Sep 19, 2022


The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Preliminary Finals


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.


Geelong (120) v Brisbane (40)

This was less a game of footy, and more a chance for Cats fans to get together and have a chat while their team practised some light circle work.

The only nerves for Cats fans came from the fact they’d lost four of their past five Prelims, but there was no chance of that happening here.

Patrick Dangerfield took the opportunity to remind people he hadn’t retired, gathering 28 disposals and kicking two goals, assisted by the Lions applying less pressure than a feather duster.

The Cats are a different side this season; Tyson Stengle’s three goals were a clear sign that they now have far more options than in previous years.

This was Geelong’s 15th consecutive victory, a winning streak that stretched back to May 14th, meaning their last loss was back when Scott Morrison was Prime Minister and most of the Cabinet.

After running all over the Demons last week, it was the Lions that got run over this week.

Brisbane was the platonic ideal of a team that had played their Grand Final last week.

They failed to keep pace, with Joe Daniher, Eric Hipwood and Dan McStay not making it to the ground until the second half.

Joe Daniher could at least hold his head high, finishing Geelong’s best defender after Tom Stewart.

There weren’t many other Lions who could hold their heads high. Lachie Neale finished with a team-best 20 possessions, while everyone’s favourite opposition player, Dayne Zorko, only got the ball 11 times, but he looked angry while doing so.

For Brisbane, it was a bitter end to a season that looked to be in trouble but was rescued by a good finals campaign before whatever this was happened to them.

You could say this shows how far the Lions are off the pace, and you should to Lions supporters; it will annoy them no end.

This result leaves many Victorians with a difficult decision, support a team from Sydney, or a team with Joel Selwood, Patrick Dangerfield and Tom Hawkins in it.


Sydney (95) v Collingwood (94)

Collingwood’s year of living dangerously has come to an end in what was a classic Preliminary Final.

There was a moment in this game when it seemed the only highlight was going to be Brayden Maynard wiping oil off Buddy Franklin's arms, making me question things I’ve never questioned before.

Collingwood were in the game in the first half but couldn’t stop the Swans from strolling forward and scoring with a regularity so alarming it had Pies supporters running to the boundary to voice their displeasure.

I’m not sure why the Pies didn’t want to defend, but it turned out to be a tactical mistake.

The result was that early in the second half, the Swans led by 36 points and the Pies looked done. But this is Collingwood, who make the T-1000 look a bit lazy.

Desperate to turn things around, Craig McRae figured out a way to get Mason Cox off the ground, and suddenly the Pies were surging more than Uber.

Sydney seemed less enamoured with the Pies newfound intensity, and they tensed up worse than I do in a social situation.

As the minutes ticked by, the Swans supporters sensed the danger; what had gone from a lovely stroll in the park had changed into being chased down an alley by members of the Collingwood Football Club.

Then came a key moment that divided opinion, Tom Papley appeared to push Darcy Moore in the back before taking the mark and kicking a vital goal.

For Pies supporters, it seemed another hometown call from the umpires and cost them a place in the Grand Final.

Papley himself says it was a fair mark, and he disposed of Moore legally.

I get the angst; this could have cost the Pies a chance to lose to Geelong in a Grand Final, and while losing to the Swans by a solitary point in a Prelim was great, a Grand Final loss would have been good to watch too.

I did think the Swans got some handy calls, but they also completely outplayed the Pies for large parts of the game and finished higher on the ladder, which is why a home-field advantage is such a big deal.

Personally, just for the record, I thought it was a push in the back, but looking for consistency in umpiring is like looking for informed debate on Twitter; you’re setting yourself up for a lot of disappointment.

Plus, I think the 36-point lead the Pies let the Swans get out to probably had more to do with this result.

Pies supporters complaining about the umpires are like a uni student complaining the internet is down when they didn’t start their essay the night before it was due.

