Oct 01, 2018


The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Grand Final 2018


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.

West Coast (79) v Collingwood (74)

On a fairly regular basis, footy reminds us it’s the greatest thing ever, a wonderous invention that can make us feel elated or devastated in equal measure.

Walking into the MCG, the feeling was one of excitement and nervousness, a feeling that only a Grand Final can bring.

Everyone knows they are just hours away from being unmeasurably joyous or a black pit of despair from which no light escapes.

To offset all this tension, everyone was in a happy mood, like we’d all just found out the world was about to end and decided to at least enjoy our final moments together.

Both sets of supporters were out in force, Collingwood supporters in their traditional tracksuit pants and Eagles supporters practising their 47 different types of boos they use to communicate during a game.

While there’s always idiots in the crowd, all I saw on the day was good humour in the crowd.

As the 100,022 took their seats, Melbourne was bathed in a mysterious light.

I wondered aloud what it was, and an Eagles supporter helpfully pointed out it was sunlight. It’s not uncommon in Perth she informed me.

Sitting there in this ‘sunlight’, surrounded by footy fans, it was hard not to feel pretty happy.

This sense of happiness even continued on, even though the Black Eyed Peas were performing.

I thought they were neither a train wreck or particularly great. Will.I.Am got a lot of heat for checking his phone during the performance but he was not alone there based on all the people around me.

We’ve all phoned it in at work before but perhaps never so blatantly.

It’s possible he was checking if the AFL’s money had been wired into his account and if he could wrap things up.

Jimmy Barnes came up straight afterwards and the crowd certainly seemed to lift for him. His ability to stay off electronic devices was certainly appreciated.

I was sitting next to some Collingwood fans and had some Eagles fans behind me.

They all looked more stressed than the ABC Board, but not as drunk.

Mike Brady then came out and sang ‘Up there Cazaly’and I have to say the crowd really got into it. Except for a nine-year-old girl who refused to stand.

I gave her a really spray, calling her ‘Un-Australian’ and ‘a disgrace’, you know, normal things for a grown adult to call a nine-year-old they don’t know who doesn’t stand up during a song.

Her family texted the number to report anti-social behaviour, but when security showed up and discovered what happened, they removed her and her family instead.

Hopefully from the country.

Next was Jimmy Barnes’ daughter, performing the national anthem, which I didn’t stand for as part of my continuing civil action that Nikki Webster’s Strawberry Kissesshould be our national anthem.

With the musical component thankfully now over for another year, disaster struck, with Collingwood’s banner breaking before the players came out.

While this would normally amuse me, given the cheer squads all give their lives to football, it was actually very sad to see.

Finally, the game started, and much like Collingwood’s banner, the Eagles fell apart.

The noise with every Collingwood goal was insane, and chants of ‘Collingwood’ echoed around the ground.

Travis Varcoe’s goal to start things off got the biggest cheer, and his recent family tragedy gave it special meaning for everyone watching.

The Eagles fans behind me looked in shock as the Pies poured on the goals. It had the feeling of the previous week in Perth but this time the Eagles were on the receiving end.

The West Coast supporter directly behind me kept quietly repeating their safe word over and over.

By quarter time, it felt like it was going to be a long day and I was desperately trying to remember the PIN for my saferoom and calculating the optimum moment to flee the stadium.

The second quarter though saw the Eagles begin to assert some dominance and going into half time the game was again a contest. The West Coast fans still looked nervous but now the Pies supporters did too.

I offered some helpful words of advice to those around me at halftime, reminding them to keep things in perspective, ‘a loss today is just a moment that will haunt you for the rest of your life, nothing more’.

This was met with more hostility than I thought.

The third quarter saw the Eagles start to gain the upper hand. There was a guy down back who kept taking key marks and a quick google search revealed his name was ‘Jeremy McGovern’.

Some more internet research revealed that the players now getting control of the midfield for the Eagles were Luke Shuey and Dom Sheed. I’d never heard of either of them but they both seemed really good.

Collingwood seemed on the back foot, but Buckley had subbed in Mason Cox at half time and he was starting to have an impact.

