Sep 04, 2020


AFL Mad Scramble Two: Day Nine


A column every day, as we get more football than we even asked for.

Occasionally, this column will even mention football but rarely sensibly.

Last Night

Sydney v Melbourne

If there’s a bigger joke of a club in the AFL than Melbourne, I’m not aware of it.

With finals very much on the line, Melbourne’s players seemed alarmingly disinterested in this game, and you could tell within minutes of the ball being bounced.

There was no real fight, no pressure and certainly no sense they wanted to win.

Sydney to their enormous credit, playing for nothing but pride, showed the difference between caring and not caring.

They gave it their all, probably buoyed by the fact that every team in the league knows that if they give it a red-hot crack against the Demons, they are a real chance.

A victory against Melbourne is one of the most attainable things in the world, right up there with my friend Geoff.

Like Geoff, a heady mixture of self-doubt, laziness and giving up when things are hard, lie at the heart of Melbourne.

Losing games like this are the closest thing Melbourne has to a brand.

And now Melbourne will call for their fans to stick fat and support the boys.

Well, the fans aren’t the problem, the fact there are still fans is one of the great miracles of history.

This club doesn’t deserve the fans it has, we’ve given it everything, very few within the club can honestly say the same thing.

Greater Western Sydney (48) v Carlton (39)

For a moment, it appeared the Giants had watched the Melbourne game for inspiration.

Leon Cameron said after the game ‘that’s not great footy’, which is just a slight understatement.

This was painful to watch for everyone involved. Giants supporters because their team couldn’t kick straight and Carlton fans because they just knew they would lose this in the end.

Patrick Cripps looked tired after carrying his entire team for years, and the fact he finished with just 13 disposals makes you wonder if he should have been playing at all.

Not that the Blues seem to ever worry about overloading him, partly because at times he is their entire team, remove him and you’ve got Sam Walsh and some spectators.

The Giants, however, managed to snatch victory from the jaws of their own incompetence, and with Melbourne deciding things were a bit hard against the Swans, they are now in the eight and have a real chance to play finals.

They’d want to get better though.


Brisbane v Collingwood (G) 7:50 pm Seven

The Lions should get a real boost from the announcement that the Grand Final will be at the Gabba.

All the Queensland Government had to do to secure it was fling open the borders to 400 AFL types.

It seems a high price to pay.

The Lions biggest issue in recent times is goalkicking accuracy. They’ve been more wayward than my youth.

It almost cost them against St Kilda and did cost them against Richmond.

Goalkicking accuracy is one of the most important things in footy because it’s connected to the most important stat in football, the score.

You can take all the stats in the world, but nothing correlates stronger than the score with victory or defeat.

I’ve analysed decades of results to prove this and am happy to share my workings. They're written on a napkin that I think is in the pocket of my jeans that I wore the other day. 

I’m kidding of course. As if I’d bother getting into jeans in lockdown.

Collingwood continues to have an interesting season. Nathan Buckley had to declare his life wasn’t empty because he hadn’t won a Premiership.

Imagine having to announce to the media that you're not empty inside? Do was all have to do that now? I'd be lying.

But can you live a full life if you haven’t won an AFL premiership?

I don’t think you can. Obviously, anyone who hasn’t won a premiership at the highest level is dead inside.

It’s like Socrates once said, ‘An unexamined life is not worth living unless you’ve won a premiership. Even an examined one without a premiership is hollow.’

Socrates also said, ‘Why do Collingwood have so many injuries every season? It’s ridiculous.”

He knew his footy.

Lions to win.

My new book Cheat: The Not-so-subtle Art of Conning Your Way to Sporting Glory is now available for pre-order and will be released November 3.

At the moment I’m barely able to work, so you can help support me in producing this ridiculous nonsense I churn out on a regular basis. It’s greatly appreciated. Find out more here:



Sep 04, 2020

Spot on about Melbourne, Titus. It's really not even funny anymore. Them, I mean, not you.

Ken Cooper

Sep 04, 2020

The fact that they still have supporters....sums up the team I’ve supported all my life. I apologise unreservedly to my sister and her family, my son and his family and my new Thai wife for dragging them into this. I feel ashamed of bringing such hurt to those I love. Back to the booze...

Julian McMahon

Sep 04, 2020

Hi Titus,

I really enjoy your writing, and am grateful for your consistent, high-quality output. Thank you.

But you really need an editor.

Not to amend your style or content (as that’s all excellent), but simply to fix basic spelling and grammar problems.

I’m sure the errors are a result of a rapid publishing process and they could easily be avoided by a quick skim by another set of eyes.

I wish you all the best and hope the Dees eventually come good for you.

