Jul 21, 2023


A highly unhelpful guide to Round Nineteen


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 Nineteen.


Essendon vs. Western Bulldogs (Marvel) 7:50pm Seven/Fox

It’s seventh versus eight as we get down to business of working out who is going to play finals.

If it was up to the AFL, everyone would get to play finals, like this is some modern game of pass the parcel where everyone gets a prize.

Incoming AFL boss Andrew Dillon is apparently keen on a wildcard round, which the AFL has floated before.

It’s such an obvious money grab, and you know that because they say it would be ‘exciting for the fans’, and we all know the AFL never worries about something like that.

Essendon have not performed well against the Doggies in recent years, but this year is different for them, or it was until that rather unpleasant trip down to Geelong.

Recovering from that won’t be easy, but the good news for them is the Bulldogs have been about as convincing as the accents in House of Gucci.

That makes tipping this almost impossible; both sides make strong cases for missing finals.

I’m tipping the Bulldogs. 

Saturday, Jul 22

Richmond vs. Hawthorn (MCG) 1:45pm Fox Footy

There was a lot of talk this week about Maurice Rioli Jr refusing to take a phone call from Andrew McQualter while sitting on the bench after being subbed out.

This was the least surprising thing ever; millennials don’t take phone calls. What was McQualter thinking? Just send a text.

This would have been a story if Rioli Jr had taken the call, ‘Twenty-year-old Answers Phone’ the New York Times would have plastered across their front page.

The Tigers are a chance to make finals, not a good chance, but a chance, and a huge win over Hawthorn would be just what they need.

The good news for Hawthorn fans is there’s not long to go now in the season. It’s tough watching this happen to them.

I can’t think of any group of fans who have suffered for as long as Hawthorn fans.

Tigers to win.

Carlton vs. West Coast (Marvel) 2:10pm Fox Footy

The Blues will be without Patrick Cripps, Adam Cerra and Harry McKay, which could mean their winning margin could be just under one hundred.

Sure, it would be beyond funny if Carlton lost this, but it’s not going to happen. This West Coast side is one of the worst sides of all time.

They then had to spend time this week addressing claims Harley Reid doesn’t want to go there.

Reid denies this, but again, the story would only be interesting if he did want to go there.

No number one draft pick wants to go where they will be drafted because it will be the worst team.

That’s just the way it works.

If anything, Reid is probably overwhelmed at the idea of going to an AFL team and already being their best player, and knowing he’s going to have to teach these guys the sport.

Blues to win.

Brisbane vs. Geelong (G) 4:35pm Fox Footy

Brisbane are coming off a Houdini-like escape from winning last week, and now they face the team that stole the soul of Essendon.

The Lions did everything right last week except the winning bit, which is fairly key.

They’ll want to be a lot sharper this time, as the Cats are hitting some form after a rather bumpy first half of the season.

Geelong are a good side, but it’s hard to know how much stock to put into last week’s game. The Bombers looked defeated from the opening bounce.

It’s easy to dominate a side who look more out of their depth than the Kendall Roy.

Brisbane may be able to blow last second leads, but they will put up a much bigger fight than Essendon did.

I’ve felt for Geelong this week. With the Commonwealth Games being cancelled in Victoria, where will their next bit of government funding come from? It may be weeks until another politician throws millions of dollars at the Cats.

I’m tipping the Lions.

Fremantle vs. Sydney (OS) 7:40pm Fox Footy

In a week of meaningful games, here’s one that means nothing.

Both these sides have had incredibly disappointing seasons. Sydney probably overachieved last year, and learnt a harsh lesson, overachieve and you get belted by Geelong and don’t recover the next year.

It’s why I’ve never come close to overachieving. Even just achieving is something I avoid.

Fremantle have shocked the entire football world, except for their fans, with their performance this year.

But I’d argue the Swans have been the more disappointing team.

The good news is that in this game we get to settle it.

Forget the wooden spoon or the premiership, there should be an award for most disappointing team.

We can call the award ‘The Crystal Skull' in honour of the most disappointing Indiana Jones movie.

I’m tipping the Swans to win The Crystal Skull, which means Fremantle wins this.

Port Adelaide vs. Collingwood (AO) 7:40pm Seven/Fox

Now this is a game. A potential Grand Final preview, two sides that until recently have fought over clothing design more than the pinnacle of footballing excellence.

The Power have gotten the loss they had to have out of the way, and get Jason Horne-Francis, Charlie Dixon and Trent McKenzie all back from injury. 