Jordan De Goey kept causing trouble and each time it seemed the Eagles were about to run over the Pies, Collingwood would manufacture a goal.

At three quarter time the game was tied but the Pies fans were concerned as they had watched their huge leaded completely eroded.

Eagles fans looked just as concerned, could they land a knockout blow, or had they spent all their energy playing catch up?

The fourth quarter begun with a twist, the Pies, struggling in the third quarter came out and booted the first two.

Not since the invention of pre-mix cans had Collingwood supporters been so happy.

But the day wasn’t over. The Eagles could have given up at this point, but they went back to work.

They were all over the Pies, but they were unable to land a shot, the Pies, like an old prize-fighter were doing everything to hang on.

With the Eagles down by two points it felt like the stadium was about to explode, everyone knew that this could go either way.

The Eagles tried to work it out of their back line, only for the Pies to turn it over and come back again. Every mistake, or missed opportunity felt like it had cost the game, as the players threw themselves at the ball with an intensity of a Bachelorcontestant trying to get noticed.

West Coast had missed four shots in a row at this point and with a couple of minutes left they again cleared it from their back fifty.

The ball game out to Vardy who marked and quickly moved it forward. It could have easily been spoiled at this stage, but Liam Ryan took a wonderful mark, ran forward and found an open Dom Sheed in the forward fifty.

A lot has been said of Willie Rioli blocking Brayden Maynard from getting to the marking contest, especially from the Melbourne media.

I can see the argument but watching this game live, and on replay a couple of times I have to say the umpires let a lot go.

This would be about one of twenty-odd occasions when the umpires erred on letting play go on.

I thought at the time the more contentious moment was that Sheed seemed to play on and then stop.

Personally, I preferred the umpires letting a lot go on the day, it produced a far better outcome overall.

Some in the media making out that this made it a controversial result that decided the game shows a lack class and ignores the broader perspective of how the entire game was umpired.

The Eagles could put forward a whole bunch of non-calls too.

Sheed was no certainty either. He was on a very tight angle and forty meters out.

I was sitting directly behind him and as it left his boot it looked like it could go either side of the goal post, only to hold it’s line.

The Eagles fans went nuts and the Pies fans rushed to their phones to check the time left.

Even then the drama wasn’t over. The Eagles had to stop the Pies scoring.

Things looked good for West Coast though only for Jack Darling to drop a mark in the goal square, resulting in a point.

The Pies were going to get one more chance, they went long up the middle but there was Luke Shuey, the soon-to-be-named Norm Smith medallist with the mark to end the game.

The whole mad, epic thing was over and everyone knew we’d just witnessed something special.

The Pies fans were devastated, the Eagles fans elated, but all stayed to watch the presentation of the cup and support their team regardless of the outcome.

Behind me were two kids, one an eight-year-old in a Pies jumper, the other about five in an Eagles top. I’m not sure if they were related or knew each other at all, but the Pies supporter was in tears and the five-year-old had his arm around him comforting him.

It was so damn poignant I would have taken a photo, but taking photos of kids you don’t know tends to draw attention.

This was a game where the great game once again reminded us that footy is great because it creates a community.

With the final siren sounded and the cup awarded we can all go back to the shared solidarity of all being footy fans, a group of people that understand that we are mad, but collectively mad together.

We all now face that terrible part of the year with no footy, just that awful summer filled with friends and family.

It’s why I won’t be rubbing it into Pies supporters because there’s a time and place and this is neither.

Footy fans know how bad they’ll be feeling.

Instead, we congratulate the Eagles, and we get ready for the most exciting time of the year, trade period.

You can help support me in producing this ridiculous nonsense I churn out on a regular basis. I aim 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


Eagle Eye

Oct 01, 2018

Good call Titus.
You played brave, Magpies

Michael Studman

Oct 01, 2018

Wonderful writing Titus. Just discovered you this year through The Coodabeens Your GIFs during the Eagles ambush of The Demons were priceless.


