Apr 08, 2021


A highly unhelpful guide to Round Four


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 Four.


Sydney vs Essendon (SCG) 7:20pm Seven, Fox

There may be few other fans on as big an emotional rollercoaster this season than Bombers fans.

A one-point loss to Hawthorn, followed by a drubbing at the hands of Port Adelaide, only to then smash St Kilda last week.

Now they face a red-hot Sydney, who bring back Buddy Franklin, who has tortured Essendon supporters over the years with a brutality that makes the torture scenes in Zero Dark Thirty seem like an episode of Bluey.

The Bombers do get back Dyson Heppell but Sydney’s brutal demolition of Richmond on the MCG was a bit like a new prisoner walking up to the toughest guy in goal and belting the living suitcases out of him. It really sent a message.

Of course, this early in the season, it’s hard to tell what is real and what’s a mirage, but at the moment the Swans look like an actual oasis.

I think the Swans will win this, and the rollercoaster of emotions that is being a Bombers supporter will continue.


Port Adelaide vs Richmond (AO) 7:50pm Seven, Fox

My tipping this year has been about as accurate as a horoscope, and this game isn’t helping with both these sides performing so below their ability last week it was like watching a limbo competition.

Now both of them have to prove that that was just a misstep, and not them falling off a cliff.

Richmond’s problem seemed to be a complete lack of pressure, coupled with the fact that against the Swans, they appeared to have all 18 players standing still on the mark for much of the game.

So bad was the performance that Damien Hardwick even had a go at the umpires, claiming the Swans had a lot of short kicks that didn’t go the distance but were paid marks.

This was a bit like blaming a recipe because you set the kitchen on fire, something I once did cooking two-minute noodles. The amazing thing about that event was that I was cooking them in the microwave.

Hardwick said that they weren’t panicking though because their system had stood them in good stead for many years.

I just wrote that sentence because I wanted to put ‘system’ in a column, so I sounded like a real AFL journalist.

That’s all you need to do apparently. I’ll also add the word ‘brand,’ so I get a gig on Fox Footy.

Port made the logistical mistake last week of booking a flight that didn’t get them to Optus Stadium until halftime.

At least this game is at home, so Port should be there from the start. I’m tipping them but I’ve no rationale for it, it’s just something I feel in my waters.


Western Bulldogs vs Brisbane (Mars) 1:35pm Fox

When I first looked at the fixture, I thought this was being played on Mars, not Mars Stadium in Ballarat.

It was a silly mistake, despite the fact Mars is often more habitable than Ballarat, especially in winter.

I would like to see a game on Mars though. The low gravity would be amazing for marking, and the surface, while mainly rock with a covering of finely grained iron oxide dust, is still better than Marvel Stadium’s.

I don’t know how to stop the solar radiation from killing the players, but I’m an ideas man, I’ll leave the small details to others.

Brisbane’s exile from Queensland continues, and while last week’s after the siren win revitalised their season, you can’t always rely on Collingwood to get you out of jail.

As for the Bulldogs, they’re top of the ladder, but they didn’t play last week so could be a bit rusty.

This is the challenge that should show us how long their early season form will hold.

I think the Bulldogs will win this, I really like their brand and their structure.

St Kilda vs West Coast (Marvel) 4:35pm Fox

St Kilda’s season has fallen apart faster than our nation’s vaccine rollout. Much like the vaccine rollout, I blame Europe for the Saints problems and 5G.

Things are looking so bad for the Saints, that Eagles coach Adam Simpson warned his side can’t be complacent. Ouch. Just pour some salt into the wound why don’t you.

St Kilda has many injuries but that doesn’t explain the loss to Essendon. The Saints players spent a lot of the game looking like me on the dancefloor.

Feet rooted to the spot like I’ve got a sprawling root network beneath me, swaying in a manner so uncoordinated that people interrupt me to check I’m not having a stroke.

This presents a great chance for the Eagles to win a game on the road, an event rarer than a minister being fired these days.

They should be able to get it done here, they were great against Port last week and the Saints confidence is lower than an Instagram Influencer whose latest post got three likes.

Collingwood vs Greater Western Sydney (MCG) 7:25pm Fox

The carnage from the Giants’ game against Melbourne is still being counted, and it’s a long count.

Their bench looked like an episode of ER last week and the news hasn’t got any better this week.

Stephen Coniglio, Phil Davis and Matt de Boer have now all been ruled out for significant periods of time.

They are currently more rehab centre than footy team.

Collingwood fans will still be wondering how they managed to lose last week’s game, and it certainly took some effort to do so.

While it was amusing for most of us, Pies fans would see it as just another episode of their club shooting themselves in the foot.

They’ve done this so often recently, it’s possible they don’t have any feet left.

You’d think they’d get this done; the Giants were not exactly setting the world on fire before they became the not walking wounded.

Gold Coast vs Carlton (MS) 7:25pm Seven, Fox

Losing Jarrod Witts for the season was probably not in the plans of the Suns this year.

It’s such a blow that Damien Hardwick said the AFL should introduce a soccer-style loan system, so injury-hit clubs could find replacements.

I think this is a great idea. We don’t get enough of fans floating bizarre trade suggestions. Adding loans will be a whole new fertile ground of ridiculous conjecture.

I can already see the AFL considering how to get a bank to sponsor the new loans system.

That said, anyone knows that if you loan something, not own it yourself, you don’t look after it as much. You could see players being returned after being treated like a hire car.

Carlton last week won a game of footy, and the media this week has been writing them up like a Premiership is a mere formality.