Willie Rioli also returns, while the Pies get Brody Mihocek back.

Both these sides have tons of young talent and play fast and exciting football, making this, hopefully a great game.

It’s a shame it’s up against Freo and the Swans.

When you analyze these two teams, the Pies have a clear advantage in one key area, the amount of Daicoses.

It’s not all doom and gloom for Port, who have a massive advantage in a stat I value highly, players with hyphenated names.

They have Jason Horne-Francis, Sam Powell-Pepper and Darcy Byrne-Jones.

Collingwood have none, with Will Hoskin-Elliott out injured.

It basically means these two teams are even, the amount of Daicoses and players with hyphenated names basically cancelling each other out.

I’m tipping the Power but it’s a coin flip.


Greater Western Sydney vs. Gold Coast (Manuka) 1:10pm Fox Footy

The Giants sit in ninth spot, and with every chance the Bulldogs or Essendon will lose this week, and it’s not beyond St Kilda to lose to North.

Which makes this a must-win and given the Suns have done their normal thing of only playing the first half of the season, they’re a real chance to move into the eight.

While the Suns have struggled in the AFL, the good news, according to Gillon McLachlan, is they’ve completely won over the state of Queensland to AFL.

This is so true. Whenever I’m in Queensland, and the media is awash with League stories, I think, ‘the AFL are dominating this state.’

That’s the thing about being a powerful CEO; you don’t worry about reality, you just say what you want to be true.

To be fair, the Suns did sell out a game recently when Collingwood played there.

Therefore, the way to win over the Gold Coast is to move Collingwood there. Simple. I’ll send my consultant fee to Gillion.

Giants to win.

Melbourne vs. Adelaide (MCG) 3:20pm Seven/Fox

Adelaide really didn’t need that loss to the Giants last week, and another here and those dreams of a top eight finish will disappear faster than my dreams of making a living from modern dance.

The Dees have spent a lot of the week being discussed in terms of what they are going to do with Brodie Grundy.

I know what they’re going to do, whatever gives them the best chance of winning.

Football teams are fairly simple like that. If the team works better without him, that’s what they’ll do.

All the rest is just talk.

It’s a shame. I’ve always wanted to see a team of all rucks, but no team has ever been brave enough to try it.

It’s hard to know what has happened to the Crows. They were travelling along so well, actually, they have not been travelling that well, but they were winning at home.

Then they lost to the Giants at home, which was careless.

A win here would change everything, but I can’t see it happening.

I’m tipping the Dees.

St Kilda vs. North Melbourne (Marvel)   4:40pm Fox Footy

With the Saints struggling to maintain their position in the top eight, facing North couldn’t come at a better time.

And North are very bad. They only look a bit better than they are because they are standing next to West Coast.

Like when I used to stand next to Jeff because, after his industrial accident, I looked like a member of One Direction in comparison.

Yet we all know St Kilda could easily blow this. They struggled against West Coast after all.

It’s no great surprise. If Ross Lyon is the answer, you’re asking the wrong questions.

Off the field, former coach Brett Ratten shot back at claims by Nick Riewoldt that training standards had been sub-par.

"The only time he (Riewoldt) came was for free physio, that's the only time he was at the club, so I don't know where he saw those standards," Ratten said.

My condolences to Riewoldt’s family after that drive-by.

To be fair, standards have obviously risen, what with the free fall they are currently in.

Surely though the win this? Right? RIGHT?

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 Footballer Who Wasn’t, available wherever you get your podcasts.


Atrocious Conditions

Jul 21, 2023

That's interesting, the idea of measuring a team's potency by the number of hyphenated names on its roster.

American baseball managers (they're called managers, not coaches) used to share a belief that fewer vowels in your surname made you a better player. So Voss would be good, but not Mihocek or Bontempelli or Cameron or Lukocius.

Jim Tilbrook's Cheque

Jul 21, 2023

Sorry Titus, but I think you will find 20 year olds are Gen Z. Most Millenial footballers have retired or play for Geelong.
Nonetheless, Gen Z also don't take phone calls and I'm not totally convinced about your texting suggestion. Perhaps a TikTok video may have got Rioli Jnr's attention

Christine Buchwald

Jul 21, 2023

When you say you “can’t think of any group of fans who have suffered as long as a Hawthorn fan” have you met a Saints fan? Can’t see any reason we wouldn’t bet on Nth beating them this weekend 🙈🙈🙈

The Russell Colcott Experience

Jul 21, 2023

From my temporary Japan perspective:
Grundy’s hair do suits
Old Shintaro TV shows
Not Casey FF


Jul 21, 2023

I recently found a message I sent in March 2021 lamenting that the pies would have a poor season ahead but we would soon double our amount of Daicoses and enter into a period of dominance not seen since the 1920’s. I don’t have a point really, I’m just bloody happy with the way things are going right now.

