Sep 11, 2023


The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Finals Week 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.


Collingwood (60) v Melbourne (53)

The AFL started the finals with a Coles ‘Prices are down’ mascot attending the coin toss. It was a wonderful reminder that the AFL will protect the sanctity of the game unless you offer them money.

Once the game started, the niceties of the regular season were over quickly, with Brayden Maynard committing attempted murder in the opening moments of the finals.

The jury is literally out on whether it was intention, or he was bracing himself.

The general consensus of the people, both Pies and Demons fans, I’ve spoken to, is he’ll either get off or be suspended for three weeks.

How can this be so? Because it’s the AFL Tribunal, where anything can happen.

The AFL are torn. They want to send a clear message about concussion, but it’s finals.

One thing the majority of us could agree on is chanting your team’s name as an opponent is laying unconscious on the ground is not a good look.

The rest of game was defined by one thing, the Dees avoiding scoring to a level that was almost pathological.

For large swathes of the game, the Dees had the ball up forward, only to invent innovative new ways not to score.

The Pies would then wait for the Dees to tire themselves out then rebound and score a goal almost immediately.

The Dees had an inside-50 advantage of 69-37 for the game and outscored the Pies 3.2 to 0.2 in the final quarter.

It was rope a dope and the Dees played the role of the dope to perfection.

While Melbourne’s forward line was as dysfunctional as my family, special mention needs to go to their midfield, who bombed the ball into the forward line all game, despite all the evidence it was not working.

Not since Daryl Somers performed at the Logies have so many bombs been launched.

The Pies were thrilled. Their pressure game paid off even when they weren’t at their best, they get a week off, Nick Daicos will be back, and they consigned the Dees to having to go through Brisbane in Brisbane if they make it at all. 

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Carlton (74) v Sydney (68)

Something unbelievable happened on Friday night, like watching a hamster sing a perfect aria, or Qantas putting customers first; Carlton won a final.

It was that unexpected, and I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t watched it with my own eyes.

We must now all face the reality that Carlton are a good football team.

I am at the anger and bargaining stage of grieving about this.

While Carlton were good, the Swans decision to kick just two goals in the first half may have been a mistake.

Personally, I would have kicked a lot more goals than that.

In the second half, the Swans seemed to realise this and started storming back. The Carlton supporters near me had all the ghosts from the past rushing back to visit them.

Yet the Swans couldn’t take their chances, and some desperate acts in the final moments got the Blues over the line.

Blues fans celebrations were momentarily dampened when they realised finals went more than one week, but here they are still alive in September.

Being Carlton, there was some bad news, Harry McKay was ruled out of next weekend with a concussion, and Jack Martin got two weeks for striking Nick Blakey.

John Longmire complained about the Score Review System, and to be fair, he admitted they had benefitted from it themselves recently.

The problem is, the AFL use the same cameras that people use to film UFOs and Yetis for score reviews.


St Kilda (77) v Greater Western Sydney (101)

The AFL’s dream of a Port Adelaide-Greater Western Sydney Grand Final is over, as the two will play next week.

For the Giants to be here at all, and so convincingly, is a testament to the turnaround under Adam Kingsley. Imagine if they’d gotten rid of Leon Cameron earlier!

Someone said to me on the weekend that the Giants are everyone’s second team, which made me wonder if they are anyone’s first team.

But, at the MCG, there they were, actual Giants fans and they were thrilled as their team tore apart the Saints with their speed.

This shouldn’t be that surprising, there is so much talent at the Giants, take for instance, Tom Green who had 36 disposals and nine inside 50s. He’s 22 years old.

My biggest achievement at 22 was winning a meat tray at the local pub raffle.

And yes, I know that eclipses Green’s performance, but he still did a good job.

In many ways, St Kilda impressed to get this close.

Twice, they fell behind by more than 40 points. It’s to their credit they kept coming back, but falling behind by forty points twice is something most teams try to avoid.

In the end, they looked out of their depth, like when I’m in a conversation and it moves onto any topic but football.

Saints supporters left with mixed feelings. Their side got a lot out of themselves this season, given the injuries they started the year with.

But honourable losses are like alcohol-free beer; they aren’t what we’re here for.

Brisbane (123) v Port Adelaide (75)

The most one-sided of all the games, as Port underwhelmed so much it was like they were a TV series created by The Weeknd.

The pitchforks will be out for Ken Hinkley, given there are many Port fans who want him gone even if he wins the Premiership.

Again, it was the Power’s defense that was the problem, it managed Brisbane’s forward line like I manage money.

Joe Daniher finished with five goals, and there were contributors everywhere.

