May 31, 2021


The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Eleven


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.


Western Bulldogs (59) v Melbourne (87)

Usually, the city of Melbourne is flying, and the Melbourne Football Club is a basket case.

Now they’ve swapped. Melbourne the city is again in lockdown, an event that has resulted in me hearing the word ‘triggered’ more than I care to.

Luckily for me, the Melbourne Football Club continued their rather extraordinary season, defeating a Bulldogs side that was seen as another premiership favourite.

The Dees came out firing, with Bailey Dale and Tom Liberatore slotting into the Melbourne forward line perfectly, helping set up several goals for the Dees early.

Every time the Dogs tried to switch, which they did well past the point it seemed sensible, they pinpointed a Melbourne forward.

Down the other end, the Dogs best key forward was Jake Lever, their midfield kept hitting him time and time again with a delivery most key forwards only dream about.

Dogs fans at home were left wondering why you would keep kicking the ball to your opponents, but the same thought obviously never occur to their players on the ground.

The win is a huge response for Melbourne after the loss to Adelaide, but now they face Brisbane, perhaps an even greater test.

If only the city of Melbourne was travelling this well.


Collingwood (51) v Geelong (61)

The torturous conditions of lockdown are hard to explain to those that have never experienced them, but I’ll try; watching this game was the best option I had on Saturday.

This was a game so ugly, not even its parents could love it.

The first half saw Collingwood go goalless, as they once again showed that kicking goals is not really their thing.

Their impotence was triggering for me.

While things were dire for the Pies, the Cats didn’t look that much better, seemingly climbing down to the level of their opponents. It was a long climb down.

The Pies did start to rally in the second half but taking much out of it would be false hope, they were running at full speed and Geelong was strolling, and the Cats still never looked like winning.

By the time the game ended, I was pouring salt into my eyes to make them feel better.

Brisbane (129) v Greater Western Sydney (65)

Brisbane’s season is very much on.

The Giants have been in good form, but the Lions just destroyed them, with an intensity on the level of myself when I stumble across a plate of those Peking duck pancakes.

Just thinking about those pancakes makes me want to order some. I could eat a hundred, and that sauce! Delicious.

Anyway, I should review this game, but duck pancakes are more interesting, as the Lions mauled the Giants like they were a tourist who didn’t listen to the instructions not to get out of the car while in the Safari Park.

The only thing that made this watchable was the skill of the Lions, who looked like they were just showing off for long parts of the game.

Brisbane must now be close to premiership favourites. They’ve even got some of their best players out, yet they didn’t even look troubled.

As has been the case so often over the years, a Melbourne-Brisbane game will tell us a lot about the premiership race.

St Kilda (88) v North Melbourne (68)

Yes, I watched this game too, and as someone already feeling flat about this latest lockdown, it was a bad move.

St Kilda fans would have been hoping for a response after losing by 111 points to the Bulldogs, and they got one, not a positive response, but a response nonetheless.

Sure, they won, but that’s only because this was against North, a team who has only stop falling because they’ve hit the rock bottom.

St Kilda still looked terrible, it was only the fact that whenever they stuffed up, North made sure to stuff up more.

Numerous times while watching this I found myself letting out an involuntary scream.

North isn’t just on the bottom of the ladder; they’ve started to decorate 18th place to make it truly their own.

Gold Coast (113) v Hawthorn (76)

The only threat to North winning the wooden spoon is Hawthorn’s campaign.

The Hawks are so far off their usual high standards, they look like they’re playing a different sport entirely, and whatever that sport is, they don’t play it well.

Gold Coast haven’t been setting the world on fire recently, but against the Hawks they looked like a real footy team.

Izak Rankine and Ben King flourished playing a team that sees the basics of footy as stretch targets.

Not that we should get too excited by the Suns, beating Hawthorn is like showering, the only times you can’t do it is when you can’t be bothered.

West Coast (71) v Essendon (87)

Well, you can’t accuse West Coast of being flat-track bullies.

On a flat track and up by 29 points in the second quarter, the Eagles had everything go wrong.

Tim Kelly and Oscar Allen both went off injured and given Kelly has basically been the Eagles’ midfield this season, this caused a few problems.

Essendon, who mix brilliance with averageness, managed to get their averageness out of the way early and back end their brilliance for the second half.

And in that second half, they really were brilliant, hassling West Coast everywhere, with Darcy Parish running riot, supported strongly by Zach Merrett and Andrew McGrath.

Adding to the Eagles fans pain, Jake Stringer was key to the victory, running amok in the second half, a sight no opposition fan wants to see. The only thing worse than Stringer destroying your team is his tattoos.

It was a truly momentous victory for the Bombers, while for West Coast, they’ve now got more questions marks than wins.


