Jul 31, 2023


The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Twenty


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 (76) v Carlton (93)

It’s the week the backpacker in sales won the tipping competition for the round!

For the neutral fan, the joy of one of these sides losing is always offset by the other winning.

Very few of us would have picked the Blues defeating Collingwood at the G on a Friday night, and we certainly wouldn’t have picked them winning six straight games and sitting in the top eight in August.

There’s something about this that feels so unnatural.

Being Carlton, someone had to get injured; this week it was Adam Cerra, but that only made the win more remarkable.

Collingwood will rue their kicking for goal. It was like a misfiring Daryl Somers skit at the Logies, nothing landed.

Not to overreact, but obviously, Craig McRae is in the hot seat after this, and the Pies’ season is in tatters.

For Carlton, this could be a new dawn; they’re in seventh spot and running hot.

They can’t miss finals from here!


Geelong (64) v Fremantle (71)

So bizarro world AFL continued into Saturday, with Fremantle defeating Geelong, in Geelong.

I mean, really?

A few weeks ago, the Cats destroyed Essendon, and everyone thought they were about to make a big run towards the finals.

It turned out though, that Essendon were just being Essendon, and the Cats have since then been quite horrible.

Losing to Brisbane last week was one thing, but to lose to 15th-placed Fremantle at home? This is not the behaviour of a finalist.

Geelong were not helped by Jeremy Cameron joining Fremantle’s defensive unit. He kicked 1.5 and added to that by other kicks not even making the distance.

To make things worse for the Cats, Mark Blicavs and Tom Hawkins both went off injured.

For the Dockers, it showed once again they can be good; they just can’t do it very often.

Western Bulldogs (73) v Greater Western Sydney (78)

When it counted, both in this game and at this point of the season, the Bulldogs have Sonia Krugered it.

Leading by 35 points in the third quarter, it seemed the Bulldogs had taken a very big step toward solidifying their place in the eight.

Then Toby Greene happened to them. You never want Toby Greene to happen to you.

He quickly booted four goals in the third quarter, and suddenly the game was on.

Then it became tight, like watching two drunks fight it out in a phone box, with the Bulldogs not helped by injury blows to their defence.

In the end, the Giants completed a great comeback for their seventh straight win. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about that streak is they win everywhere.

At home, on the road, it doesn’t matter. It makes you wonder what would have happened if the Giants had moved Leon Cameron on a lot earlier.

They now sit in sixth spot, while the Bulldogs looking wobbly in eighth spot.

Gold Coast (96) v Brisbane (55)

The carnage to everyone’s tips continued, with the Lions not only losing to the Suns but losing horribly.

It was a QClash with actual intensity and ill will, and the Suns just worked harder. This wasn’t a case of the Lions being off.

It raises an interesting question, did the Suns just go too early sacking Stewie Dew, or has Steven King got the Suns working?

Given that after Dew got sacked, he went and visited the Australian Cricket team, and they haven’t performed well since it’s probably King working some magic.

The other King, Ben, certainly turned his complete lack of form around, booting five goals, but perhaps it was Touk Miller who best exemplified the pure hard work that gave the Suns the win.

He went to Lachie Neale, and tagged him all game, which Lachie welcomed with the enthusiasm of someone finding out they’re sitting on the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here table at the Logies.

Even more fun was watching Miller and Dayne Zorko renew their friendly relationship, with them both going at each other like it was Attitude-era WWE.

Zorko accused Miller of even deploying a squirrel grip, leaving his nuts “quite bruised.”

I’ve got a lot of sympathy for Zorko; there’s no cleaner player in the AFL.

Worryingly for the Lions, their forward line went missing again. Joe Daniher finished with 0.3 and Eric Hipwood with 1.3.

Heading into finals, that’s a part of their team they’d prefer not to have questions over.

Essendon (99) v Sydney (101)

If they weren’t Essendon supporters, we would feel sorry for them.

Just over a month ago, it seemed that finally, the most cultish of the 18 AFL sides were finally on the right track.

Five losses in six games later and they sit in thirteenth position, and those finals dreams are again over.