Charlie Cameron kicked two, and nothing says Australian Rules football like John Denver’s Country Roads.

But selecting a song to play after you kick a goal is always hard. I would choose Closer by Nine Inch Nails.

Port now have to take on the Giants, not exactly an easy game for them, while the Lions can sit back, knowing they get a prelim at home. They can’t lose!

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This week’s Sports Bizarre episode is The America’s Cup: Part Two, available wherever you get your podcasts.


Nothing to see here.

Sep 11, 2023

Maynard to get 1 (should be none), Brayshaw needs to retire, less awareness than Titus on a first date. Eddie's head to explode if Maynard gets anything less than an apology. Carlton likely to win the flag now that Harry McKay is out - unless they bring him back. The AFL to do all it can to ruin another finals series.


Sep 11, 2023

Is the footy still on? Wouldn't have known if I didn't get this email.


Sep 11, 2023

Tom Hickey had his swansong game but couldn't sing the Swans song because they lost. Ironically if they'd won, he could have sung the Swans song. but it wouldn't have been his swansong as he would be playing next week.


Sep 11, 2023

I have never wanted you to kick a goal more!!! The looks on the faces on the little kids would be priceless!!!


Sep 11, 2023

Maynard has to get at least three. If Maynard had braced with his left instead of right he would have got the right shoulder. He always was going for the player, it's his makeup.
And Christian should be sacked


Sep 11, 2023

Maynard needs to be wiped out for the rest of the season as that's what he has done to Gus - if the Dees progress to the Prelim and GF it will be most assuredly at this point in time without Gus. Not to mention that Maynard has probably ended Gus' playing career. So nothing other that wiped out for the season is good enough, in my opinion.


Sep 11, 2023

The country roads sing along is a direct rip off from one of the US college teams. One of the other college teams uses Metallicas enter sandman to great effect. Personally, I would like to see something far more authentic from the bears - like Living next to Allan by Kevin Bloody Wilson.


Sep 11, 2023

Great to see the Orange team beat St Kilda. They’ll win their first flag before Fremantle.

The g train

Sep 11, 2023

In outstanding form, Titus! Your last few weeks of The Unhelpful Guide has been spectacularly unhelpful, and today’s knee jerk reaction was perhaps your funniest and most satirical idiotic irrational nonsense ever!

“Because it’s the AFL Tribunal, where anything can happen.” But surely that’s the magnificent appeal of this tribunal?

“They can’t lose”. So it seems. According to Zen and the 3rd law of Thermodynamics, everything is lost. In the end.


Sep 11, 2023

Gold as always Titus, and @Paulie, great suggestion: "Allan, Allan, who the **** is Allan". Jump Around by House of Pain at 3 quarter time of College Football in Wisconsin is pretty epic.


Sep 11, 2023

Closer? A very good choice, but almost as aggressive as Maynard. Personally, I would go for something a little more self-grandiose with Spiderbait's "awesome".


Sep 11, 2023

Had Brayshaw not stepped right after he kicked the ball, which went to Maynard’s right as he tried to smother it, he wouldn’t have stepped into Maynard’s trajectory. As for twisting right or left, as a right hander, I’d have done the same thing.
Maynard was going for the ball. Next time a bloke goes for a mark and his knee concusses the bloke underneath him, will he be sent to the Tribunal?
And why wasn’t Rohan rubbed out for concussing Jeremy Cameron?

Atrocious Conditions

Sep 11, 2023

Why do people "film UFOs and Yetis for score review"?

WA Bogan

Sep 11, 2023

Depending on which way the wind is blowing at AFL HQ today, Maynard will either get sentenced to death or awarded the Victoria Cross.
Much ado has been made about the AFL Chairman (Goyder) not showing up for any of the finals, but please bear in mind that he's a Dockers supporter and isn't too familiar with the notion of football in September.


Sep 11, 2023

Funny thing - since the Toby Greene Rule has prevented him from tackling oppos cleats first, he's had to play actual footy. (And he's gotten quite good, too!)

Original Collingwood Bogan

Sep 11, 2023

@WA Bogan: I know there's a bit of a tradition for humorous comments, but yours were accurate as well: at last, someone has correctly identified the ends of the spectrum of possible sanctions for Bruz. Hopefully he doesn't then get done for war crimes if he gets the VC - that does seem to be the emerging pattern.

And re Goyder - I suspect his problem is that he doesn't want to be seen flying in Business Class on Qantas, Economy class on Qantas, and is unaware that there is another domestic airline that actually sponsors AFL that could fly him to Melbourne, Adelaide or Brisbane, and if he was aware, wouldn't want to be seen anywhere near Virgin. Apparently, the private jet is down at the shop getting serviced.

