A highly unhelpful guide to Round Twenty One | Titus O'Reily

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A highly unhelpful guide to Round Twenty 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 round twenty-one.


Western Bulldogs v Greater Western Sydney (ES) 7.50pm

Like Voltron assembling, the Giants get back Toby Greene and Jonathon Patton this week, in an ominous sign for the rest of the competition.

One of the fun things about this game will be seeing if Greene can get through it without doing something stupid. Apparently, he’s been working on not hitting people.

It must be an awful affliction to live with, constantly accidentally hitting people, like some physical Tourette’s syndrome.

This week we had Steve Johnson announce his retirement, adding to an already long list for season 2017. The list of footy greats leaving the game at the end of the season is impressive.

I’m just glad I got to see Jesse White play.

Stevie J has provided us with highlights and suspensions in equal measure. His career Match Review Panel fines are equal to the GDP of Romania.

For the Bulldogs, this is like an elimination final, which maybe when they play their best footy. The Bulldogs had some retirement news of their own this week, with Matthew Boyd announcing he’ll finish up this season.

Boyd’s one of those annoying people who got the most out of their talent through sheer hard work. Those people make me feel small.

I’m tipping the Giants to win this.  


Sydney v Fremantle (SCG) 1.45pm

Sydney will be without Josh Kennedy again this week, but in good news, they’re playing Fremantle.

One thing I realised as the threat of nuclear annihilation hung over us again this week, was that it wouldn’t be all bad, we wouldn’t have to watch Ross Lyon’s style of football anymore, so there’s a silver lining in that atomic mushroom cloud.

While Fremantle’s season has been one to forget, things are going well for the Swans, with the re-signing of Sam Reid and beating the Cats in Geelong last week.

Sydney’s relentless competence over many years stands out so much because it’s surrounded by so much relentless incompetence. It’s possible only nuclear Armageddon will ever stop them making the finals.

Swans to win.

Geelong v Richmond (SS) 2.10pm

Jack Riewoldt is back now that his sight has returned and your eyes are not deceiving you; the Tigers are sitting in third and doing a very good impression of a top AFL side.

How impressed am I with the Tigers at the moment? Well, I briefly thought about believing in them the other day.

I obviously refrained from taking the next step, believing in them. There’s too much history, but I at least thought about it. I’m even open to the possibility of one day believing in them. I’m just taking it slow, I’ve been burnt before and don’t want to get hurt again.

While Tigers fans are up and about, Geelong fans have had a torrid week, with the loss to Sydney and the injury to Joel Selwood.

The surgery to the bravest ankle in footy has put a sizable dent in the Cats’ Premiership aspirations.

Are the Cats done without Selwood? Well, the short answer is yes. Like a motorbike that’s blown one of its tyres, the Cats have to finish the race basically with all their weight on one tyre.

It’s possible but unlikely.

I’m tipping the Tigers here, but we all know this is like to hurt me.  

Brisbane v Gold Coast (G) 4.35pm

The Rodney Eade era is over but did it ever really begin? It felt an awful lot like the Guy McKenna era.

On the Gold Coast, the announcement was met with shock.

“We have an AFL team?” Was the standard response.

People have been pointing out Eade inherited a basket case, and it would be fair to say he left it as he found it. Oh well, it’s not like the Gold Coast Suns have cost the AFL hundreds of millions of dollars.

One thing I will say, is I have a lot of faith in the Gold Coast Board making the wrong choice in appointing Eade’s successor. Luckily for those few Suns fans, the Suns Board won’t be making the decision, the AFL will.

Brisbane have caught a break with Gary Ablett and Tom Lynch both out for this ‘Q Clash.’

The Lions are a basket case too, but here they have a chance to prove they’re slightly less of a basket case.

I’m tipping the Lions.

Essendon v Adelaide (ES) 7.25pm

Jobe Watson’s retirement announcement this week certainly stirred up a lot of feelings.

It made the confirmation that James Hird has accepted the chance to present the Norm Smith medal seem even more fraught. There could be more booing than when Meatloaf performed.

Depending on who you listen to, Jobe is either a martyr on a level we haven’t seen since Jesus, or he is the biggest drug cheat since Lance Armstrong.

The internet doesn’t exactly do nuance well. The problem seems to be that for all reports Jobe is a nice person. Lance Armstrong certainly never had this levelled at him.

Nice people can make mistakes though. Being nice is not enough evidence to clear someone, despite the Good Bloke policy that operates in the AFL.

On the other hand, Jobe certainly falls well short of Lance Armstrong’s cheating, even if you believe everything he was accused of.

