Jul 24, 2023


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.


Essendon (49) v Western Bulldogs (90)

Bombers supporters have seen this movie before.

A promising young team looks destined for success, only to disappoint everyone.

The Essendon Cinematic Universe (ECU) just keeps churning out the same movie with the same storyline every single year, and I guess they will keep doing it, given people keep buying tickets.

Essendon can still make finals, but they’re slipping into their ‘still mathematically possible’ era.

They now sit in eleventh, and after this performance, they don’t look like making September.

What was disappointing was the fact the Bulldogs have hardly impressed anyone recently.

But the Bombers forgot that Marcus Bontempelli and Tom Liberatore are players you may want to vaguely keep track of.

It didn’t seem to occur to the Bombers coaching staff to put anyone on them.

Instead, Essendon let them run around like a couple of unsupervised children at the playground.

The Bulldogs are now fifth and I hope they sent a nice bunch of flowers to the Essendon Football Club thanking them for just being them.

The Doggies will be thrilled with the victory, but it’s not all good news. After the game, Luke Beveridge said Rory Lobb would find his way back into the side by the end of the year.


Richmond (96) v Hawthorn (95)

Hawthorn won three-quarters of this one before heroically snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Their final quarter, where they only scored two points, was a masterclass in how not to win, it was as if the English cricket team were coaching them.

Perhaps like England, the Hawks could claim a moral victory? It’s a good move.

Apparently, in sport, you can now claim a series you lost didn’t count, or it wasn’t about who had the most wins; it was about some vague claims to being morally superior.

Richmond, desperate to keep their season alive, struggled in the face of relentless Hawthorn pressure early on, but one thing kept the Tigers hopes alive, they were playing Hawthorn.

Being 36 points down in the fourth quarter against this Hawthorn side means there’s a chance.

By the fourth quarter, the Hawks who looked cooked, it was just a question of whether the Tigers could execute, and there were plenty of moments when it appeared they couldn’t.

But booting the last five goals of game, with Liam Baker kicking the winner with 63 seconds left, shows that while Richmond might be only OK, they are better than Hawthorn.

Carlton (140) v West Coast (69)

Carlton will go from playing the Eagles, to playing Collingwood next week.

That’s like going from playing ‘chopsticks’ to Maurice Ravel’s ‘Gaspard de la Nuit’.

Just a bit of classical piano humour for you. No footy column can have too much and I’m shocked how little there is.

Carlton got the job done easily with Charlie Curnow booting ten goals, which equates to three goals against an AFL opponent.

West Coast were of course, charmingly hopeless. They played with the enthusiasm of someone heading off for a prostate exam and with the skill of a four-year-old playing the recorder.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Carlton, with Sam Walsh, Jack Silvagni and Jesse Motlop all going off injured, which means they could all miss next week’s loss to the Pies.

Brisbane (64) v Geelong (53)

Last week, Geelong were being touted as being a huge juggernaut who were about to crush everyone in the competition, but it turned out they were just playing Essendon.

It’s a common mistake.

Instead, this week they managed one lonely goal in the first half, as the Lions avoided the mistake Essendon made off freezing on the spot in panic and instead smashed them out of the centre.

Brisbane’s problem was they couldn’t capitalise on this dominance, meaning the Cats were always in touching distance.

The ghost of last week were very present in the fourth quarter as Geelong got on a roll, significantly reducing the Lions 37-point lead.

But Brisbane had learnt from last week, instead of curling up in the foetal position and hoping the opposition would go away, they tried to keep scoring.

And it worked!

The only negative, in the end, was an ACL injury to Will Ashcroft, which is huge for Brisbane.

Surely all this money we waste on education could be going towards preventing footballers from getting season-ending injuries?

When is sport going to get some taxpayer funds?

Fremantle (76) v Sydney (105)

The Crystal Skull for most disappointing team of the season goes to the Dockers, who won it in style on Saturday.

Fremantle pulled out their greatest hits, a slow start and a loss at home to really seal the deal.

They even made Buddy Franklin look young again, with him saying goodbye to Perth with three goals.

Sydney started fast, with a six-goal opening term, and by the time the Dockers realised the game had started, the Swans were away and never fully challenged.