That might be a bit of overselling. Looking competent against Fremantle isn’t that hard. It’s like someone lifting you up so you can dunk.

It would be just like Carlton to lose this game then; Blues fans know this to be true, but I think they’ll get the job done.


North Melbourne vs Adelaide (Marvel) 1:10pm Fox

Did anyone see that dog in Russia that jumped up and stole the microphone from the weather reporter and ran off with it in its mouth?

Hilarious. Special mention to the cameraman trying to chase it down while still filming.

Anyway, Adelaide to win.

Melbourne vs Geelong (MCG) 3:20pm Seven, Fox

Melbourne’s undefeated start to the season has been tempting me to have hope, but that’s a trick I’ve fallen for far too many times to do again.

So far, the Dees have defeated three teams that will play no role in the finals. The best you can say is they haven’t lost a game they should win, which, granted, is a new thing for them.

But this is a real test.

Geelong should play finals, and despite Patrick Dangerfield being out, and the Cats not yet setting the world on fire, this should really show us if the Dees have actually taken a step forward.

The Cats almost losing to the Hawks shows they’re not exactly in top gear, which is weird, peaking in round three is a strategy that’s never failed before.

Chris Scott said this week that coaching is "not a very good job". I’m not sure what he’s on about. You get to wear a tracksuit to work, you get free Powerade and you can yell at a group of twenty-year-olds every week. That’s my dream job.

He also got in a media spat with Eddie McGuire. I see what he’s doing here, trying to make me like him by going up against Eddie. Damn you Chris Scott you silver fox.

It’s working.

Geelong to win.

Fremantle vs Hawthorn (OS) 5:40pm Fox

The Dockers start to the season was like me at a networking event.

There have been embarrassing moments, some falling over and a surprising number of injuries.

The good news is the Dockers could get as many as six players back for this game.

I’ve noticed that if you have a lot of your best players out injured, it directly correlates with you losing more.

Isn’t that amazing? It’s counterintuitive I know, but I checked it on a supercomputer.

An Amstrad CPC 464 no less, one of the most powerful computers known to man.

Hawthorn almost beat Geelong last week and watching them look like a team on the improve really triggered me.

The Hawks are like herpes, even when they're dormant, you know an outbreak is possible at any moment.

Hawks to win.

My Melbourne International Comedy Festival Show 'Reflections of a Sporting Tragic' is on sale now: https://www.oztix.com.au/landingpage/page/?name=Titus%20O%27Reily 

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Len Rodwell

Apr 08, 2021

Titus you give me hope given I picked Melbourne, Port and Fremantle this week.

Darren J Ray

Apr 08, 2021

Which Bluey?

Goal or gaol?

Doug Warren

Apr 08, 2021

The words “brand”, “unpack”, “narrative” and other terms are used by idiots who actually think that they are smart!
Unfortunately they are the most dangerous people in the world.

The g train

Apr 08, 2021

A footy guide that is complete unhelpful is actually completely helpful. Once you know what is completely unhelpful—and Titus does this in great detail—then surely the complementary of that is completely helpful.

None of it is real, Titus. None of it. It’s all a mirage/illusion. At least that philosophical viewpoint helps me sleep at night when confronted by the certain “reality” of STK never winning a premiership in my lifetime. In any case, thanks for giving STK a metaphysical boost by absolutely bagging them this week.

The whole nine

Apr 08, 2021

You forgot "learnings". When did that become a word?

Jesse the Intruder

Apr 08, 2021

Saints having injuries now there is a surprise. Hanaberry is lucky he isn’t a horse in the Melbourne Cup.

& Titus, even if Chris Scott saved the world from global warming while rescuing a drowning puppy from a flood, you’d still be within your rights to dislike the 2021 paddle pop lion


Apr 08, 2021

Is that the same Bluey of Bargearse fame? "Put it away Bargearse".......Go Hawks!!

Tripster tipster

Apr 08, 2021

I saw that puppy with the microphone. Television gold and far more exciting than watching the Kangaroos play ... umm, can we call what they've been doing 'football' (?).
Your disillusionment with Melbourne, Port and Fremantle have convinced me to tip them. You've nearly convinced me to tip St Kilda and Gold Coast - but Adam Simpson might not be joking about it being a 'danger game' you think you've won before you've played and Gold Coast is ... well ... Gold Coast, but David Teague is such a nice guy. But every time I tip against you, you win. Every time I tip with you, SportsBet wins. I'm tripping.
Come to think about it - SportsBet seems to win no matter what I tip.


Apr 08, 2021

Who'd win a game between Noughtrth and the Cantscorerbury Bulldogs and how many people would stick around after half time?


Apr 08, 2021

"The Hawks are like herpes" comedy gold, right there. well worth making it through the whole email to get the best in the last line.


Apr 08, 2021

I always read this guide for the humanitarian insights.



Apr 08, 2021

pFFFT! I'll match your 464 and raise you with the CPC6128. That's right 128 MG of RAM!

Strength Through Ignorance

Apr 08, 2021

Pieman beat me to it - "The Hawks are herpes" is certainly the pick of this round and for mine, a hot contender for quip of the year. Keep up the good work!

greg mcneill

Apr 08, 2021

You haven’t mentioned lowering your eyes the last time Jessie hogan tried it he tripped over his own feet and screamed fir o free kick


Apr 08, 2021

I think the Bulldogs will win this, I really like their brand and their 'system'


Apr 08, 2021

Terrific early season form Titus. One of your best. The Herpes Hawks a standout as already applauded.


Apr 09, 2021

Best one the year so far, Titus. Don’t peak too soon!!