Best regards,

Gladys Paltrow

Sep 04, 2020

Titus - your sadness just oozes out from your writing today. I almost feel sorry for you. I watched a few minutes of the last quarter of the Melbourne game and thought of you and your pain. Have you ever looked into the idea of free agency for supporters? After 40 years supporting a footy club without any success, you would be free to pick another club and move on. There'd be no social stigma and everyone would accept that you've done your bit and wouldn't look down on you.


Sep 04, 2020

I'm sorry Titus, I even went to the game in Cairns with some Dees supporters and tried to encourage them, but after the first quarter we, like the Melbourne team, all wanted to be somewhere else. But at least I could go home and watch Carlton have a crack at the such luck, the Blues only played the first half again!@$%#@!

Xi Jinping

Sep 04, 2020

Julian - you should use commas more often.

Julian McMahon's Editor

Sep 04, 2020

I really enjoy you're righting, and am grateful for you're consistent, high-quality output. Thankyou.

But you really need a editor.

Not too amend you're style or content (as thats all excellent), but simply to fix basic speling and grammer problems.

Im sure the error's are a result of a rapid publishing process and their could easily be avoided bye a quick skim bye another set of eyes.

Eye wish you all the beast and hope the Dees eventually come good for you.

Best regards,


Sep 04, 2020

Love the Socrates reference!


Sep 04, 2020

That’s it...after supporting the Dees for 60 years, I give up, I quit. And at least I waited til the end of the game to give up; most of the players did that 5 minutes in.


Sep 04, 2020

Julian McMahon's Editor - you are a genius.

Julian McMahon, whilst you may have a fair point sir, considering what Titus had to sit through yesterday I, for one, am grateful that he wrote for us at all today.


Sep 04, 2020

Ahhh, thank you again Melbourne for engineering the turnaround that the Swans needed as they did in that famous game back in 1993 in Ron Barassi's third or fourth game as coach of the Swans. This signalled the start of the Swans becoming a constant powerhouse team in the competition for the next twenty years or so.

Julian McMahon's Editors Mum

Sep 04, 2020

Only the one complaint Mr O'Reily, this piece has far too many relevant AFL references and genuine commentary.


Sep 04, 2020

Gladys, I love the idea of supporter free agency. Perhaps Titus could receive a diagnosis for MSTS (Melbourne Supporter Traumatic Syndrome) which might also allow him to change clubs without fear of stigma or retribution? If you qualify for free agency perhaps you could turn up at your new club of choice with any merchandise you have accumulated from your incumbent club and have it replaced with that of the new club free of charge? This idea is definitely worth investigating :-).

Graeme I Robinson

Sep 04, 2020

Titus as a fellow Demon for 60 long, frustrating, demoralising, humiliating (You get the picture) years with little to cheer about. I feel the pain you have painted for me in your story. Free agency for supporters (has some promise) instead of pity from the club for another inept weak performance when everything is on the line. Nice Socrates reference.......

Jony Corona

Sep 04, 2020

Thanks for tipping Lions
Go Pies


Sep 04, 2020

It's all very well for Melbourne fans to complain about their team and point to their own loyalty (like that's a virtue that has any place in professional sport) but don't they bear a lot of the responsibility for the way their club performs? Doesn't turning up to watch the same dross year in year out act as an encouragement to those on the field to keep producing said dross, rather than having to attempt some of that unpleasant actually trying as hard as you can type behaviour? And if that's right, doesn't that mean Melbourne fans should not only despise themselves (which to be fair judging from Titus they already have covered) but should also be despised by everyone else as cynical low-life enablers in the same way drug dealers and online betting companies are (or should be)?


Sep 04, 2020

PHIL SEP 04, 2020

An extract from

'At Richmond, a club that for the past 30 years has had leaner times than all others, humour and wit have become ingrained traits of the way we barrack. It is our self-help mechanism for understanding loss and disappointment. We loved ‘Richo’ because of his greatness, but also because of his flaws. We’ve heard all the jokes about finishing ninth. And yes, yes, we know we’re the only club in the competition winless against Gold Coast. Humility has made us only stronger.'

We were the worst team for such a long time; you never know when it will all turn around.

Fat Side

Sep 04, 2020

So, with the shortened quarters, players can sprint up and down the ground all game, which has caused congested, low-scoring, rubbish football. This was already becoming a problem in previous seasons - so, post-Covid, the clear solution for Steve H and his merry men is to ditch all the “6-6-6“ and “holding the ball interpretations” and just rule that each game will forthwith consist of five or six 45 minute quarters ( with time-on )! The extra advertising revenue will be a boon, and think of how many pies and mid-strength beers you could get down during an arvo/evening/night/early morning at the footy.

Loz from West Oz

Sep 04, 2020

I don't think I have ever looked forward to one of your sprays of Melbourne more and it delivered in spades. As a Saints member I had a vested interest in Melbourne doing the exact thing you feared but knew was coming like rhetorical questions from Bruce's commentary. As a Saints fan you know that I know your pain. If we were having this conversation face to face this would be the point where we would simply fall silent and nod at each other, slowly embracing as our eyes filled with tears. Please do me a favour and tip Hawthorn on Sunday. Thanks.

