Mar 23, 2020


The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round One


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 (105) v Carlton (81)

The great, and sadly, very recently late, Kenny Rogers once said, ‘You've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, and know when to run.’

Well the AFL tried to hold ‘em, but it became clear late Sunday that it was time to fold the season, at least for now.

It’s a devastating outcome. No footy is really going to highlight the desolate wasteland that is the rest of my life.

I grudgingly acknowledge that placing human life above football is the right thing to do, but this does leave me wondering what to do.

Because while I know people say there's more important things than football, deep down, I don't really believe them.

Now it’s time for us to all ‘socially isolate’.

I feel overly qualified to do this. My personality has always acted like a natural moat that kept people at a distance, and my looks are like a mighty rampart, just gazing on them puts second thoughts in the mind of anyone considering striking up a conversation. 

Puns are now closed which is the worst. The Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said you can’t have all your mates around to ‘get on the beers’. Well checkmate Daniel, I have no mates.

At least we got one week in of footy.

It was both ‘surreal’ and ‘unprecedented’ to watch without fans in the stands, as the commentators kept reminding us.

Capturing what everyone was feeling was a bridge too far for the commentators, but then, calling the footy is usually a task beyond them.

Being unable to go to the footy was a deep cut we all had to experience but having Cameron Ling add his ‘special’ comments, was like squeezing lemon juice into that cut. 

Carlton started the game by crushing their fans hope early, then giving them one of those ‘honourable losses’ the Blues faithful have come to love so much.

There was bad news with Matthew Kreuzer fracturing his foot, meaning he’ll be out for 16 weeks, which is now looking like round four.

As for the reigning premiers, they honoured the 'working from home' mentality we are all embracing. They worked about thirty percent of the time and only when they absolutely had to.

Western Bulldogs (34) v Collingwood (86)

The Bulldogs on the other hand didn't get the memo that you're meant to work at home.

They turned on a performance that would have the Doggies fans glad of the shutdown.

The Bulldogs’ structure was so shambolic that it made a Scott Morrison media briefing seem slick and well organised.

The Pies looked really, really good. Given what we're already going through, a very good Collingwood side seems excessively cruel.

We’ve all wondered at times what we’d prefer, a Collingwood Premiership or a pandemic, but we never thought we’d get a real-life test of this. And yes, I had voted for the pandemic in the past but now I’m not as sure.

Essendon (63) v Fremantle (57)

Essendon started fast because Fremantle aren’t very good, then Fremantle came back because Essendon aren’t very good, and Nat Fyfe got a nasty black eye.

That’s basically all you need to know; we’ve learnt that life’s too short to spend much time focusing on an Essendon-Fremantle game.

Adelaide (71) v Sydney (74)

Hardly the only team in this boat, but there are some clubs you just knew were going to let their fans down, and the Crows found some classic ways to send their fans away feeling flat.

In Rory Sloane’s 200th game, the Crows were outworked, before rallying, and giving their fans flase hope, before Tex Walker missed a shot a goal with 20 seconds to go.

A big part of the Crows problem was they seemed to think centre clearances was an optional component of the game.

Time and again, the Swans walked the ball out of the centre square with the Crows reacting with less urgency than a backpacker on Bondi Beach.

The Swans also dominated up forward with Isaac Heeney booting four goals and making the Crows defenders look second rate all day.

Watching him run around made me really realise how much I’m going to miss the footy.

Gold Coast (29) v Port Adelaide (76)

On the positive side, not having to watch the Suns play is a sweet relief. I bet the AFL would love the hundreds of millions of dollars they’ve poured into them and the Giants back right now.

Still the AFL have planned a lot better for a rainy day than the NRL, who set up a ‘sustainability fund’ in 2014, but then got rid of it three years later when the clubs demanded they give the money to them.

Of course, the clubs then spent that money like drunken sailors on shore leave; meaning the clubs are now all broke and the NRL is in a precarious position.

