Sep 30, 2019


The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Grand Final


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.

Richmond (114) v Greater Western Sydney (25)

Well, they can’t all be classics.

In fact, this one would struggle to fit the criteria of a football game, as the Tigers did a fair impression of a road train collecting a mob of kangaroos; they didn’t even pause to see if there were any survivors (there wasn’t).

Walking into the MCG, I was surprised at the amount of people in Giants gear. They were massively outnumbered but there were enough to be surprising.

Quite a few seemed to be new to the caper with some scarves and beanies still having tags still on them.

I wonder if Giants fans who have supported the club since inception judge these newcomers.

“Well I’ve been supporting the Giants for nine whole years, while you are new to this.”

These newcomers didn’t know it but jumping aboard the Giants just hours before the Grand Final was like buying a last-minute cruise on the Titanic.

The pre-game entertainment kicked off and the performances were somewhat strange. Tones and I didn’t quite make the transition to arena rock, but that hardly mattered as then came Dean Lewis, who managed to make everyone at the ground wish they were somewhere else with his sad songs of heartbreak.

It was a very odd choice for a stadium of people amped up and full of nervous anticipation.

Luckily Paul Kelly came on and brought songs people could sing along too. Still it was all pretty subdued, and when John Williams tried to get the crowd to sing Waltzing Matilda he struggled almost as much as the Giants forward line was about to.

Even Mike Brady’s traditional singing of Up There Cazaly got less of a singalong in the crowd than other years.

By this stage everyone just wanted the game to start, but in perhaps the worst performance of the day, and there were a lot to come, Conrad Sewell decided to mangle the national anthem to the level Richmond were about to do to the Giants.

It was like listening to a year eight talent show but in front of more than 100,000 people. I winced a few times and it made me consider moving to another country.

Advance Australia Fair is a difficult enough song to like at the best of times, but Sewell uncovered new layers of awfulness I didn’t know where there.

Finally the footy started and the excitement of the crowd quickly evaporated as we were treated to a mess of a first quarter in which neither side seemed likely to score and skill errors of the magnitude of Conrad Sewell’s performance were common.

At the 21-minute mark, Jeremy Cameron slotted a goal, allaying our fear this would be a goalless Grand Final, and the Tigers fans around me began to look a bit nervous.

But their nerves, like GWS were about to be blown out of the water. Dustin Martin, beginning his Norm Smith performance marked and kicked a goal, followed quickly by Daniel Rioli as the siren sounded.

They could have stopped the game there because after that it was one-way traffic.

The second quarter saw Richmond crush the soul of the Giants in one of the most brutal things I’ve seen. The Tigers were like Javier Bardem’s character Chigurh in No Country for Old Men. They had no mercy whatsoever, they made Toby Greene’s tough guy antics seem laughable, and Shane Mumford’s pregame threats of damage seemed like the yapping of a chihuahua in the presence of, well, a Tiger.

Even Richmond’s debutant Marlion Pickett showed more poise than most of the Giants.

Heath Shaw kept trying and Tim Taranto can look people in the eye after this game, but they were about it for the resistance.

Upfront, Jack Riewoldt just did what he liked, fed by a steady stream of forward entries, as did Dustin Martin who looked like an AFL player putting on a skills clinic for a bunch of Auskick kids.

By three quarter time it was a 62-point lead to the Tigers and even the most neurotic of Richmond supporters knew this was over, leading to the fourth quarter being a complete celebration.

This wasn’t like 2017. These Tigers supporters had seen a premiership in their life and there was no sense of a drought being broken, and the one sidedness of the game made this strangely anti-climactic for many at the ground.

But the Tiger army didn’t really care. They know winning a premiership is hard, and while when it rains, it sometimes pours, the memory of the drought is not that distant yet.

As I left the ground, I saw a family of Tigers supporters, at least three generations represented, all hugging and cheering, and I thought, ‘this footy thing can be pretty good sometimes.’

Titus is touring around the country in the upcoming months, visiting Hobart and Brisbane. Tickets available here:   

Titus’ new book Please, Gamble Irresponsibly: The rise, fall and rise of sports gambling in Australia will be out on 5th November 2019. You can pre-order it now.



Sep 30, 2019

Your first sentence summed it up nicely Titus.


Sep 30, 2019

How did it compare with the Demon roadkill from the 1988 and 2000 Grand Finals?

Long sad summer

Sep 30, 2019

Nice wrap as usual. Far more entertaining than the actual game was really. Thx for a great season of your weekly updates.
Now we move into the long-dry summer with no sport (at least for people like me who only like AFL).