I tend to fall somewhat in the middle. I think there are questions over Jobe’s knowledge and reaction to the supplement program that never have and may never be answered to any satisfaction, that does leave a question mark over his career.

He did, however, receive a significant penalty and has obviously had the whole saga affect him in a deeply negative way.

It would be nice if we had clear cut evidence that could put him in an easy to define box, but like those horrible away jumpers Essendon used to wear, the whole saga is made up of shades of grey that means people tend just to pick what story suits their beliefs.

Essendon can continue putting their focus on the future with a win here, which would be a huge step towards making the finals.

Adelaide were dominant last week against Port but playing Etihad is not really their thing, and I can’t blame them.

This will be tough for the Bombers, but I think they can win this.

West Coast v Carlton (DS) 7.40pm

How exciting will Saturday night be when you’ve got this game to look forward to?

West Coast’s season of making their supporters feel bad could reach a peak if they lose this.

At home, this would have once been unthinkable, but the Eagles have set out this season to prove they can lose anywhere and against anyone.

After this game, West Coast face GWS and Adelaide, so if they want to play finals, they must win this and then at least one of those.

In some ways, I suspect a loss here would at least put Eagles fans out of their misery, and they’d save some money by not having to travel interstate for a final they’ll lose.

Carlton’s season has hit a slight problem, losing their last seven games.

Blues fans have lost interest, preferring to instead watch GWS’ NEAFL side to see who is the Blues are getting this off season.

I’m tipping the Eagles.


Melbourne v St Kilda  (MCG) 1.10pm

Everything is on the line in this one. Both sides have flirted with competency this season but haven’t committed to it. It’s almost like they’re not allowed to.

Perhaps we should hold some sort of postal ballot to permit them to become fully fledged top AFL sides.

Mail may be too technologically sophisticated. Send me a messenger pigeon instead if you think these teams can take the next step.

Talk to supporters from either side, and they can both give you strong arguments about why their team will lose this game. Ask them for a reason they could win, and they just give you a distressed look.

Melbourne have probably been more consistent, but their recent form has been abysmal.

Their long-term form against St Kilda is also concerning.

The Saints though will be without Nick Riewoldt, a big out for them.

I’m going to tip the Demons, but it’s a guess and not a confident one.

Hawthorn v North Melbourne (UTS) 3.20pm

It’s the battle for Tasmania, so naturally, it’s a dead rubber, with neither of these sides finals bound.

Poor Tasmania, always treated badly by the AFL. There’s a lot of arguments for why Tasmania can’t support an AFL side, but Greater Western Sydney and the Gold Coast can’t either.

I guess the difference is that Western Sydney and the Gold Coast have rapid population growth.

Think of it like this, Tasmania is someone that currently goes to the gym. They can only go twice a week due to other commitments, but they go and enjoy it.

Western Sydney and the Gold Coast are more like me. They don’t go to the gym, but they have the potential to go seven days a week because they’ve got nothing else on.

Therefore, they have way more potential when it comes to going to the gym. Just look at the numbers, Tasmania, two days a week tops, me seven days a week.

Now, the one thing the AFL seems to have missed is that I hate going to the gym. Sure, I visited the local gym once, but that’s because from the outside it looks a bit like an ice cream shop.

That’s the problem with investing in potential when it comes to things that involve people, we rarely meet our potential.

Hawthorn to win this.

Port Adelaide v Collingwood  (AO) 4.40pm

Are you sitting down?

Daniel Wells is injured.

I’m as surprised as you are.

Collingwood have been on a bit of a roll recently. Once they’d achieved their goal of not making finals, they relaxed and started winning.

The good news is there is talk that Buckley might be saved, so we thank all the AFL teams for agreeing to drop a few of these late games to the Pies to engineer a great outcome for everyone.

Port Adelaide turned in one of the worse performances of the season last week, and it will be interesting to see how they react.

Normally, the best way to react to something bad happening is to shrink from the world and tell yourself you’re no good and don’t deserve success or happiness. Unfortunately, while that’s a common approach, it’s not a particularly useful.

Port would be better off trying to win this one and get their season back on track. I think they’ll do this, but don’t win by too much, not until we’ve got Nathan’s signature on that extension. 

I'm touring my new show 'Insufficient Intent' around the country. Come see me in the bye weekend before the finals. Brisbane date just added: All the details are available here.