@Frosty, don't ask sensible questions about marking contests just being part of the game: If you get concussed in a marking contest, that's your fault for attempting to mark the footy, and the other player who put their knee into the back of your head had no duty of care, even if they left the ground, and even if you backed into their knee after they left the ground and they couldn't do anything about it.

And while we're on it, apparently you can concuss your own teammate, but the concussion isn't nearly as bad as when an opposition player does it. It's low impact, or something?

That's enough sensible footy talk.

saint peter

Sep 11, 2023

Well done Titus. You always know how to gather people up & give sage advice like, the side that loses on the weekend is always not scoring enough goals & you do it differently. It definitely makes sense I wonder if the coach who is losing is considering that option.

Also you have it spot on with the AFL tribunal. No one knows how the tribunal will see the contact between Maynard & Brayshaw. This is difficult because you have a Collingwood player that is only average but is he a good enough player for the tribunal to say nothing to see here. I bet that is the case.

As a Saints supporter yes it is like Alcohol Free Beer, only know one drinks the stuff. I knew the Saints would lose because every year one side who finished below the other team loses in week one & when the Swans didn't get up I knew it would be the Saints.

Darren J Ray

Sep 11, 2023

Glad to get this, Titus. I haven't received the Highly Unhelpful Guide since July. Go Dees.

WA Bogan

Sep 11, 2023

Ignoring the guiltiness or not of Maynard for a while, what stunned me was how high he got on a footy field - he looked a lot like a Dementor for a Harry Potter fillum, and had a similar effect. We have to go back to the WCE in the naughties to see anything remotely similar.


Sep 11, 2023

My song after scoring a goal would be 'I touch myself'.
I'd love top see the reaction.

David ROgers

Sep 11, 2023

Too kind to Qantas re Carlton win, more like Alan Joyce offering all his shares and bonuses to staff as an apology for being twat…Maynard to get 1

Patrick Talty aka Don Pateerico

Sep 11, 2023

Great stuff, but why was Van Rooyen reported and rubbed out without comment from any pundit?

And BTW I still don't receive the Thursday predictions


Don Paterico

Eddie’s Shorts

Sep 11, 2023

Hey Gil, WTF has KISS got to do with anything? This is the year for King Stingray.

Black Swamp Barracker

Sep 11, 2023

My suggestion for the post-goal singalong: Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again? (No way, Get F***ed, F*** Off!). It's not particularly RELEVANT, but it's been very stirring every time I've heard it.

Oh and ... I'm loving the way Titus's already-genius genius level rises when there's not so many matches to talk about. Reduce the league to half a dozen teams, I say.


Sep 11, 2023

“Like a hamster singing a perfect aria”, “as dysfunctional as my family”. An outstanding column!

Son of plugger

Sep 11, 2023

Saint Peter: And GWS have always won at least one final in every series they have contested. And I think the GWS players are on the same supplements as their coach. Too strong across the board.

How about the Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt”?


Sep 11, 2023

I’ve been pushing for the Hoodoogurus song “like wow wipeout” to be used by one of the Brisbane Lions players as a goal celebration song. Have a listen, people, it would be the greatest.
Unfortunately my only push comes from writing this in Titus’ comments.
Someone with more endeavour and Facebook friends will have to take up the cause.
Go forth!


Sep 11, 2023

Darcy Fogarty has chosen the interesting Billy Squier selection "The Stroke" as his goal song. Although I'm yet to hear the Adelaide crowd go up in unison on the chorus of "Stroke me, stroke me"!

BIll Dusting

Sep 11, 2023

Closer, by Nine Inch Nails? I had you pegged for Baked Beans, by Mother Goose.

Con Cushion

Sep 11, 2023

Turn It Up Titus ... my friend Pompous O'Grandly took a snap of the goal umpire's bottom with his Kodak disposable ... there were no fingers touching any balls in his 6×4's. Con.


Sep 12, 2023

I can't believe no-one has chosen any Acca Dacca song, let alone 'Thunderstruck' not being chosen.

My personal choice would be a little Eddy Current Suppression Ring ditty called 'Which Way to Go'. For no other reason than it has a great riff that would earworm into the collective brains of too many people.

Gary Lion

Sep 12, 2023

If the AFL can make all of the supporters who go every week to the footy, wait until all the ads on TV have finished before restarting the game, the least they could do during finals at the Gabba is to wait until we have finished the first rendition of Country Road, before bouncing the ball again and having to sing it again after Charlie kicked another one......