BTW I caught your stand up show at the Polish Club in Hobart when we were travelling there last October and enjoyed it immensely.


Sep 04, 2020

HEY ... fair go!

Dr Phil

Sep 04, 2020

Melbourne aren't alone playing apathetic football this season. With everything that's happened this year, teams' inconsistent performances are perhaps a reflection of this holding pattern we're all in. Let's hope the Premier's UBD is uptodate or he's got the latest GPS & could then lend it to some footy clubs to get their players to the venues they are supposed to be playing at.


Sep 04, 2020

My partner's sister changed clubs because her favourite Swan became a Blue, she missed two premierships. This could be a blueprint for being able to change clubs?


Sep 04, 2020

God I'm glad I don't support Melbourne. Think I would have topped myself out of sheer disgust and disappointment years ago.

andrew hodder

Sep 04, 2020

Xi Jinping
Yes, Julian's use of five commas in a 51 word missive is somewhat excessive. Maybe Julian, in future, give thought to the strategic use of the oft under utilized semi colon; a definite paragraph brightner upper.
As for the concept of changing support from an under performing team to a more competitive unit....a friend of mine did just that in 2000. Switched from a hapless Collingwood to a potentially rampaging Carlton. How'd that work out?


Sep 04, 2020

Back to the MFC, Titus, your commentary made me feel better.
I only wish I could barrack for someone else, but it's not possible. I'm stuck with this. And what makes it worse, I passed it on to my children, who now also suffer.


Sep 04, 2020

Hey, all you Melbourne supporter....just be grateful you aren't a Richmond supporter & were out at 3.30 am on Cavill Ave this morning!


Sep 04, 2020

Socrates played midfield for the Bulldogs in the late 80's, didn't he?

the g train

Sep 04, 2020

In the mid to late 1960's, a higher being thought that indeed Australia was the lucky country. But too lucky. To balance this, the higher being wanted a small but still significant number of Australians to suffer many decades of misfortune, misery and discontent and worst of all--brief periods of false hope. The unfortunate Australians he chose were the supporters of the Melbourne and St Kilda football clubs. I hear ya Titus, and as a St Kilda supporter, I also know the pain of too much pain.

On a more positive note--I adore the grammatical errors. As Matashona Dhliwayo said: “Flawed genius is better than flawless talent.”

Gladys Paltrow

Sep 04, 2020

Andrew - just like the player's free agency, having it for supporters doesn't mean that people are protected from their own poor judgement. So there's no sympathy for anyone who would choose to support Carlton just as we all looked on in amazement when Braydon Preuss left North for more ruck opportunities and chose to go to a club with an All-Australian ruckman; good point about the semicolon though.


Sep 04, 2020

You may want to reconsider the Swans becoming a consistent powerhouse in 1993...the ducks won only 1 game in ‘93. Exploded into form with 4 out of 22 in ‘94.
Love the way people “remember” the past!


Sep 04, 2020

Titus, can't agree more that the most important stat in football is the score.

Please go easy tipping the Lions.

Crocodile Tears

Sep 04, 2020

it's all very well for Melbourne fans to complain about their team and point to their own loyalty - but don't they bear a lot of the responsibility for the way their club performs?


They had a chance to merge with Hawthorn and like last nights game... blue it!

Could of had a few premerships by now.


Sep 04, 2020

I’m a Swans supporter and thought when Mills was ruled out that there it goes Demons will have a picnic. We are not a finals side neither are they.


Sep 04, 2020

Hey, CraigJ. Thanks for remembering Socrates O’Brien. He just rang me from the Nursing Home and he’s rapt. Well, he’s rapt to be alive, tbh, but that’s another story. He actually had a few games with the doggies in the ‘60’s, but it’s ok, a forgivable error.

The Dude Abides

Sep 04, 2020

Remind me to stop following Premier Mark McGowan's Lonely Hearts column in The West Australian. Avocating 'playing hard to get' when us Victorians when we are already mighty pissed watching our life being auctioned via some shonky Liquidator/Govt/Corporate conglomerate.

I could do without another seven years of Freudian therapy that would surely follow presenting myself to an attractive person of interest based on Mr 85%s electoral charm and aura.
Although we did try to steal their America's Cup, now operating as The Birdman Rally at some godawful festival.
May Sharknado infect your shores.

Saint Peter

Sep 04, 2020

Titus. It's not too late to change clubs. It may help to see sport from a different perspective. May I suggest the Washington Generals. At least you know the outcome & they will give at least 90% effort every match even when they lose. Too overcome our isolation & to get a positive view of life it's never too late to change sports.

Leave a comment

We promise to never share your email with anyone else.