing a Melbourne player who was on fire early: “He’s literally on fire”.

Con Cushion

Mar 27, 2023

Turn It Up Titus ... "actors being hired to pretend to be footballers". It happens. F(reo) Troop have been paid equity rates for their 8 quarters of work so far this year! Con.


Mar 27, 2023

Check your spelling!

We appreciate you getting your word out on a Monday, but please read your text aloud before posting.

Ken Nett

Mar 27, 2023

Spot on as usual Titus.
Being a Hawks supporter leaves you with plenty of time on your hands, so I had a think about the bump issue. Simple really: penalise every bump with a free and 50. The 50 may seem harsh but the bumpor is certain to chat the ump and claim the bump was legit so may as well save time and award the 50 straight up. However, no penalty should be imposed if the bumpee has one of those shaved up the back of the neck and head haircuts. That way we rid the game of 2 scourges in one stroke.

Son of plugger

Mar 27, 2023

Titus—Is the bump really dead? And what does a “bump” really mean? What about the “side to side and not high” bump? And what does “dead” really mean? It will always be dead and alive. It’s like a “push in the back” in a marking contest. Some such “push in the backs” are “dead” in that they are against the rules, whilst it’s also permissible to a point and depending on the situation and magnitude of the push, and unfortunately depending on who’s the pusher and who’s the pushee. And even when it’s against the rule, or at least adjudicated to be against the rule, it still happens round after round, season after season. So it’s kind of dead AND alive, depending how you look at it. And depending who is looking at it. Same with the bump. Surely the unavoidable and “side to side and not high” bump will always be alive? The shirtfront especially and any high bump (even a “side to side” one) is definitely “dead” because it is now against the rules of footy—but players will surely sometimes do it because they are often young and impulsive and reckless. Or because they’re just impulsive and reckless. So it’s “alive” because it will always occur. Even if only in possibility. And so will happen sooner or later. Usually sooner. So for a coach to exclaim “the bump is dead” is a bit naive and overly simplistic and doesn’t really understand the principle of superposition, the reckless human condition, and the never ending interpretations and the “fine definition” of what is and what isn’t a bump. But The AFL and lawyers and Titus are giving it real crack in trying to sort out the whole bump issue.

Anyhow, Titus—laughed heaps at your knee jerk reactions. Nobody was around to hear the laughter. So perhaps I didn’t actually laugh.


Mar 27, 2023

I think the umpires at Optus decided they would rather not face the wrath of Clarkson and took the easy way out.
Smart men.


Mar 27, 2023



Mar 27, 2023

"It’s players like him and Dangerfield that show the Cats are just so good at developing players." A good line and so true, but also true of other top teams Richmond (Lynch, Hopper, Taranto et al), Lions (Dunkley, Neale, Daniher, Gunston et al), Pies (Mitchell, McStay), Power (Dixon, Allir) and, hang on, our team the mighty Dees (May, Lever, Grundy, Langdon, Hunter, Brown, Tomlinson). That's modern footy, isn't it? Trading established stars trumps player development when your premiership window is open.

Nathen Gibson

Mar 27, 2023

The Good Friday match might be worth watching this year North vs Carlton

Timothy Nichols

Mar 27, 2023

If you’ve never lived through a Collingwood premiership, think the pandemic combined with the worst person at work lauding it over you for 12 months.

"Matthew LLYODING it over you" was the phrase you were looking for.

Billtheboilermaker's Son

Mar 27, 2023

Titus, you are a national treasure. Your insights are priceless, and so are those who leave comments. I loved the observations of Son of Plugger and thought I would add a few more examples to his in-the-back rule challenges. It involves jumping, so it's ok to jump into or onto the back of a player (and even knee them in the head) while going for a mark as long as the umpire thinks you got a hand to the ball. Also if a player is so stupid as to put his hands on the ball while it is being contested on the ground, then the whole opposing team can jump on his back and usually the first one to do so will be awarded a free kick. Maybe others can add to this list.

I'm pretty sure I heard you laugh, but then again maybe it was me.


Mar 27, 2023

Thanks Titus for another good laugh! As a Saints supporter, I'm waiting for someone to shake me awake, but until they do, I'm lovin' it!

Atrocious Conditions

Mar 27, 2023

"Matthew LLYODING it over you" was the phrase you were looking for.

Matthew Llyod is not amused.

Daniel B

Mar 27, 2023


From Oxford Dictionary,

"2. having or feeling no interest in something; uninterested."

Your welcome.

(Yep, the "your" was just to trigger you.

Derek Fletcher

Mar 27, 2023

Sorry to be serious , but while i agree with all those saying there are frees paid for "deliberate" when the kick is obviously not,
I think the umps are told to penalise if there is no player near enough to stop it going out of bounds. So the penalty is not for deliberate out of bounds so much as failure to keep the ball in play. The rule needs a change of name - at least in the popular imagination. (I think i'm right saying this and am interested in other ppl's views if i'm not.)

Atrocious Conditions

Mar 27, 2023



We can all can just picture you in a t-shirt with I AM A ENGLISH TEACHER emblazoned on it.


Mar 28, 2023

Gosh. The spelling, grammar and semantics controversies are heating up. And Matthew Lloylodl to boot.

"Why were A-League fans allowed into the ground?" Gold! Cheenius!


Mar 28, 2023

Since when has Titus started correcting any copy? Minor errors of various description are his brand. Don't mess with tradition!

Derek Fletcher: if you are serious, google "insufficient intent".

Also, can someone clarify for me the difference between a shirtfront and a bump? Is a shirtfront a subspecies of bump, a synonym or something altogether slightly different?

Lee Kear

Mar 28, 2023

And, Breathe...


Mar 28, 2023

To Out on the Full and all the tiresome grammar critics on here, Lauding it over you is correct, Lording it over you is not. And if only we had Cam McCarthy, Rory Lobb and Nat Fyfe in the forward line then they'd pay attention.


Mar 28, 2023

@PETEDOCKER That's strange, because before I wrote that I checked here

Son of plugger

Mar 28, 2023

SF: yes, a shirtfront in *footy* is a subspecies of a bump and a synonym and something altogether slightly different. Pretty much the same as you what you wrote, only slightly different. It’s also something that Tony Abbott almost used but only in a very figurative sense. Although if he actually intended it in the literal slang sense, that would have been really funny.

Tarax Club

Mar 29, 2023

Flick the switch on the Gabba. According to the locals all it needs is a coat of paint for the forthcoming Commonwealth? (sic) Olympic games. If Joh Bjelke-Petersen miraculously arose from the grave and directed a clandestine midnight demolition it would still not change last Friday’s result. But would spare us from future occurrences of the winning coach demonising the AFL adjudication Strange days in the moonlight state.


Mar 30, 2023

Daniel B., Mar 27, thank you, I did not know that.

But as a lover of clear English, I feel commonsense should prevail.

If two words describe the same thing, but one of those two words also has a second meaning, it is surely sensible to defer to the word with only the one meaning.

(And yes, I’m aware even “uninterested” has a second meaning, but it is far closer to its primary meaning than the second meaning of “disinterested” is to its first.)