In the end, the Pies had an amazing season and got more out of themselves than any other team, while Sydney held on to secure the greatest honour, a chance to see Robbie Williams perform.

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Tom Papley

Sep 19, 2022

Yeah - it was a push.


Sep 19, 2022

Nah, it was good "forward craft".


Sep 19, 2022

I seem to have a good situation next Saturday - as I'm working that night, I'll miss the first half because I should be sleeping, and I'll miss the second half because I clock on at 5 and expect to be busy right away. Win and win 🏆


Sep 19, 2022

I will continue to barrack for ABG. Go The Bloods!

Impartial crow

Sep 19, 2022

Amazing how often the one late decision is blamed for a lose . Pies 5 goal down at half time despite leading the free count by 4 . Staged a brilliant late comeback to just fall short . Again still leading the frees by 5 . So as i watched the game as a neutral observer, i noticed a number of poor calls/ non calls for both teams. Also noticed a number of costly skill errors/ poor decisions from both teams which could have changed the coarse of the game. Disappointing that the focus is so heavy on one call by an umpire .


Sep 19, 2022

Robbie Williams. I'd almost forgotten. FFS.....

I'm sure he only got the gig because the tatts make him look somewhat like a modern AFL player..

Running Dog

Sep 19, 2022

"Pies supporters complaining about the umpires are like a uni student complaining the internet is down when they didn’t start their essay until the night before it was due."

When I was at uni there was no internet from which we could cut and paste the content of an essay. We had to generate ideas, and then write them down manually. Surely, if the internet is down, most Collingwood supporters would have a box of crayons somewhere?

Here's an example of an 'idea' for Collingwood: All the world's conspiracy theories, and particularly those involving the umpires when the margin of a match is small and the result goes against your team and insults the very gods themselves, are just a hoax. You're welcome.


Sep 19, 2022

The important thing is Collingwood lost. I understand many would like to see them lose in the actual Granny, but imagine how bad this week would have been in the lead up?

Marianne Foster

Sep 19, 2022

I'm not sure what Brisbane thought they were doing on Friday night but they certainly made the Demons look bad for having lost to them the week before


Sep 19, 2022

Let's get the ARC involved in these decisions so as to really stuff the game up - in the end it would have been "Umpire's
Call". Oh, that's right it was! Geelong v Richmond would have been a better game than what Brisbane dished up! and I'm not all bitter and twisted, much!!

Norman Roy

Sep 19, 2022

Craig McCrae said it perfectly, move forward don’t dwell

The g train

Sep 19, 2022

Titus on Friday’s unhelpful guide: “I’m tipping the Swans, but this one is going to be close”. And some say Titus can’t tip.

“Collingwood’s year of living dangerously has come to an end in what was a classic Preliminary Final”. Yes, the problem with living dangerously is that it’s dangerous way to live. And yes, a classic final. Some are calling it the most intense high pressure sporting contest of all time. Especially those last 5 minutes.

For those with extraordinary memories will know that the last team to defeat Geelong was Saint Kilda. Let that sink in.

Pedantic Pete

Sep 19, 2022

Typo, Titus?

"I’m not sure why the Swans didn’t want to defend, but it turned out to be a tactical mistake."

Erm, I think in the context, you mean the Pies, not the Swans


Sep 19, 2022

I am just grateful that the boys rarely conceded a single point when on the pies goal line. Gawd that would have made such a difference.

So, Titus, you were saying about defending???

Saint Peter

Sep 19, 2022

As usual losers always want to blame the umpires. However, those same barrackers magically forgive their players when they stuff up. Inaccurate kicking once again cost the game. 10 points that could have easily been goals & then it would have been an easy win. But no we want to win by the whistle or die by the whistle & keep the scores close at the end. There have been plenty of instances where players have done what Papley did & the umpires have allowed it. So Hawkins should have a field day next weekend.


Sep 19, 2022

Footy wise, I can't think of anything better than the Pies losing a Prelim by a point.