Oct 01, 2018

Lovely writeup, Titus. Was an outstanding GF for once.
Definitely not the outcome expected, but the Eagles had great pressure most of the game even if the scoreboard didn’t show... plus, that’s footy after all!


Oct 01, 2018

Titus, great finish to a great year from you. Reintroduce yourself to your family, relax and enjoy the break.


Oct 01, 2018

“Strawberry Kisses” well that’ll just about do me.

Great write up and an excellent year of footy commentary all round Titus. Already looking forward to next season.


Oct 01, 2018




October-February drat.

What a marvellous game! To have a gf in which the lead is changed is a bonus unto itself but to have one to coddle in the memory for all time which was predominantly played in good spirit (comparatively) and to have Eddie cry and cringe? However I must say that after the game he was adamant in his praise and was very sporting regards Collingwood’s “luck”. Well done McGuire.

As socially embarrassing to remark I do know a Collingwood supporter and I do feel for that fan.....but not the other 100,000 of them who I will never know. That’s just life.

Viva 2018! Another Premiership year.

As they’re saying over here. “Thank goodness the Eagles won. At least Dockers fans won’t have to keep listening to Eagles fans banging on about 3 flags anymore......”

Dog Breath

Oct 01, 2018

Glad you called out the medja for their crappy beat-up of controversy where none exists. does this mean your not actually part of the medja.


Oct 01, 2018

Thanks for your wonderful insights and insults this year Titus. Have a nice break :)


Oct 01, 2018

Brilliant year, Titus. Thanks for your consistently delightful entertainment.


Oct 01, 2018

Boy oh boy Titus... one the best knee-jerk reactions ever, just delicious. Collingwood fought well, but the better team won.

Gazza Eagle

Oct 01, 2018

Great stuff Titus - this one and all year.

What a season and what a GF...for us die hard Eagles this is better than 06... the loss of our stars, the power of the Collingwood home crowd, the devastating start, the come back, the redemptions - not just from the 2015 loss but within the game....if I was Cole and dropped that mark I would have ran off and hid in the rooms and blubbered to myself rest of the game - but he recovered and played well - as did others on both teams - many fade outs, come backs and moments all day...could have gone either way so sympathy for Pies,well done my champs!


Oct 01, 2018

Very entertaining Titus. This line is just marvellous ‘a loss today is just a moment that will haunt you for the rest of your life, nothing more’. I genuinely laughed out loud.

Donald McRonald

Oct 01, 2018

Great finish to a stellar year.

Football was the winner on the day...along with commercial airlines, Perth based recreational drug dealers and whoever owns the rights to "Eagle Rock".


Oct 01, 2018

Anything that can get an out-loud laugh from me on a Monday morning must have been funny.
Now on to October - the month when I never have and never will reckon that the footy season is too long.


Oct 01, 2018

Titus - your commentary on football over the year is hillarious and grounding.
Todays piece is beautifully written and deservedly respectfull to the efforts of two teams who put on great show on AFL’s biggest day.


Oct 01, 2018

Great report Titus.....and Leigh Matthews does lack class. Sooks about ONE decision in a game where Collingwood won the free kick count 14-10 and were given unfettered momentum by the umps in the first quarter....and where was Matthews after the 2016 GF umpiring debacle that robbed the Swans of a Premiership? What a Victorian hypocrite he is! Like most Vic footy journo's and I live in Victoria!


Oct 01, 2018

As a West Coast supporter who watched my father go into palliative care the day of our last flag this one feels pretty sweet.

I really feel for the pies. Buckley has been sheer class this season and so has his team to the very last. Heck, I almost feel sorry for Eddie. Almost....


Oct 01, 2018

Titus, a brilliant season. You peaked superbly for the Finals. You are a better read than any of the expert pundits. Playing the game seems to have provided frontal lobe damage for them
A brilliant game had to be decided by a seriously difficult kick. No pressure, really.
Suggestion: warm up for next season by covering some of the women's games for us.

Auntie Lager

Oct 01, 2018

As usual I enjoyed the Knee Jerk Reaction, but I have to give credit to Donald McRonald for a great comment. That was also a laugh out loud moment.