You can help support me in producing this ridiculous nonsense I churn out on a regular basis. My aim is to keep as much of my stuff on this site and available to everyone and not behind paywalls. Find out more here: https://titusoreily.com/support-titus


Vic Parkes 11 August 2017

I know this isn't meant to be a serious space, but I am going to leave a serious comment. Sorry. Jobe Watson was not penalised for what he did or didn't know. He was penalised for having been found by the anti-doping agencies of the world to have taken a prohibited substance. I'm sure he's a Good Bloke, but drug cheat still trumps (sorry again) Good Bloke.

John Nicholls 11 August 2017

Vic, it's a tough call whatever way you look at it. I feel sorry for all the Essendon kids who got rubbed out, guilty or not. I don't for a second feel sorry for Hird. I dislike his attitude and his wife and will be very pissed off when gets up at the G on Sept 30. The AFL want to make sure they handle the next doping saga a lot better. I hope Jobe enjoys his new life as a barista. One last thing, Joe Daniher might end up as good as, or even better than, Buddy.

Mr B 14 August 2017

... and yet, neither Joe Daniher or Buddy Franklin is performing at anywhere near the standard of Josh Kennedy (the West Coast one). This season he's averaging 4 goals per match where both of the others are going at less than three. Plus, despite playing less games he's now leading in the race for the Coleman Medal, which would be a personal "three-peat".

Timmy G 11 August 2017

Got my tickets for the Adelaide leg of 'Insufficient Intent' and really looking forward to welcoming your partner in crime Sergio Paradise with a warm "Welcome to South Oz" bitch slap!

Blinker 11 August 2017

Did Suns board tip out Rocket thru fear of losing to Lions (and 18th on ladder) twice in one season? New Coach = new hope, and maybe pinch a win?

MaxPower 11 August 2017

Well Vic, you made me laugh.

He may have been found guilty by ASADA/WADA/CAS using logic that would do Titus proud like strands in a cable but when you can't produce more than a forged receipt to prove that someone took a drug and rely on some (not all) players not filling in a part of the Doping Control Form that states "this bit is optional" then you don't have much credibility.

By the way have they decided to have a look at Gold Coast yet, because they at least had some evidence there, or is that the deal that the AFL did?

Jobe is a true champion of the game and should be remembered and treated as such.

Butcher Mackelby 11 August 2017

Vic Parkes his bum in the air ... which is fine ... don't get me wrong ... just saying.

Bloke from the outer 11 August 2017

+ 1 Vic Parkes.

Sorry not Sorry 11 August 2017

+ 2 Vic Parkes

John Nicholls 11 August 2017

Voltron and Tourette's. I was laughing but not sure if I understand why. Jack Dyer would never have said stuff like that. Hang on, maybe he did one time. I will be watching the Footscray game with a few Melbourne Bitters.

Holden Broke 11 August 2017

So, Jab Watson is retiring, eh?
Yesterday's man is yesterday's news.
Move along, nothing to learn here.

Terry 11 August 2017

Did you have a bad experience , in Brisbane, as a child? With your tipping skills you have tipped the Lions!!!!!!! Why do you do it.

Andy 11 August 2017

+3 Vic Parkes
It is the correct words to use -drug cheat.
The authorities had sufficient evidence to find him guilty each time. Thats the rules and Essendon cheated them.
If you dont like the rules dont complain and dont play the sport

MaxPower 11 August 2017

Actually that's what I like about people who comment about this, we don't need facts to come to a conclusion.

The AFL Tribunal found the Essendon players not guilty because ASADA couldn't prove that the drugs existed, let alone the players took them, so not quite guilty each time, 1 out of 2. Then the rules changed and WADA was allowed to have a completely new trial, they didn't have to prove where the AFL tribunal got it wrong, they dreamed up strands instead.

CAS who are employed by WADA decided that they didn't need to bother about that and decided to start with the premise that the players took TB4. Kinda reverses the burden of proof that we have and are used to in Australia.

I get it that footy is tribal so an opposition player may be fair game but you don't need to be a d1ck about it. It is easy to find out and read the CAS verdict yourself and then when you do you go wow, that's all the evidence they had.? Really? The only players who got banned signed a form saying that they were going to get an injection. Really? Wow! Half of WADA and CAS determination contradicts the other half so in the end it is just the vibe.

Holden Broke 11 August 2017

Here's the thing, Max.
The players couldn't provide believable proof that they didn't take the performance enhancers. Yet they all admitted to taking something. Oops.

Holden Broke 11 August 2017

Here's the thing, Max.
The players couldn't provide believable proof that they didn't take the performance enhancers. Yet they all admitted to taking something. Oops.