Dusty's Brownlow

Sep 30, 2019

If I hear one more bitter & twisted Pies, Cats, Bombers, Blues (or whoever...) "supporter" say it was boring, I'm going to spew up! In the words of the great Roger Voudouris - "Get used to it 'cause I'll be around"...

Mad Dog

Sep 30, 2019

How many wins at home for the Tigers this year was that? 19 by the look of it.

On the bandwagon

Sep 30, 2019

You wondered if the nine-year long supporters of GWS judge the newbies. They’re probably just thankful to have someone else sitting in the same block as them. I wonder if the new-Giants fans kept the price tags on so they could return the caps to the AFL store? “You only get store credit suckers! This is the AFL!”
I also wonder if the long-term Tiger fans judge the band wagoners? 😄😄
I guess membership numbers don’t lie.

Sir Bodes

Sep 30, 2019

Good strategy for new giants fans.. Leave the tags on so they can get their money back.

Beau of Beaumaris

Sep 30, 2019

I am so glad that it was not just me who thought that the rendition, if that is an appropriate term for it, of Advance Australia Fair was nauseatingly awful.
Then again, wasn’t rendition a term used by the CIA somehow in the context of waterboarding? So maybe rendition was exactly the right term to describe this form of torture.

Keith Martine

Sep 30, 2019

Thank you Titus for another wonderfully entertaining season of comments. Would you be interested in planning future pre-game and game breaks entertainment? Actually, I would rather the football stood alone.


Sep 30, 2019

There is a strange historical parallel between the awfulness of the GF anthem performance and the quality of the match . . .


Sep 30, 2019

A lot of the Orange in the crowd were not GWS supporters, the bloke behind me was in a Hi-Vis work jacket, he put a Toby green badge on it to look like he knew a little but listening to him little was all he knew about football.


Sep 30, 2019

MAD DOG SEP 30, 2019
I reckon the AFL should play every game involving Richmond at the G; at least we'll guarantee a crowd each time and it will be a great warm up for us each year.

p.s. Collingwood had two more home and away games at the G and Melbourne had the same number as Richmond (12) and it didn't really helped either team.


Sep 30, 2019

Was that first pre-game act called Tones? I thought it was Meatloaf's daughter.


Sep 30, 2019

About as engaging as the Cats 2007 violation of the Power.

Dusty is an all time great and the Pickett story was a joy to behold.

When does preseason start?

Australias Got No Talent

Sep 30, 2019

Its been confirmed that Brad Sewell was running psyops for GWS to induce depression in Tigers fans and players, certainly worked for those of us watching at home, had me reaching for the razorblades anyway - his horrendous rendition of the national anthem is now being evaluated by Spud Dutton as possible grounds for a charge of treason.
Meatloaf can now hold his head high as he is only the second worst entertainment to be foisted on the GF crowd at the MCG in living memory, word has it he's chuffed to the extent he has already submitted a remix demo tape of "Up There Cazaly", in duet with his cat for next year's gig.
Disappointed to see that Toby Greene managed to avoid being rubbed out for the first few games of 2020 for a bit of eye gouging, ear biting, buttcracking or something but apparently his old man held up the Greene end with a court appearance in connection for some shenanigans with police in the bathrooms...
Full credit to Dusty for a huge performance, though I was pissed at losing $30 on Bachar Houli for the Norm Smith though, thought he might get it as I reckon he was ripped off in 2017 when it was "just give all the awards to Dusty" year.
Thanks Titus, looking fwd to preseason and your insights.


Sep 30, 2019

Thanks for another great year of AFL laughs, Titus.

I'm glad the AFL finally had an all-Australian lineup for the entertainment. Yes, more up-tempo, singalong songs were needed, and not the time to debut your new release. Paul Kelly, Vika & Linda, and (best live guitarist) Ashley Naylor "gave a clinic" to the others, so they say...

Such a disappointing game, hopefully the Giants will learn a lot from their first time playing a GF, and next time they will be better matched.

See you at your show in Brisbane!

WA Bogan

Sep 30, 2019

Can someone please explain how Bruce Macavaney gets on the NS voting panel? He'd already given Dusty 3 votes before the game (which he deserved)? Imagine if Cyril Rioli and Dusty were in the same final? Bruce would faint part way through...

Bruce M

Sep 30, 2019

If only the Cats hadn't caught the bus home at three quarter time in Prelim - fancy being gifted the Giants in a GF

Wake Me Up When It's Over

Sep 30, 2019

Thanks for the review Titus. Only a blind turn away from being the most interesting thing to happen.