Fremantle’s problem is they have a hard centre surrounded by a soft outer.

They are the peanut M&Ms of the AFL.

The Dockers now sit in 15th, so despite this being a terrible season, they’ll get a great first-round draft pick at the end of the year! At least that’s something to look forward to.

For Sydney, the win keeps their very feint finals hopes burning.

They face Essendon next so there’s a real chance they’ll keep their season alive for another week.

Port Adelaide (83) v Collingwood (85)

Channel Seven laid it on thick about how we are all meant to like Collingwood now. Someone even said they’re many people’s second team.

Where is this all coming from?

The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.

Craig McRae might be a nice guy, so might the Daicos brothers, but they are helping Collingwood be good, which is morally wrong.

Can you be a good person and help Collingwood? I don’t think you can. In my view, Peter Daicos should be in jail for providing weapons to Collingwood.

This game was better than anticipated. Both sides went back and forth in a thrilling game of one-upmanship.

If you wanted to show someone our sport for the first time, this would be a good start.

The first warning side that Port was in trouble however occurred at three-quarter-time, when they were 17-points up.

Everyone immediately recognised that wouldn’t be enough.

Collingwood are proving every teacher wrong who told you that leaving your homework to the last minute wouldn’t work.

Turns out it works out just fine.

Port will be down about the loss, but it shows they can beat the Pies. All I hope for is this is a look at how good the finals are going to be.


Greater Western Sydney (103) v Gold Coast (63)

This is not a drill, the Giants are back in the eight, proving once again, out of the two expansion teams very few wanted, the Giants are the one with a culture.

Luckily the Suns have singlehandedly converted Queensland into an AFL state.

Written off this year by almost everyone, the Giants have slowly built as the season has gone on, never giving up on improving, and have found their form late in the year, just as finals approach.

What an odd way to go about a season!

The Suns prefer to offer promise early then plunge off a cliff from halfway through the season.

They did the same in this game.

It doesn’t help when you can’t score and the Suns can’t.

Ben King’s four possessions were as effective as holding up a sign saying, ‘I am very keen to move to another club at the earliest possible convenience. Please submit your inquiries to my manager post haste.’

Melbourne (97) v Adelaide (93)

What was a rather relaxed, if somewhat boring, Sunday afternoon game at the G, suddenly sprung to life as the Crows decided they would rather go out with a bang than a whimper.

The Dees started strongly, and despite playing some rather stilted football, found themselves cruising along towards what should have been an easy win.

But they didn’t put the Crows away when they had the chance, which was despite Adelaide desperately helping them by kicking for goals with consistent inaccuracy.

The problem with leaving doors open is that people tend to walk through them.

Up 24 points at three-quarter time, I remarked to some of my fellow Dees supporters as we grazed on a tasting platter, ‘Say chaps, we wouldn’t want these fellows to score the first two goals, or this could get jolly tight.”

I needn’t have worried; the Crows didn’t score the first two goals of the fourth quarter, but the first four.

Suddenly and not for the first time, Taylor Walker was ruining my afternoon, and this time on the footy field.

Melbourne, realising they were going to have to break out fourth gear, did so, and got the job done, while the Crows were left to lament a game that was a microcosm of their season, close but not quite enough. 

St Kilda (69) v North Melbourne (61)

They never make it easy for their fans the old Saints.

What could have been a percentage-boosting win by a team that desperately needed one, looked like two cellar dwellers deciding who would win the wooden spoon.

Turnover was countered by turnover as the fans in attendance pondered why they had thrown away another Sunday.

Is it just barracking for St Kilda is the cheapest option for torture?

While North worked hard, the Saints leant on an old faithful, horrendous goalkicking, to keep the game close.

Building on a strong base of bad skills, the Saints had worked themselves into a 16-point deficit at three-quarter time.

It really seemed they could lose, and everyone had a lot of belief in them, but they couldn’t do it.

North hasn’t worked this hard to tank all season, only to have St Kilda walk in and ruin it.

What’s really astonishing is St Kilda are still in the eight, despite only narrowly defeating both North and the Eagles.

Surely if they stay there, they’re the team everyone wants to meet in September.

