Aug 27, 2021


A highly unhelpful guide to Finals Week One


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 Finals Week One.


Second qualifying final

Port Adelaide vs Geelong (AO) 7:50pm Seven/Fox

In a minor miracle, we’ve reached the finals, not that you’d know it in Melbourne, where all the media have talked about is a certain club that manages coaching changes like it’s an exercise in psychological warfare.

But now we get to watch the good clubs go at it, and frankly a few good finals games is what we need right now. Not as much as vaccines, but the AFL is better run and more ruthless than any Federal Government we’ve ever had.

Say what you like about the AFL, but they get things done, even if you don’t particularly want what they’re delivering.

Port Adelaide come into this as favourites, in good form, coming off a win against another finalist and playing at home in front of a crowd of 20,000 fans.

To think, a crowd of 20,000 Power supporters is no longer the biggest dangerous gathering of people you can have in Australia.

Geelong are coming off a rather dispiriting loss, although Chris Scott suggested it wasn’t that bad, signalling a career in politics awaits.

The Cats can’t be written off though, they’ve proven themselves good at bouncing back this year, but the way they just ran out of steam in the second half must be a concern.

They were like a parent overseeing homeschooling, enthusiastic at first but becoming increasingly frustrated before giving up entirely and letting the kids run amok.

Port’s big question is can they consistently compete against the top sides?

Of the finalists, they’ve beaten Essendon, Sydney, the Giants and lost  won against the Dogs

They have lost to Brisbane, Melbourne and Geelong, so it’s not that they can’t beat them, it’s just the results are mixed.

Really the question is, have they lifted in recent weeks into the top bracket of Melbourne, Geelong and Brisbane?

This will be the exam they have to sit to prove this and to be honest, I’ve got no idea, no one really does.

I’m wildly guessing the Power will win.

Oh, it’s Tom Hawkins 300th game, I almost forgot because it’s Tom Hawkins.

Saturday, August 28

Second elimination final

Sydney vs Greater Western Sydney (UTAS) 3:20pm Seven/Fox

The Sydney Derby, deep in their home territory of Tasmania, the AFL showing once again Tasmania is important to them, when it is useful to them, and not the rest of the time.

These two have met twice this year, splitting those games, the Swans winning the more recent one.

That game was the one when at the last minute, a bunch of players were told they couldn’t play due to going to Tier 2 sites.

Despite this, the AFL had them play anyway, not reschedule because they are not Victorian clubs, and the AFL doesn’t really care about them.

The Giants did lead that game by 35 points before the Swans kicked 12 of the final 14 goals, not an ideal strategy.

But that was such a weird game that like a social media post about Covid from Pete Evans, I’d not be putting any faith in it.

The Swans have surprised everyone this year, even themselves a little bit, this being seen as more a year to build again towards challenging over the next three to four years.

They’ve been boost by some good pick-ups, the young kids coming along and Buddy Franklin getting 17 games in, which is overs for what you’d have predicted.

The Giants season seemed to be travelling about as well as NSW early on, and missing finals entirely was a real possibility before they managed to turn things around with a late-season surge.

In the last five weeks, the Giants have beaten Essendon and Geelong, so they’re hardly making up the numbers, and in Toby Greene they have the best small forward in the game. He’s like an angry Eddie Betts who does dodgy things on the field regularly.

I’m tipping the Swans in this one.

First qualifying final

Melbourne vs Brisbane (AO) 7:30pm Seven/Fox

Melbourne are minor premiers, and the All-Australian night was like the Melbourne Football Club end of year awards. Yes, these are strange times.

That all counts for very little now, finals being the start of an entirely new race.

Last week’s spectacular comeback win counts for nothing, except it should fill the team with a sense of belief, something previous Melbourne sides never had.

Even Melbourne fans believe in them, a first in my lifetime.

In the Lions, they face a side that’s had its ups and downs but has come home strong.

The last time these two met the Lions dominated the first half, only for the Dees to run all over them in the second half.

Perhaps Melbourne’s biggest strength, after their defence, is their ability to run out games.

My doubts about Brisbane revolves around Joe Daniher, who is inconsistency personified. In any game, he could be the difference, by either giving the Lions a target or by doing nothing.

The Lions do get back Harris Andrews and Mitch Robinson, which is more than handy.

While Daniher has question marks over him, the Dees forward line is the same. You know the defence will keep the opponents score in check, but it seems the midfield need to really get going for the forward line to work.

To say I approach this game with a feeling of real terror would be an understatement. Not since Sally Horfenstein told me she might show up to my party have I been so nervous.

I’m tipping the Dees to win, but I’m prepared for pain, like when Sally did show up but in the arms of her new boyfriend and I spent the party crying up the side of the house near the hot water system.


First elimination final

Western Bulldogs vs Essendon (UTAS) 3:20pm Seven/Fox

Yes, Essendon are in the finals, which feels weird, like going to a nightclub only to find your parents are there.

The last time Essendon won a final, we didn’t worry about covid, we worried about scurvy and leprosy.

The good news for Bombers fans, is they’re playing a Bulldogs side that has the worst form of all the finalists.