And it has to hurt that the other great pretenders of the last two decades, the Carlton Football Club, are in the eight, and do seem destined for finals.

Essendon fans have put up with a lot, even having to pretend they believe the whole steroids saga was just an innocent bit of poor paperwork.

Their reward? Nothing.

To be fair, the Bombers worked their way out of a 37 points deficit in the third quarter, but they really shouldn’t have been that far back to start with.

The good news is they have West Coast then North; the bad news is they then get the Giants and Collingwood.

The Swans are now in tenth spot, and the way the teams above them are playing, finals are not an impossible dream.

They’ll probably have to do it without Buddy however, who did his calf. Not an ideal way to go out for the greatest player of his generation.

There’s a chance he can make it back, and it would be nice to see him go out with a bag against any team but your own.

Adelaide (112) v Port Adelaide (65)

Port Adelaide love a streak. Three losses in a row see their grip on a top-two spot loosen, and even worse, they lost to Adelaide.

Aside from the Crows stunning performance, the match was notable for the clash between teammates Aliir Aliir and Lachie Jones, and the questionable decision to let Aliir back on.

The decision to allow him back on was made by medical professionals, but that won’t stop me, a man who’s not sure if he had one or two or even three livers (it could be five) have a strong opinion on it.

To be serious, if I may for once, it does seem odd Allir didn’t get the more rigorous SCAT5 test that Jones received.

I would have thought this was an area of the game where you go a little overboard in being careful.

After all, the AFL have been saying the head is sacrosanct for years, even though they don’t know what the word sacrosanct means.

On the Crows side, this game just couldn’t have gone any better.

They were all over the Power from the start, and in an amazing bit of technological engineering, they built a time machine and bought back Tex Walker from ten years ago and he kicked seven goals!

This time machine technology could see the Crows make finals. I look forward to them bring back peak Andrew McLeod, Tony Modra, Shaun Rehn and most importantly, Wayne Weidemann.

Ahh, to see the flowing locks of prime Weidemann again in my life!


Hawthorn (93) v St Kilda (122)

The emotional rollercoaster that is the St Kilda Football Club was in full effect on Sunday, going 42 points up early on, only to let that evaporate, then kicking five-quick goals to start the fourth quarter and seal things.

Hawthorn’s big mistake was to take the first quarter off, resulting in Sam Mitchell giving them an old-fashioned spray that woke them up and had them doing new things like competing for the ball.

This surprised the Saints midfield, who, no longer able to walk in and just pick up the Sherrin, seemed unsure what to do.

Suddenly, Saints fans, already nervous about how the team could let them down this year, could see a scenario where they would be on their way out of the eight earlier than expected.

It was time for Ross Lyon to offer some choice words to his side.

I think he just reminded them that they were playing Hawthorn, and this seemed to work exceptionally well.

“Guys, you’re playing the Hawks.”

“Oh yeah! He’s right. Let’s go out and win this fellas.”

St Kilda fans left knowing their team will have to find another way to let them down this season.

Richmond (98) v Melbourne (130)

Another Harrison Petty goalkicking masterclass at the MCG.

This was a cracker of a game and more than made up for the horizontal rain that hit the MCG as everyone was leaving.

Richmond’s surge football was in full effect early on, as time and again, their pressure drove the ball forward, causing the Demons to struggle under the onslaught.

Dustin Martin was causing the Dees all kinds of pain, while Shai Bolton put on such a good show I almost didn’t mind it was happening against my team. 

When the Demons went down by twenty points a second time, it didn’t look good, but Max Gawn and Jack Viney, through pure force of will, dragged the Dees back into the game.

It certainly helped that the Demons forward line was working for once. Petty finished with six, while van Rooyen and Melksham both had four.

Melbourne with a forward line that works? That’s a new and exciting development I’m interested in.

In the end, the Dees surged towards to victory based on the play of Gawn, and some rather helpful interpretations of the rules by the umpires. Thanks guys!

They deserve the win, but you’d hate to face the Tigers over the next few weeks.

West Coast (72) v North Melbourne (67)

It turned out both teams couldn’t lose.

In the end, all the Eagles needed for a win was to play one of the worst teams in recent memory. 