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 Tex Rickard: Sports Greatest Promoter Part One, available wherever you get your podcasts.




Jul 24, 2023

If only Freo could look forward to a great 1st round draft pick. Actually, Melbourne have Freo’s pick and are happier by the day that they let Luke Jackson go home.


Jul 24, 2023

Sadly Freo traded their first round draft pick for Mr Jackson last year so their misery will be compounded for the next decade by watching whoever Melbourne FC chooses at Pick 4 !


Jul 24, 2023

Don’t you mean Melbourne will get a great first round pick?


Jul 24, 2023

Collingwood win with ridiculous last quarter comeback. Tick
Billy Elliot kicks totally absurd goal from impossible angle 50m out. Tick
Rain stops England from toppling Australia in the 4th Test. Tick

Solid weekend.

So many comments, so little time

Jul 24, 2023

ECU for a team that play at the home of MCU - brilliant.

A reference to Maurice Ravel is fair, but leaving it to the third game of the round is a little bit late.

Talking about leaving things late, and references to claims of winning without winning, why not any references to teams in the TdF being able to claim moral victories for leading break-aways gallantly before being beaten in a sprint finish. I would have thought that even if you don't follow cycling, the Tour de France would still rate a mention (or at least a Gallic shrug) for the wine, cheese, and fois gras. I expect more of this next year, since you've... left it too late for this year.

What is it with you and Talyor Walker. I get it that he can ruin things for you, but I would have thought it was evenings rather than afternoons, or was it when you were MUCH younger?

The g train

Jul 24, 2023

“The Crystal Skull for most disappointing team of the season goes to the Dockers, who won it in style on Saturday”. At least they’ve won something. Personally, have never won anything. I was even runner up in an underachiever award. That really hurt.

Three times this season, and twice against North, St Kilda utterly destroyed the notion that “any win is a good win”.

Titus—enough about the cricket. But why didn’t you include the fact that everyone knew the test would be badly rain effected on days 4 and 5, even before the test started. Baz and Stokes didn’t seem to realise that when they batted on and on. And that NZ actually defeated England earlier in the year after being in a similar position to Australia was. So who knows what might have happened if all 5 days were rain free. But then again, maybe, in the true spirit of cricket, Australia should have been more sporting—apologise for the Manchester rain and concede defeat to England.

Maurizio Pollini

Jul 24, 2023

Disappointing that Stravinsky's Three Movements from Petrouchka didn't get the nod ahead of Maurice Ravel's Gallic showoffery. But fair play for working classical piano, four year old recorder students and prostate examinations into the same match report Titus.

Pupper Mum

Jul 24, 2023

Oh the satire - my favourite part of Monday is receiving this brilliance :)


Jul 24, 2023

Well done to Greg, Vicky and Mukaboy for spotting the joke.

Atrocious Conditions

Jul 24, 2023

For Sydney, the win keeps their very feint finals hopes burning.

I felt a *faint* soupçon of disappointment when I read that sentence.

Hat trick observer

Jul 24, 2023

Titus, I enjoyed watching your first three responders this week, Greg, Vicky and Mukaboy, all being clean bowled by your irony.

saint peter

Jul 24, 2023

The saints had it in the bag. Then it escaped for 2.5 quarters the was in the bag again. Certain players do not like to tackle. Certain players do not like to pass the ball to another team mate. But we still had this in the bag. It was only North Melbourne, should be able to blow them away by 1/4 time. Trouble is we stopped after getting two easy goals & then started back up in the last. We are everyone's favorite team to play as Titus suggested. We bring the game down to our level & hopefully it won't rise above a 2.
As long as Essendon don't take our place in the 8 I will be happy. I don't think that will happen because we play Carlton & Richmond. So one of them will make it.

Tarax Club

Jul 24, 2023

Titus nearly snuck that one through to the keeper, “they’ll get an early first round pick”. So cruel. Like throwing salt on the wounds after a cat o’ nines session at HM Gaol at ye olde Fremantle.

Con Cushion

Jul 24, 2023

Turn it up Titus ... there is nothing vague about The Pom's moral superiority claim. They are very specific about their view. The view that they lead the series 4/Zip !!! Con.