If Andrew McQualter wanted to get Maurice Rioli Jr‘s attention he just needed to slide into his DM’s. I believe that’s how the ‘Zs’ handle most of their important correspondence these days.

Duane Washington

Jul 21, 2023

The correct English is Daicii. Not Daicoses. Please refer to cacti not cactuses . Which are similar as nobody touches them either. Daicii =Cactii


Jul 21, 2023

Attention Titus & Duane. The plural of Daicos = Daicai. It’s not an English word!

Pedantic Goat

Jul 21, 2023

Duane Washington - when one studies Classics at a fancy private school, one learns that the correct pluralisation of Latin words (ending in -s) is to convert the suffix to -ii (such as gladius / gladii), while Greek words are pluralised by appending -es (such as octopuses).

As the Daicos family is descended from Greek heritage, one must postulate that the plural of Daicos is Daicoses...

But thank you for providing my brain with a distraction from the impending disaster of this weekend's games.

the g train

Jul 21, 2023

Agree, Titus. Phone calls are just creepy.

Also love hyphenated names: imagine if a Byrne-Jones married a Powell-Pepper. Perhaps a sensible compromise and choose Pepper-Byrne as the last name?

It's certainly not beyond North to lose to St Kilda. Would need Mary Poppins' help, but.

Jim Tilbrook's Cheque

Jul 21, 2023

OMG Pedantic Goat. I think you have opened up a whole Pandora's box of worms with your suggestion that the Daicos clan are of Greek ancestry, when I think they are more precisely Macedonian. This distinction has led to more than a little strife over the millennia.

Telstra’s boy toy

Jul 21, 2023

I tried to phone-in some personalised feedback but the answer machine just laughed at me.


Jul 21, 2023

The plural of Daicoses also occurred to me while reading but I see earlier commenters have already covered that subject. I would, however, draw your attention, Titus, to the correct English when referring to how many Daicoses are on the field. It is not an amount of Daicoses, it is the number of Daicoses. It is also the number, not amount, of kicks, marks, disposals and Brownlow votes they accrue. You can, however, refer to the amount of game time they don't spend on the bench.

Derek Fletcher

Jul 21, 2023

Bit strange , Titus, to say "I can’t think of any group of fans who have suffered for as long as Hawthorn fans." (Or were you joking? Bit subtle if you were.) For a start , Christine Buchwald above has a good point. Secondly , your Demons had a pretty long drought , as did the Dogs , Pies , Tigers and Swans before finally coming good in September. The Hawks last won a flag eight years ago - not exactly a huge span of years in an 18 team competition.. As a card-carrying old fart , my Hawks have won all their 13 Premierships in my lifetime. At least one in every decade '60's, '70's, 80's , 90's , 2000's and the threepeat 2013-4-5. Certainly not complaining now they're down the bottom for a change, with still time to win a Flag again in the 2020's. I hope Christine's Saints win one first though.

Con Cushion

Jul 21, 2023

Turn it up Titus ... St Kilda lost 48 games on the trot between 1897 to 1899, then won against Melbourne in the opener at the turn of the century. So there you go; Melb worse, St Kilda runner up and current Eagles bronze for worst team ever!! Con.

Mac Hawk

Jul 21, 2023

"Overall Méndez Dosuna concludes that Ancient Macedonian was a Greek dialect closely related to North-West dialects, which featured some idiosyncratic but not entirely implausible phonetic phenomena in its consonantal phonology."
Looks like Titus was right after all - 'Daicoses'
Not that I rejoice in the fact that he accidently got it right - his grammar and typos are the only reason I come here.

Barton Mackay

Jul 21, 2023

Love it!!! A team full of Rucks. Classic


Jul 21, 2023

Is Gillon ever going to go away?

Across the Face

Jul 21, 2023

There is a precedent for that Wild Card games envisaged by the AFL boffins. It's in Japan, an archipelago in northeast Asia. They're big on baseball.

Allow me to explain.

They have two leagues, each with six teams. It used to be that the top team in each league played a seven-game series to determine the national champion. The series is called the Japan Series. That system was simple, clear, comfortable and concise.

Then the administrators caught a case of AFLitis and decided to scrap all that and squeeze extra dough from the broadcasters and the fans. They did this by extending the post-season with a Wild Card stage.