Oct 01, 2018

thanks for a great season titus.

John Nicholls

Oct 01, 2018

Too much feeling sorry for Collingwood here. Always good when Collingwood lose a grand final.


Oct 01, 2018

Love your column. Always make me laugh. & how do we survive now with no football till March!!


Oct 01, 2018

Thanks for recapping another great season, Titus!

Beau of Beaumaris

Oct 01, 2018

Thanks Titus for your continuing entertaining posts.
But have you heard that Jesse Hogan is moving west, and a fat, lazy guy from the GC$ May come in his place? I look forward to your views on this outrage.


Oct 01, 2018

Strawberry kisses would be a great pre mix can flavour

Demon Storm

Oct 01, 2018

The late great Peggy Lee summed up the Grand Final best by her song:” Is that all there is my friends then let’s keep dancing let’s break out the booze and have a ball”


Oct 01, 2018

Love your work Titus. I was at the game and nearly had a heart attack. What a classic grand final. There were two winners that day.


Oct 01, 2018

This article was wonderfully written Titus. Well done.


Oct 01, 2018

Loved the strawberry kisses dummy spit

Mr Dog

Oct 01, 2018

Titus this is beautifully written, a glowing testament to our great game. Almost a love letter to the AFL it is glorious! You have been wonderful all year and today you have graciously risen above the seemingly constant nastiness and the petty rivalries to show us how we are all united in our love of this wonderful game. Frankly it is very disappointing. Where is the cynicism and bitterness? I can read Harms or Flanagan if I want some namby pamby how good is football rubbish! We don’t need some sort of Beveridge/Buckleyesque love in here - I don’t want Titus comforting the pies cheer squad when the banner rips, I want Titus putting the boot in. We want Titus still in furious tears a week after Melbourne lost, not gracious in defeat, if you were a real supporter you’d still be knee deep in pizza boxes in your lounge room wearing only your underpants and a stained Max Gawn hoodie! You’ve had a great year but don’t let us down with this uplifting soul stirring the game is greater than all of us guff. Collingwood lost and rightly so, the universe remains in balance, and sure West Coast won but nobody really cares because Perth isn’t even real. And most importantly Richmond proved that the dog’s 2016 flag wasn’t a fluke. Don’t let it happen again. Have a good break you really have earned it.


Oct 01, 2018

Love your work Titus!

Bloke from the Outer

Oct 01, 2018

Is it too soon to suggest that Treloar still can't judge lists?

(After they'd kicked 1-4 in the last quarter, I was ready to launch with the West Choke Eagles but, well, they didn't.)

Relton Roberts

Oct 01, 2018

Really well written piece, Titus.

Expected you to put the boot in but fitting that you didn’t.

Your writing has become a bit of an office fixture this year for us (“is Titus up yet?”). Look forward to reading some more in 2019 and - while I’m a cats fan - hoping the Dees can go a step or two further.

Bloke from the Outer

Oct 01, 2018

Sorry, my comment was for Mr Dog.


Oct 01, 2018

Well said Jon. A great wrap of the GF Titus and thanks for the weekly reviews. I sometimes go straight to my team but wind up back-tracking as the comments reveal highlights I shouldn't have skipped.


Oct 01, 2018

FFS Titus, yeah the Wobblers did actually play pretty well but no sympathy from here.
I was in a house full of them and I had to resort to alcohol to survive. (admittedly I do that anyway)
One of them reckoned it was the worst 'one that got away' and he was at the 1970 GF.
Hey, anyone who feels the slightest bit of sympathy for Eddie Everywhere is an imbecile!
Some good stuff in this one, had to read it a couple of times.
'Not as drunk as the ABC board' was one I picked up second time around. Lol.
Good work this year Titus.


Kafka’s Ghost

Oct 01, 2018

Excellent writing Titus, the perfect closure to the best GF since 2012. Funny, poignant and an ode to a wonderful game. I’m looking forward to next season already, but I’m sure you’ll deliver us some pearls during the Trade Period.


Oct 01, 2018

Do Strawberry Kisses come with a Needle Surprise?