Fat Side

Sep 19, 2022

I love the way we bag the umpires all year for not properly adjudicating what has happened right in front of their eyes, yet we consider the Brownlow medal, adjudged by these same umpires, as legitimate recognition of talent and performance. Give me the club best and fairest any day as an indicator of who consistently played their role for the team.

Rising Son

Sep 19, 2022

Norman—yes, I think the whole AFL (and sporting world) learnt from Adelaide’s 2017 GF loss that dwelling on a single loss, even for a fairly significant game, is not a great idea.


Sep 19, 2022

"Scott Morrison was Prime Minister and most of the Cabinet."

I believe the official protocol is for a capital M, hence:

"Scott Morrison was Prime Minister and Most of the Cabinet.

Denis hornsby

Sep 19, 2022

I love this stuff. Let's forget the umpiring until the last 2 minutes. Have a look at the footage from the ruck stoppage in the last minute. Chad Warner is tackled without the ball and taken out of the play by Ginnevan. Play on said the man.

Full Moon Over Nunawading

Sep 19, 2022


Rejoice that Sydney made it in!
(The Swans were yang, the Magpies yin.)
Now the media will be invested in
Declaring how Geelong *must* win.

Yet Sydney will triumph, despite their din.

Con Cushion

Sep 19, 2022

Turn it up Titus ... Pat, Tom & Joely are easy enough to like. Larry, Moe & Curly the same. Funny too!! Con

Hayden Kelly

Sep 19, 2022

As an unbiased supporter of neither club I thought the umpiring on Saturday was inconsistent . To focus on one incident is a cop out but that happens every week . If any of the three who umpired on Saturday get a gig in the Grand Final the AFL clearly don't subscribe to you are only as good as your last game .
Dogs supporter but I am very much with the Blood Stained Angels this week . After seeing 220 wrap around paper features on the Queen I couldn't face Geelong wrap arounds regurgitating Dangerfield Sellwood Hawkins etc stories .
Go the Bloods


Sep 19, 2022

I raise you one. Ball knocked out of Buddy's hands after he controlled it - should have been a mark close to goal. Mihochek fumbles/drops the ball, paid a mark and goals.
Great game.

You've had a great year, Titus (as a writer). Thanks.

Glen of the North

Sep 19, 2022

Watching the classic match on Saturday night, while Collingwood is focussing on an alleged push in the back by Paps, it can't be disputed that Collingwood players then tried to re-enact the final moments of King Charles I by decapitation. But hey, you can't let the truth get in the way of a Collingwood alternative fact!?

bloke from the outer

Sep 19, 2022

'... but looking for consistency in umpiring is like looking for informed debate on Twitter'

or informed debate in this comments section!


Sep 19, 2022

The Pies had a great year and won admirers from all over, including many former haters. A few ill-disciplined acts, nervous errors and so on cost them the game, but South were obviously lucky. Their luck may run out next Saturday. I'd rather my team go out in the closest possible way in a Prelim, having had a great set of finals, than sneak into the Grannie by the proverbial bee's equipment and then get eviscerated. South's colours may prove to be quite apt.

The Pies are clearly slightly off the pace, but surely good things lie ahead. When they come about, we will make Peter's and all the haters' lives a living hell, as you well know, so start making your travel plans/applications for asylum now.

Finally: haters, the 1920s were a long time ago. Get over it, eh?

Jim Jane

Sep 19, 2022

I enjoy your columns and consider this to be the best of the season - I laughed out loud several times when reading silently by myself - which was also fun
Looking forward to your response to the GF


Sep 19, 2022

Hi Titus,
love your work and I love the scrutiny the umpires get when games are close. The AFL is to blame by making the rules into interpretations. Nothing is black and white (sorry pies supporters way to soon). Moaning about umpiring, especially the hands in the back rule, is idiocy. The AFL don’t care. 6 6 6 rules and free stats to full backs is far more important to them. Next thing they’ll do is ban 1 on 1 contests! Get used to it all you diehards, the league is reverse evolving. Simple is now difficult. Imagine if you were an umpire!