Holden Broke 11 August 2017

Here's the thing, Max.
The players couldn't provide believable proof that they didn't take the performance enhancers. Yet they all admitted to taking something. Oops.

Holden Broke 11 August 2017

Here's the thing, Max.
The players couldn't provide believable proof that they didn't take the performance enhancers. Yet they all admitted to taking something. Oops.

MaxPower 12 August 2017

I got you the first time HB.

Here's the thing, you get pulled up by the coppers for speeding, say they saw you doing 100km/hr in a 50km zone. In Aus they have to prove it as they are supposed to do at CAS.

How good would that be for a tinpot official, where is your believable proof you didn't do it. Oops.


I'm on the bandwagon - go the Tigers!!

Daniel Well's Calf 11 August 2017

At least I'm consistent.

Support Staff 11 August 2017

Remember when the Non-Fitzroy Lions were "rehydrating" players at halftime with IV lines? Did anyone actually test the contents of those bags? As soon as it appeared on TV the AFL were all over it like Bill Shorten on a cold meat pie. Then they went back into ostrich mode in the vain hope that no-one else actually might be pushing the boundaries. The AFL regurgitated Essendon as matter of overall brand protection. In the meantime Ben Cousins tests positive to drugs in prison but not during his playing days (apparently). When it comes to running interference, the company that keeps the Herald Sun and Channel 7 profitable has few peers.

Mac Hawk 12 August 2017

I hate Essendon, naturally as a Hawk fanatic, but feel for Jobe and the other players. Basically they got done by placing trust in their employers and coaches. WADA has basically ruled that it is up to each individual player to act with due diligence in with what they consume but this flies directly in the face of how the Australian Government and media want us to behave. We are trained to be sheep and believe everything the authorities and media teach us and like sheep, it is our mistake and not theirs if something goes wrong - like place the blame on the disadvantaged when the millionaires don't pay tax. It is a conflict of culture and currently, thinking for yourself and taking responsibility for ones actions is not the Australian way.

Orribal 12 August 2017

Your comments on the Rich Geel game is one of the best non-committal pieces of writing I have read in quite a while

Bloke from the outer 12 August 2017

At least Greene didn't punch anyone this week.

JP 12 August 2017

OK BFTO - that was funny!

Anonymous 13 August 2017

But he did kick Dahlhaus

london 13 August 2017

Hird and jobe both cheats. Hird being able to do anything remotely football related is farcical. He's the lance armstrong of the AFL. I hope he gets booed for putting us all through that rubbish for so many years, so damn selfish.

MaxPower 13 August 2017

Hey London, you do know that when Robinson and Dank came to Essendon from the AFL's love child club that Hirdy stated that any supplement use had to be WADA/ASADA compliant and agreed to by the Doc and also by the players. Sounds pretty evil doesn't it and Robinson and Dank didn't report to Hirdy but reported to Hamilton who know works directly for the AFL.

Maybe ASADA and WADA should be looking at the evidence that Robinson gave them about the Suns and one of their players who happened to retire early when this blew up, but as I said before that was probably tidied up with a nod and a wink and you can have Essendon instead. It is known that both ASADA and WADA and the AFL changed evidence during the investigation and ASADA also had the embarrassment of admitting at the AFL tribunal that the only hard evidence that they had about TB4 being sold to Essendon was forged and they had to withdraw it. Good to know we have a model citizen overseeing our athletes.

Jobe and Hirdy are not cheats and both don't believe they took illegal drugs and by the way do a little bit of reading about Armstrong, he failed drug tests but they were covered up.

London 14 August 2017

Just another bomber fan with their head in the sand. If only they could see it.. as if it all took place at another club.. pretend it was calton.. ah, now guilty as hell!

MaxPower 15 August 2017

Well thought out argument London. If someone produced facts that the players took TB4, then I along with most Essendon supporters would accept that.

ASADA couldn't provide any facts to the AFL tribunal and relied on a kangeroo court (CAS) with two out of three on the panel effectively appointed by WADA.

And when you say if it took place at another club, well it may have. Dank and Robinson worked together at Geelong when they won a flag or two and then also at Gold Coast and after Essendon, Dank also did some work at Melbourne where he has stated that he did what he did at Essendon. So either Dank only went rogue at one club or maybe he was always a rogue or maybe just possibly ASADA got it all horribly wrong due to being under resourced and a little bit incompetent and getting pushed along by someone else's agenda.

If you know anymore facts then please share them because I can assure you that my head is not buried anywhere on this issue unlike some.

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