Jul 24, 2023

Collingwood are some people’s second team - sweet Geezuz, I nearly choked on my rissoles.
Even if there were only two teams in the comp., they still wouldn’t be my second team. God forbid it it ever comes to that, I’m gonna start following ferret racing!
Like Uncle Charlie said on Two and a half Men once “I’d rather get sucked out an aeroplane window”

Snag Cleaver

Jul 24, 2023

“Sydney’s feint finals hopes”
Cute malapropism.

Rhombus Isotope

Jul 24, 2023

People with a 'second team' are lower than people who change teams because they lack the courage of their conviction to face the rightful public condemnation changing teams brings. Base cowardice and moral degeneracy.


Jul 24, 2023

I believe in keeping things simple when it comes to my second team - it's ABC: Anyone But Collingwood.

Mark Harrison

Jul 24, 2023

Quite scurrilous to suggest North were tanking. We are merely biding our time until Prigozhin assumes the reins. They won't be leaving the roof open when that happens.

Snorri Gunderchuckson

Jul 24, 2023

Don’t you just love ‘Feint Hopes ‘
I know I do…


Jul 24, 2023

My kids once asked me who my 'second team' was. I paused for a while and they asked why. I said I was working backwards to work out who I hate the least! Spoiler alert - it wasn't Collingwood.


Jul 24, 2023

"A promising young team looks destined for success, only to let everyone down."

I recently read that when the Burke & Wills expedition departed Melbourne, they made it only as far as Essendon on the 1st day, before having to stop and re-organise.

Draw whatever parallels/inferences you may from that nugget of trivia...


Jul 25, 2023

"The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."
Pity we wont get to hear Spacey utter more immortal words like these.

Kafka’s Ghost

Jul 25, 2023

Nice reference to Ravel, but clearly the comparison should have been to the extraordinary Rach 3. Although Maurizio Pollini’s comparison to the Stravinsky also works.
Peter Daicos should definitely be charged with something. Perhaps cruel and unusual suffering to the rest of the competition.


Jul 25, 2023

West Coast might have a bullying complaint against them by season's end.
They're doing their best to force Simpson to resign out of sheer frustration and despair.
And they're looking like they'll be successful.

Running Dog

Jul 25, 2023

Love the classical piano chit chat. Leads to an idea for a game: "If a team were a piano work, what would it be?" Maurizio Pollini refers to Petrouchka- that would be GWS. Puppets of the AFL. Kafka's Ghost refers to the Rach 3. That would be Collingwood, going on degree of difficulty (i.e., of having to come from behind at three quarter time). Claire de Lune is obviously West Coast- moonlighting from whatever their day jobs might be, and doing a poor impression of a football team. And Rhapsody in Blue describes everyone's feelings when Carlton miss out on finals.

Oh, and Edward, isn't it funny how Australia has transformed from the land of Burke and Wills to a land of work and bills.


Jul 25, 2023

Possibly the most stressful weekend of my year. Had a nine leg multi @ $54 that included Tiges and Pies, plus Dees and Saints as the last two legs. I was peeking at the scores as North crept further and further ahead (during the Barbie movie, with a friend and her daughter) and felt like puking into the popcorn. Followed the game on the way home on the radio and felt every emotion in the book as the Saints got closer and closer... Moral of the story: gambling is bad, even when you win.

Andrew Croft

Jul 26, 2023

Running Dog - land of work and bills - painfully true, well played.
Titus's "Can you be a good person and help Collingwood? " ... well can Collingwood ever claim a moral victory?
In the spirit of the English cricketers, Port clearly had a moral victory on the weekend, as have a lot of teams in the last two years just undeservedly pipped at the post by Collingwood. Clearly it would be fairer if Collingwood games were concluded at three-quarter time, well except for Grand Finals, where Dom Sheed is the most recent of the last quarter nightmares that haunt Collingwood fans.

Belinda Block

Jul 27, 2023

A very entertaining synapse of another great weekend of footy. First time reader of your “nonsense” and I’m giggling at Peter Daicos needing to be jailed for providing weapons to Collingwood 🤣 Very happy with ALL of the heavy artillery in our team! 👊🖤🤍