Daniel B

Sep 19, 2022


Who are South?

-Sydney Swans supporter

Daniel F.

Sep 19, 2022

How old are you Daniel B? Twelve? The Sydney Swans have SMFC on the back of their jumpers. Can you guess what those letters might possibly stand for ? Another question for you - Can you guess why Brisbane jumpers have FFC on the back?

Hayden Kelly

Sep 19, 2022

MG you are on the money the Buddy non mark followed by the Mihocek 'mark ' was one of the many inconsistent decisions I had in mind .


Sep 19, 2022

I thought Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles did a great job umpiring the Swans Pirs game.


Sep 19, 2022

@Pedantic Pete not a typo more your brain fade. Titus said pies not swans so not sure what you are on about.


Sep 19, 2022

@Pedantic Pete not a typo more your brain fade. Titus said pies not swans so not sure what you are on about.


Sep 19, 2022

As well as the Buddy/Mihocek marks, 2 of the last 3 Collingwood goals involved chains of possession with very obvious "one -handed" passes. Neither were called and both lead to goals.

Let's hope that the umpires don't get as carried away by the romance of the narrative as they did in the 2016 GF.
They didn't even have the modesty to square up the FK ledger close to the end.

and which team has FKF on the back of their shirts? + why?

Simon Uwland

Sep 19, 2022

Having some faith in the intellectuals that comment on Titus’ posts, can someone tell what the hell happened in the first few minutes when Collingwood defender Murphy was catapulted at a rate of knots into the back of the pack (leaving him super dazed)?

Go Doggies

Sep 19, 2022

I agree that Dayne Zorko is everyone's favorite opposition player. I mean after the abuse he reportedly received from the Mennonite players which was more prolong and more personal than whatever he retaliated with, yet he was made out to be the bad guy, well after all of that you have to feel for him, don't you Titus?


Sep 19, 2022

Daniel B

Why are you being obtuse? I'm a Sydney-based Swans fan and very proud of our South Melbourne roots, history and fellow supporters. Our club is the same one that featured South heroes like Skilton, Pratt and Bedford in years gone by before we had Kelly, Goodes and Joey.


Stay retired Bruce McAvaney

Sep 19, 2022

What's better than beating the pies by 10 goals ? Beating them by a point .... but not in the Prelim.

No, In the Granny ... Replay .. with a kick after the siren ... which was originally adjudicated as a point ... but overturned to a goal on score review.

Mac Hawk

Sep 19, 2022

1. It was a blatant push in the back and the 'responsible' maggot should be punished by having to wander around Collingwood at 1am naked.
2. Geelong may not get more free kicks than other teams but how come they get all theirs within the forward 50? And how come Geelong players never get called for holding/dropping the ball? Ever!!!

Macca RB

Sep 19, 2022

Hate the result.
I wanted all of the Melbourne teams eliminated this weekend.
Blaming the local umpires, and home ground advantage, is a bit rich from the Collywobble fans - the umpires came from Melbourne, although they could have been supplied by South Melbourne.
Go Catters - and belt South Melbourne, this weekend.

Myk Aussie

Sep 20, 2022

Great season for Magpies and I don't like them. But it took a Sth Australian guy the coach to get them from 17th into Prelim Final. So good to see them run run un attack not like too many of the older/existing coaches playing boring defensive/ possession at all costs crap, sideways backwards kicking that has made AFL not as good to watch past 10 yrs. Good on AFL bringing in 6 6 6 and the stand rule!!!!!!!! Wonder if Clarkson will adjust his coaching style I think he'll have to and Ross Lyon, na get a another young coach a job at Bombers, other clubs in future!!!


Sep 23, 2022

When Collingwood lose, everyone wins!