Richmond (111) v Adelaide (83)

Jack Graham’s kick sailed into the forward fifty towards a quickly forming pack.

Of all the players likely to contest the mark, Jack Riewoldt seemed the most unlikely.

For starters he was far off where the ball was going to land, and even worse, facing the wrong way.

As he approached the pack at full speed, unable to see the ball due to it being behind him, Riewoldt leaped, with no thought for his own safety.

“That young man is going to hurt himself,” I exclaimed out loud.

As he hit the rising pack, they lifted him up, a seething mass of rapidly ascending humanity.

As they hung in the air, Riewoldt managed to turn his body, suddenly he was facing the incoming kick.

All this seemed to defy the known laws of physics, but there he was, hanging at the front of the oncoming pack of players.

Then, he actually marked it, the ball hitting his chest and his arms grasping it tighter than a baby boomer holding on to their franking credits.

And he kept holding it, as the pack's momentum, approaching from the other direction to him drove him forward and into the dirt.

“What a mark,” I yelled, duck pancake spilling from my mouth.

Some say the greatest sights are in the Louvre, some say they are in nature, others argue in the celestial sphere above our heads. But I know the greatest sight humanity has ever witnessed, occurred on Sunday at Giants Stadium.

And that’s why the Tigers won.

Sydney (100) v Carlton (78)

You must admire the Blues commitment to not being good.

For more than twenty years, Carlton have been more consistent than any team, constantly losing winnable game, or as they’re often termed ‘honourable losses.’

But there’s nothing honourable about the way Carlton time and again make their fans sit through this sort of nonsense.

The Swans only led by three points at three-quarter time, but we all knew what was coming, and it unfolded exactly as you’d expect.

Carlton’s defence is built for three quarters, which is bad in a four-quarter game.

That’s not good, especially when your own side can only manufacture three goals after halftime.  

Swans fans will be excited by Isaac Heeney’s performance, he was everywhere, and his constant ability to menace the Blues defence opened up more opportunities for Buddy Franklin and Tom Papley.

In the end, though, the Swans strategy seemed to be waiting for Carlton to curate another win, and like a Japanese train, that’s something you can always rely on.

Port Adelaide (115) v Fremantle (69)

In footy, it’s much better to kick the ball between the two big sticks rather than between a big and little one. That seems obvious, but it’s worth restating. 

Only once this season have Fremantle kicked more goals than points, suggesting they don’t know this.

Port do know this. They booted seven goals to zero in the opening quarter, a quarter in which Fremantle kicked seven behinds.

Fremantle did keep trying all game, but they just didn’t have the skill to match Port, who in a display of maturity, didn’t use the prison bar jumper and claim it was their indigenous one.

Port’s Ollie Wines and Travis Boak just did what they liked in the middle, and up forward Port scored pretty easily.

The only problem for Port is they didn’t put Freo away by a lot more, it certainly seemed like they would earlier on.

But in football, not losing is the key, if you do that often enough, you’ll go far.

You can help support me in producing this ridiculous nonsense I churn out on a regular basis. Find out more here:



Dallas McCraw

May 31, 2021

I'm starting to think Hawthorn took a bye for the entire season myself. Not to mention the emails coming out of the club... I think they're taking next year off too? Jeff emailed they'll start to see results in 2023...


May 31, 2021

Hey Titus,

I usually love your stuff but the crack about Port’s jersey is a bit on the nose. Am I missing something from over here in the UK?

The Ho Brothers (Brayden, Brody and Brock)

May 31, 2021

We think there are a few bandwagons to jump on and off this season. So far the Bulldogs, the Demons and the Lions.


May 31, 2021

Thanks very much. I wasn't triggered until I read this.


May 31, 2021

Yep, that Reiwoldt mark was good but did you see that chest mark by De Goey? Should be enough to get him the mark of the round.


May 31, 2021

I'm enjoying watching Melbourne's season knowing how much joy it must be bringing to you Titus. Now to see how you go against my Lions this weekend (always a blockbuster as you noted in a much better way!)


May 31, 2021

Agree re Jack's MOTY. A ripper when I saw it live and, like the very best marks, only gets better with replays.

Many thanks for the MKJR post. Always good to get a Monday laugh in Hookturnistan!


May 31, 2021

I agree with Jimmy’s comment. That port jumper comment was very poor form, more racist than it was funny.

Wait, what? Dees?

May 31, 2021

Rexy and Jimmy, it wasn't racist, it was a crack at what happened with Port's Indigenous jumper being a design stolen from an Indigenous artist by a school kid who submitted the design as their own. Hence the joke about them using an unoriginal design (in this case the prison bar jumper) and claiming it as their Indigenous jumper. It was a classic call back joke covering two recent Port jumper issues, it's just that you guys didn't get it.