Oct 01, 2018

I’m reading this over a Monday morning petit dejuner in Paris. Footy makes me homesick. But that was a fabulous write up Titus (as usual) an I’m laughing and crying and snorting and the Frenchies will never understand why. À l’anee prochaine et allez les tigres.


Oct 01, 2018

Too funny Mr Dog


Oct 01, 2018

A great game, a wonderful advertisment for the sport and a reminder of why we must have 18-metre goal squares.
Thanks for all the lols Titus. I can't get enough Collingwood UDL jokes.


Oct 01, 2018

With this sort of sensible analysis, you ought to work for 7


Oct 01, 2018

It was that chap Sheed I’d never heard of and he kicked it reverse swing to the right then back to the left with. Buddy like confidence .... it was a kick of historic magnificence . Eddie couldn’t believe nor could 100,022 others and many millions of others but it was textbook perfection.
It gutted and ate the pies, and sent West Coast fans into ecstasy.
Where was the :
That’s what I like about football “ song?

Bombers 2019

Oct 01, 2018

Titus - another good year! Take it easy over summer. We’ve got the cricket on Channel 7 to keep us entertained - I’m not sure how that’s going to work but could be some good material here.

Anyway, looking forward to a top 4 finish next year.

Ian Huitson

Oct 01, 2018

Three years
No Hawthorn in the GF
Withdrawal symptoms are starting to appear
How will I survive Titus?


Oct 01, 2018

Fantastic grand final and a fantastic commentary season from you Titus. We are all taking it one week at a time now. Waiting for the preseason silliness and the best footy ever invented to take over our lives again in 2019. Cheer cheer the red and the white! PS. The Swans beat the premiers twice in 2018 :)


Oct 01, 2018

Wonderful write up, Titus. Been looking forward to reading this all day. You nailed it.

Such a treat to get to watch a grand final of that calibre. It's certainly been a while since a GF lived up to the hype. Disappointing some commentators feel the need to rubbish it. Both clubs should hold their head high. Gallant by the Pies and well-deserved by the Eagles.

I'll miss your weekly write-ups. Bring on season 2019!


Oct 01, 2018

Fantastic grand final and a fantastic commentary season from you Titus. We are all taking it one week at a time now. Waiting for the preseason silliness and the best footy ever invented to take over our lives again in 2019. Cheer cheer the red and the white! PS. The Swans beat the premiers twice in 2018 :)

Your Majesty Brett

Oct 01, 2018

Where do you get your capacity for the most honest and objective assessment of the AFL of anyone in media? Truly, where mate??

Technically your writing is incisive and evocative but still clear.

Sincere apologies for mucking up the flow of these comments but you deserve credit because you are a salmon swimming downstream.

-Fellow salmon

Your Majesty Brett

Oct 01, 2018

The Dockers beat us twice in 2006 :)) and we all know who won THAT season :]]


Oct 01, 2018

For once? Come on, since 2000 we've had '02, '05, '06, '09, '10, '12, '16, and now '18 which were all classics. Even '13 had Freo coming late with a flourish, if only they could kick straight.

Footy is great. Grand final's are special. No matter the result, the week and atmosphere make it amazing. Football's the real winner.

Grania Boyle

Oct 02, 2018

"We all now face that terrible part of the year with no footy, just that awful summer filled with friends and family"......I just spat out my tea


Oct 02, 2018

thanks for the memories Titus - is there a season recap on the way?


Jan 17, 2019

Here it is January 17th and I've just got round to reading your analysis of the Grand Final, Titus. I am prone to hyperbole, but in over 50 years of reading every footy news article I can lay my hands on (well, a couple anyway), I have never read a better one. It captures everything glorious about football and pays due respect to a great grand final played by two admirable sides, brilliantly coached. I loathe the Wet Toast and Eddie Everywhere, but this was something special. The Eagles won their previous premierships with a State team and, later, a fistful of uppers, but this was a genuine win and couldn't be faulted. I look forward to more funny and incisive commentary from you in the coming year. Thanks.

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