To get over the line, the Eagles needed a 32-point buffer in the final quarter, and even this was almost not enough.

The Eagles thrived playing a team as incompetent as them, allowing them to get the ball sometimes and even move the ball forwards. 

I watched in disbelief as both teams managed to perform such basic skills as handballing, catching the ball and kicking the ball in the vague direction of a teammate.

When it seemed West Coast were cruising to victory, they of course let North back into the game, and if it was any other team, they would have probably lost.

But West Coast hung on and Eagles fans reacquainted themselves with the tradition of singing the song after a match.

It wasn’t all bad news for the Kangaroos. Their losing streak of 17 games is still intact, and the wooden spoon could still be theirs!

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 Two, available wherever you get your podcasts.



Turn it up, Titus

Jul 31, 2023

"They can’t miss finals from here!" - We're talking about Carlton, they most definitely can. It's in their DNA.


Jul 31, 2023

I didn't watch the game, and when I put it on at the end I was quite shocked seeing Freo players fist pumping the air and smiling a lot. In short it was nice to get a win. Only god knows how they'll play next week.

I really hope Blicavs and Hawkins aren't too badly injured. Bit of a fan of both players.

The Don't Argue

Jul 31, 2023

Let TMTG be the excuse teams can use from now on when they lose to GWS:

Too Much Toby Green.

The g train

Jul 31, 2023

“If they weren’t Essendon supporters, we would feel sorry for them.” Mind-bendingly brilliant. That one’s gonna take a while to work out, and gives me something to do until Titus’s next idiotic nonsensical article.

Put $1 on Port winning 13 in a row and then losing 3 in a row. Won 3 $billion.

Has anyone worked out yet who the bloke is that coaches Richmond?


Jul 31, 2023

Touk Miller leading the league in hard ball gets

Nice Use of the Crows Time Machine

Jul 31, 2023

I see what you did there.

You neatly used the Crows Tex Walker time machine to go back in time and delete your highly unhelpful guide to round 20.

It turns out that your ironic pics of Blues, Purple, GWS, Suns, Sydney, Crows, Saints, Dees (You're faithful, if unhelpful), and Weagles would have turned out to be exceedingly helpful, and you didn't want to get (yet another) reputation you had to defend, so deleted it.

Well done.


Jul 31, 2023

Ugh... Just had a pop-up from AFL that Buddy Franklin has announced his retirement, effective immediately.

What a shame ~ deserved to play finals footy one last time.

He really is one of a kind and will be missed!

Fat Side

Jul 31, 2023

Me: All the top teams are losing. It's a conspiracy to keep Richmond out of the finals!
Mrs Fat Side: It seems strange that Richmond would also be part of that conspiracy.

Blue Snowflake

Jul 31, 2023

"For Carlton, this could be a new dawn; they’re in seventh spot and running hot.
They can’t miss finals from here!"

Nice try Titus, but your reverse-psychology voodoo mozz spell won't stop us.
We'll figure out how to come 9th all on our own, thank you very much.

Hint: Watch those key injuries pile up over the next month..

Michael Daly

Jul 31, 2023

I've got a spare wet suit should Max Gawn need it for further diving adventures.
Maybe an EPL scout was watching?

Sam J

Jul 31, 2023


Adrian James Freeman

Jul 31, 2023

"For Carlton, this could be a new dawn; they’re in seventh spot and running hot.
They can’t miss finals from here!"

I see what you did there..........

Jim Tilbrook's Cheque

Jul 31, 2023

Gold Coast beating Brisbane is entirely consistent with Stephen King's oeuvre of Fantasy and Supernatural stories.

Running Dog

Jul 31, 2023

Jim Tilbrook, I thought Titus' (paraphrased) description of the match had a poetic dimension: "With the evaporation of the Dew arose a new Sun King, Coasting into the Lions den on clouds of Gold."

I presume Zorko knows how it feels for a squirrel to be gripped.


Jul 31, 2023

What I need to understand is how the bulldogs, every single round, can do consistently play 2 quarters like genuine flag contenders and then 2 quarters like genuine wooden spoon contenders? What do they feed them at half time??