The top three (three!) teams in each league play each other in a series of mostly meaningless games to decide who will get to finally represent that league in the Japan Series.

In effect, they now prolong the foreplay to about as much as even the most devoted fans can stand. And only then do they get down to business.

For AFL fans the whole idea makes very little sense. So it's sure to be locked in as soon as the bigwigs reckon they can get away with it.

T Bone

Jul 21, 2023

Whatever happens with Gawn and Grundy, at least we won't die wondering. Same with the Bulldogs 4 tall forward line.


Jul 21, 2023

Turn it up Con Cushion. St Kilda might have won the season opener at the turn of the century but Melbourne won the flag that year. We all remember the 1900 premiership fondly.

The Cleaner

Jul 21, 2023

Willie Rioli In
Junior Rioli Out


Jul 21, 2023

Prediction: Melbourne trade out Brodie Grundy, then Max Gawn snaps his ACL at training 3 days before Melbourne's 2024 Round 1 game.

Leighton Walling

Jul 21, 2023

If Ross Lyon is the answer, you’re asking the wrong questions.


Jul 21, 2023

Titus, I'm 51 years old and this is the second longest flag drought of my life. I'm not used to my Hawks not winning a flag every 4-5 years. It must be a conspiracy. No worries though, it's nice for others to have a turn. I'm sure our time will come again.


Jul 21, 2023

I like the analysis of a game based on The Sons Of v The Hyphens

Andrew Taylor

Jul 21, 2023

I think its under stated how many police will be at the Port v Collingwood and how busy yhe will be arresting both sets of supporters fir outstanding warrants

Dirty Bludger

Jul 21, 2023

How have a seemingly intelligent group, especially after having a discussion involving wordplay, COMPLETELY missed the sarcasm about Hawthorn fans?
Are you all umpires in training?

Macca RB

Jul 21, 2023

"It's a shame it is up against Freo and the Swans">
Yes it is".
We, unfortunate residents of NSW will be forced to watch another episode of the interminable Farewell Buddy Tour of Australia, rather than what should be the best game of the round.

Halftime Spray

Jul 21, 2023

How have a seemingly intelligent group, especially after having a discussion involving wordplay, COMPLETELY missed the sarcasm about Hawthorn fans?
Are you all umpires in training?

Some of the group may just be overcaffeinated.


Jul 21, 2023

Andrew Taylor Jul 21, 2023 True dat. Plus I think it'll be an absolute picnic for the teams of dental surgeons trolling for business.


Jul 22, 2023

Maybe Sharon Stone and Micheal Douglas can help the Swans, well that’s my theory…


Jul 22, 2023

I'm going to postulate that Titus's references to suffering Hawthorn supporters should not be taken literally. Rather, it can be seen as a form of ironic expression known as 'sarcasm', sometimes employed for humorous effect, sometimes just to come across like a complete arse. In this context, the irony is that Hawthorn supporters have enjoyed nine premierships since 1983. This is considerably more success than any other club in the modern era. By suggesting the opposite, that Hawthorn have suffered more than teams with little or no success during the same period (see St Kilda), the extreme inaccuracy of the statement may strike some readers as amusing to some degree. This appears to be the main intent of his weekly match previews. Most other media outlets focus more on factors which could influence the outcome of each game, rather than elements of team history or supporter psychology that can be rephrased in unexpected ways to elicit humorous responses.

Who Flung Dung

Jul 22, 2023

Derek Fletcher what planet are you from? Of course Titus was serious when he said Hawthorn fans have suffered so much just like all his writings are serious and no alien humour is purported nor intended.

The only thing wrong with his statement he hasn't qualified how much more we want them to suffer and for how much longer.

People need to stop talking about the plural of Darcy's, there's already more than Non Collingwood fans can handle and the thought or more to come will send chills down our spine for the next 30 years. Just imagine Collingwood dominating for the next 40 years unbearable to think about.

Julie Anne Duncan

Jul 23, 2023

I have issues with the Crystal Skull too but it sounds like you haven't seen the Dial of Destiny

Grant Winkler

Jul 24, 2023

Hello Titus,

I’m re-reading The Highly Unhelpful Guide to Round 19 while awaiting the Monday Knee Jerk reaction. You actually did fairly well on the tipping for this round. This is not why I read you. Now that we’re in the the death throes of the regular season with positions 5-8 still up for grabs, I really need you to mislead and misinform so as to generate the maximum upset.

Your’s infelicitiously, Grant Winkler.