They’ve lost three in a row to Port Adelaide, Hawthorn and worryingly, Essendon.

Against Hawthorn, they were held to 37 points which doesn’t scream ‘premiership contenders’ to you.

One of the storylines running through this game is Jake Stringer playing against his old side.

It will be tough for Bulldogs supporters and their players given how beloved Stringer was by those two groups.

The Doggies big issue lately is they have a team so short they need to ask people to help them get things off the top shelf when at the supermarket.

Tim English is basically it in the ruck department, and even someone as dense as me knows that’s a weakness that can be exploited.

I hate to say it, but I think the Bombers are going to win.

It’s going to be horrendous. Essendon supporters when their team is winning make Hawthorn supports seem humble.

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


Sad Sack

Aug 27, 2021

With it being Tom Hawkins 300th, who'd do you think he's gunna punch, trip, abuse or slap to celebrate and how many games will he miss?

Atrocious Conditions

Aug 27, 2021

One, one, one, zero.


Aug 27, 2021

I'm sure Melbourne will amply reward your historical lack of faith Titus. By that I mean they'll go down by a point after extra time. Other games - Geelong by 10 goals, GWS by 5 goals, and Essendon to be up at the siren only to be rubbed out by some silly thing as having 22 on the ground at some time. We all love your work


Aug 27, 2021

Titus - you've been doing so little tipping you've forgotten the basics. DON'T TIP THE SWANS. We in week gazillion of lockdown ask for so little and here you are trying to take away all hope.


Aug 27, 2021

Best guide to the finals I’ve read this week!

Keith Martine

Aug 27, 2021

Dear Titus,

A special place awaits the Sally Horfensteins of this world. It's a big house with a 3 car garage and swimming pool with no mortgage, in a leafy suburb, plus annual trips overseas.

Those hot water systems is what we get!

Michael Clarebrough

Aug 27, 2021

Titus I'd like to echo Keith Martine's comments re Sally Horfenstein, you must have been shattered. And I love your commentary & insights re Melbourne. Carna Dees, I was there aged 11 in '64


Aug 27, 2021

Big fella loved your work on the front bar but I did notice in different shots the level of your beer seemed to be up and down like a brides nightie. Anyway back to my main point I do believe this demons team are the real deal. I keep saying ENJOY THE RIDE .... GO DEES

Enzo ferrari

Aug 27, 2021

All I see this week in the news is Carlton, yet I'm not seeing their team sheet, it's as if they're not playing.
I'm as disappointed about this, as I was about losing to the Fords at LeMans in '66.
The formation finish was a real prick move.
Since my beloved Azzurri are once again watching the finals series, the 7 teams in the finals that are not Essendon have one job. Do not let those idiota win it. Starts with you Foot-a-scray, take your belt off, wrap it around your knuckles and beat them like they missed a payment on a 1957 Testa Rossa.

Jim Tilbrook’s Cheque

Aug 27, 2021

Grazie Enzo. Let us not forget that before Essedon were having more jabs than a Covid clinic, they had shown their form in the 2000 GF, with Michael Long taking out a young Troy Simmonds and Dean Wallis hitting Brad Green in the throat - before ‘retiring’ (not).

Go Doggies - at least for this weekend.

The g train

Aug 27, 2021

Titus’s most rational highly unhelpful guide that I’ve ever read. Perhaps the pressure of Melbourne being minor premiers heading into a final series if effecting him? And perhaps affecting him also.
Give me pressure-free mediocrity any day.

Andy Maher is still a fraud (again)

Aug 27, 2021

The parents at the nighclub line...
Hey, ease up, Eddie Betts would never do anything dodgy.
He's ace.

Christos Malakas

Aug 27, 2021

Hey Enzo. Remember that you Italians are just second rate Greeks. Just like Carlton are second rate everything.
Titus I haven't seen Melbourne supporters as excited since last time you played a final in Perth, and wasn't that wonderful.
Calm the farm as they say.

Saint Peter

Aug 27, 2021

I agree - Essendon supporters make collingwood supporters seem like rational thinkers. Dogs should win easily - they were doing the ol "Rope-a-dope" last time they met. Big question for Melbourne is can they cope with the expectations of Titus. Huge burden to carry during the finals. Max has done a great job carry players throughout the season but usually its the opposition landing on his shoulders. Geelong won't win as they can't handle the bye they'd get. Hard to pick the winner of the Battle of the Tamar Bridge. Upset with Giants winning. Going to miss the fake crowd noise that really sets an electric atmosphere. Huge cheers when a side kicks a point.


Aug 27, 2021

Saint Peter, perhaps the Battle of the Alexandra Suspension Bridge, a unique experience for Sydneysiders where both teams could go for a walk. Well probably only unique for the Westies from Lockdown central whereas the Bondi princesses wouldn't know a lockdown if it bit them on the arse.


Aug 28, 2021

Writing this on Saturday morning. Gloating about the defeat of Geelong because... it is Geelong. Hawkins almost got himself reported. I know the free kick count is not meant to be even, but some of the decisions going in favour of Geelong were outright ludicrous (and that's coming from someone who has umpired hundreds of games in another century).