Paddington Bear

May 31, 2021

Rexy - much as I don't like to explain the joke, I suggest you look at the definition of the word "indigenous". It was a clever and satirical take on the controversy by labelling the prison bars as indigenous to the club. Leaping to racism accusations is pretty low - a little benefit of the doubt wouldn't go astray.


May 31, 2021

“As has been the case so often over the years, a Melbourne-Brisbane game will tell us a lot about the premiership race” Wow, didn’t need a sarcasm font for that,

Fashion Doggie Alberton

May 31, 2021

Fremantle did keep trying all game, but they just didn’t have the skill to match Port, who in a display of maturity, didn’t use the prison bar jumper and claim it was their indigenous one.

C'mon Rexy & Jimmy, 'in a display of maturity' - it was a compliment!


May 31, 2021

During lockdown last year the Saints were great. All clubs were closed so the only option was training, so this week I expected big things. My theory is blown!

The g train

May 31, 2021

Reckon Jack’s mark was equal to Nick’s. N Riewoldt’s mark was just complete plain crazy stupidity. And fairly skilful. J Riewoldt’s was True Sublime Art—not seen since William Blake. With a fair amount of stupid courage thrown in. Is it possible to have two GOAT marks?

Fat Side

May 31, 2021

Great work again Titus, though laughing out loud at home on my own is not nearly as much fun as chuckling out loud in a quiet office.
In further jumper related intrigue, methinks perhaps the decline of the Hawks might be connected to the disappearance of their glorious pearly-white and gold away strip over the past couple of years?

Daniel B

May 31, 2021

To all those getting triggered by the Port guernsey comment, I'm pretty sure Titus was just alluding to the Power's recent play of using any excuse to use the prison bar jumper - nothing more, nothing less.

Stewy from Newy

May 31, 2021

Titus is strangely awkward when talking about high levels of competence, especially in relation to the Dees (understandable). But the sheer beauty, the art of the words written to describe North and Hawthorn....genius. That's his wheelhouse.

Running Dog

May 31, 2021

I bet duck pancakes aren't as flat as what I feel after reading Titus's description of the Doggies game plan. I haven't seen anything as depressing since the elephant sat on the lion tamer.

Across the Face

May 31, 2021


But if they had to lose like that, better to do so against a strong team than one of this season's crap teams.


May 31, 2021

Nick’s mark was better, but gee, it was close.


May 31, 2021

Great work again big fella. I don't know about the IQ level of the blokes with the racist calls but you gotta put up with it I suppose. With North hitting rock bottom the thing is now they are starting to DIG. Now with the DEES this is a different team so let go of some of the past fears and ENJOY the ride. GO DEES

saint peter

May 31, 2021

Don't like seeing what appears to be negative comments about the St.Kilda team. I think we need to stick with positive comments. Surely you could have said the Saints dominated the "premiership" qtr to set up the victory. The fact we decided that will do for the day, lets get back to the club's disco at Moorabbin is beside the point. You can't underestimate the growth potential of celebrating a win no matter how ordinary the game was & how weak the opposition were. Go Saints. Reminding me of the great days in the 1980's.

Tarax Club

May 31, 2021

Entertained as usual Titus. The Monday Knee-Jerk Reaction is now where I go to for to get all the AFL wash up. Interestingly you seemed to inadvertently hit a PC tendon and a reflex action resulted. Personally I prefer to engage my synapses. Would love to see a Grand New Flag before I’m weaving baskets.

Darren J Ray

May 31, 2021

Brilliant as always, Titus, including the running joke about duck pancake!

John Dale

May 31, 2021

Excellent as always, just a shame some can’t keep up. I guess it shows you’re ahead of the curve?


May 31, 2021

So Titus, when will you be confident enough with Melbourne's form to restart the Unhelpful Guide? We know you're just trying to avoid tipping them...

The Wastrel

May 31, 2021

Given Carlton are only playing for three quarters, should they consider changing sports to ice hockey?

There are pros and cons. But the main sticking point is that Carlton are likely to start fights between themselves.

Tony B

Jun 01, 2021

As a Carlton tragic, I don't know how to get off the G Train which I think is full speed to Werribee. The level of Board mismanagement is astounding, focused on reducing the and ignoring on field action while reducing member packs at the same time. I would drop Carlton if i wasn't so tragic.


Jun 02, 2021

Possibly your best column this season, Titus. Numerous laugh out loud moments.

I can see how the prison bar comment was taken the wrong way but I didn't take it that way and I thought Titus just didn't advert to the less savoury interpretation.