Sep 30, 2019

Difference between this thumping and that of 2007 is that there’s nothing to suggest the Tigers are performance enhanced. The Cats of 2007 on the other hand were coached by a bloke who really knew how to get the very best performance out of, or should I say Into every player.

The Punter

Sep 30, 2019

Well I for one loved the game through the YellownBlack glasses. Premierships are so hard to come by. I saw 1980 as a kid and really couldn't believe 2017. This year was sweet.

Mac Hawk

Sep 30, 2019

Tiges were awesome while the GWS star was shot when their song was over - Love the song .
Bachar's performance proved once again that Muslims get all the blame and miss out on the accolades.
Ok Dusty was bloody good but his shout out to his Dad at the after game interview should rightly have been followed by a 'stuff you Dutton ' line.


Sep 30, 2019

Thanks for a wonderful year Titus!
You’ve done us a fair service indeed with your withering commentary and heart rendering display of a Melbourne supporter. Note the use of singular rather than plural as surely, surely, absolutely there cannot be more than one brave soul prepared to commit emotional Hari Kari each week backing the dees? Such a steadfast chap. And only a light drinker, too. This sport business makes being a fan difficult work.
And here’s me thinking that the anthem was alright......sure I’ve been suffering from fatigue and a weird cold since the Eagles couldn’t pass Geelong or water but I’ve been excessively self-medicating with Chardonnay and lots of medicine and I was wearing headphones trying to beat the game generated bots in squads on Call Of Duty so wasn’t really fully attentive to any anthems. Particularly ones where the vast majority of us hum the second verse and probably 98.7% of us aren’t aware that there is now a word change in that second stanza.
This is how medicated I have been......I watched the good wife watching Andre Reiu (?....sic) which was set in his hometown of Maastricht in the Netherlands and that city/state (?) has its own anthem and, by crikey, the belted out 4 verses in fine style. WA is licensed only for a flower, tree and bird and who knows how long we would argue over the correct tunage to a state anthem? Maybe we could put it on the same referendum as daylight shopping hours so we would never end up with that either?
Anyhow, my very long winded point being why don’t we fly in the crowd from Maastricht to do the Australian anthem? They can really belt out an anthem with panache AND they could all bring their orange gear from home. Even the crowd colours up a bit? Just suggesting.....
Anyhow a lovely day for Richmond and hopefully for GWS a day that will burn down into their psyche. However I do think that they should have put the green screens up at halftime and shot GWS and returned the betting funds. After a couple of great finals this was a catastrophe of a game that only ensures that we continue with that old finals chestnut that the preliminaries are far greater than the Grands.
Thanks again for a terrific year and currently saving up my Gatorade money for your new tome.
Viva 2020!!!

Doggy Dancer

Sep 30, 2019

Yeah... what he said. Thanks Titus.

Dal Ailama

Oct 01, 2019

At some point in the future there'll probably a performer at the Grand final who'll announce: "They say in your career you can only play the AFL Grand Final twice - once on the way up and once on the way down. It's great to be back!"

Mad Dog

Oct 01, 2019


Send any team from Melbourne to Perth Stadium and be guaranteed 50,000+. Any team. $$$ solved.

And since home ground advantage is a myth, I propose these fixtures for West Coast in 2020:

17 at Perth Stadium
3 at the MCG
1 in Alice Springs
1 at Adelaide Oval.

Good money for the AFL and West Coast.

Richmond and Collingwood can keep their non-existent home ground advantage too. "Compromise is the heart of the deal"


Oct 01, 2019

I was wondering when Mad Dog would stick his sorry head up again. Still bleating about the MCG, quite pathetic really. Go and play in the WAFL if you want to navel gaze and by the way send that flag you won in 2018 by default back as it's just been confirmed it really was Richmond's.

Pete from Perth

Oct 01, 2019

In reply to Beau's question "Then again, wasn’t rendition a term used by the CIA somehow in the context of waterboarding?"

Extraordinary rendition is the act of kidnapping a suspect and taking them from one country to another, instead of using normal extradition processes. The torture may start during or after the rendition, depending on the kidnapper's mood. Sums up the grand final quite well I suppose.


Oct 03, 2019

Send any team from Perth to play Richmond and be guaranteed 50,000+. All 2 teams. $$$ not solved.

And when you get 10 teams you too can have 12 (yes 12) home games. Oh you already have 12 home games on a ground with exactly the same dimensions as the G.

So go out and get those other 8 teams or go back to the WAFL I guess and enjoy your home ground advantage.

p.s. I don't like the 40 year deal. I'd be ashamed of your CEO for letting it happen.

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