Con Cushion

Jul 31, 2023

Turn it up Titus ... talk about miss firing, The Logies, nothing landing; is Daryl Somers easier to pick on than Sam Pang? Con

Across the Face

Jul 31, 2023

Too many of them kick for goal like one-armed midgets play volleyball. That's their main problem.

The Dirty Bludger

Jul 31, 2023

I'm starting to wonder if the AFL media are the most knowledgeable people about footy.
They've been assuring us every year since 2016 that the Doggies are 'top 4, at least'.
How many top 4 finishes have they had in that span?

Chelle Belle

Jul 31, 2023

Entertaining as always, Titus! Lol 😆

I'd like Zorko to provide physical or photographic proof (pref physical) of the "groin bruising" he claims to have sustained!! We all know if there's no pics, it didn't happen, lol. 😎😜

I've never really liked Adelaide much, though I definitely like them more than Port! After Adelaide defeated Port convincingly on Saturday night, I could've kissed them! It meant that my beloved Magpies remain two games clear, and percentage, ahead of Port on top of the ladder, and for that I'm very grateful. 😊 Thank you Adelaide!! 🥳😚

I have to say, I felt sorry for Richmond, but they really fell in a deep hole in the last 10 minutes of the last quarter! 😔 Not only did the wheels fall off, the entire front and rear axles went chasing after them! 😳 On a positive note, how good was that goal by Dustin Martin on the edge of the centre square!! 😱👏🏼 And Max Gawn was playing like a man possessed!! Whatever he was on, I'd like some, lol. 😈😃

I'm looking forward to seeing what tricks Carlton has up their sleeve this year to fall unceremoniously out of the 8!! NGL, I'd love to see the Giants defeat them by 1 point to dump them into 9th ... just like last year. Losing by 1 point hurts more than being hammered IMO, so to lose by 1 point, and dropping out of the 8 in the last round for the 2nd year running, would hurt like a crotch full of fire ants while having arms that are too short to reach down to remove them. How SWEET that would be!! Lol Seeing Carlton lose by 1 point and drop out of the 8 in the last round, not the crotch full of fire ants!! I don't see Melbourne losing to them, anything is possible with the Suns on the Gold Coast, St.kilda will need to lift because that's a game that could go either way, and I think the Giants should be able to get the job done if they play like they did against Brisbane. 🙏🤞

It's getting very exciting now; roll on September! 🥳👏🏼😁

Keep the entertainment coming! I enjoy reading your roundup of the matches from the weekend; they're a good laugh. 😁


Aug 01, 2023

Port Adelaide went with old established SANFL tradition on Saturday night, of total arrogance. Not only did they turn up expecting to roll the Cows easily in the first quarter and put the cue in the rack, but then to blatantly ignore that their own Aliir was shockingly concussed after half time, no wonder he was worth only one Aliir and not his usual two Aliirs. Undoubtedly the underlying racist majority of that club looks at him as expendable anyway. AFL should revoke their licence, making room for the Tassie club to come in next year

Pupper Mum

Aug 01, 2023

Zorko; there’s no cleaner player in the AFL. 😂😂😂

saint peter

Aug 01, 2023

Titus, the Saints & Carlton your two beloved teams that make for good fodder are still in the eight. Both surely can't make it so I will leave it up to the Horoscope to do it for you. Carlton - a side with immense talent, yet when it comes to goal kicking they forgot to tell Curnow & McKay they were due to show up. St.Kilda - Average talent side that frustrates even the most die hard supporters. No matter who the opposition is they are always favourites to either win the game or at least make it close.


Aug 01, 2023

Hope the Crows finish in the 8. Than they.can play Port in the prelim, only to beat them again. 3 times in one season. Now that would be GOLD.

EB’s Shorts

Aug 02, 2023

Not enough talented players to fill the bottom 2 teams.
So start a new one.


Bloke from the outer

Aug 03, 2023

''They can’t miss finals from here!'' Epic trolling.


Aug 04, 2023

> "They can’t miss finals from here!" - We're talking about Carlton, they most definitely can. It's in their DNA.

that's. the. joke.