It’s why the NRL are so desperate to keep going and the AFL is more able to face up to the reality of the situation. The AFL at least owns an asset, Marvel Stadium, the NRL has no assets.

Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V'landys said they were looking at moving the entire NRL to a Central Queensland mining town to keep playing games.

Some 500 NRL players and officials would live in a vacant mining town in Calliope, near Gladstone.

It’s the greatest movie plot I’ve ever heard.

I would give anything for this to occur.

Greater Western Sydney (105) v Geelong (73)

Federal and various State Legislation requires me to make a joke here about the Giants being used to play in front of no crowds.

I’m also meant to make a joke about how some teams did a good job of social spacing by not going near their opponents.

Probably those hardest hit in the AFL by the shutdown are the teams that have a chance of winning the Premiership this year. Teams like the Giants, Richmond, West Coast, Melbourne.

And the Giants did look good.

The Cats looked similar to how they’ve looked in recent seasons, a car that looks fast but turns out to have very little under the bonnet.

North Melbourne (56) v St Kilda (54)

It was exciting to watch which of these teams could disappoint their fans more and while North displayed some true shinboner spirit trying to disappoint their fans, you can’t beat the Saints when it comes to this.

St Kilda have generations of experience when it comes to ruining their fans lives.

The Saints were up by 31 points in the third quarter and the Roos had just one player left on the bench.

‘Well it’s impossible for St Kilda to lose from here’, I foolishly exclaimed at the TV.

But St Kilda said ‘Sure it’s possible, we’ll show you.’

And they did.

They just basically lay down on the ground and closed their eyes. It was like a mindfulness exercise.

For fans of teams like St Kilda, Melbourne and Fremantle, their mental health may actually be improved by this pandemic.

Hawthorn (90) v Brisbane (62)

In what was easily worst halftime entertainment ever, Gillon McLachlan announced during this game that the league was shutting down, annoyingly after the West Coast-Melbourne game and not before.

The AFL always knew this season was going to be shut down at some point, and many were surprised they even got round one in the books.

It’s easy to focus on the football trying to go on and failing, but they’re just a high-profile example of the numerous industries, businesses and individuals everywhere that are in real trouble.

We’re all just trying to get through this, balancing the very real health risks with the very real economic impacts of the Coronavirus.

A big problem for many is the health risks are out there somewhere, but currently not quite real, while the economic risks are very much here with us immediately.

The human pain of this pandemic can’t just be measured in deaths, it’s impact on people livelihoods is something that can’t be ignored, and football is just one of the areas we can all see.

I worry about all the people who will die for this, but I worry just as much about all the people who worked so hard to build up a business or a career, made all the sacrifices and might come out of this which much of this gone.

I’m not scared to say this, I’m not a fan of this coronavirus at all.

West Coast (78) v Melbourne (51)

As if football hasn't been cruel enough to me over the decades, this is the last game I'm going to see in months.

Melbourne were obviously overawed by the intimidating empty seats at Perth Stadium. 

Knowing footy was off for the foreseeable future, I felt incredibly flat, and then I had to sit through this.

I only took heart from the fact that being a Demons supporter, I have been training all my life for disappointment and misery.

I’m ready for this pandemic. I’m built for it psychologically. Being miserable if my resting state. Discovering the next few months are going to suck is something I’ve been through and know I can handle.

It means my heart goes out to Hawthorn supporters. They are like submarines in the middle of the desert, completely out of their environment.

I’m not sure they’ll make it.

What we really need is something to occupy our time over the next few months.

My suggestion is the AFL should immediately announce Free Agency will start this week. This will give us plenty of material to speculate on and basically keep the sports media alive.

Hang in there friends, we will come out the other side but it’s going to be rougher than a Mark Neeld media conference.

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

It would be really helpful at the moment given I have no income and I’m keen to do things like eat. Find out more here:


Fat Side

Mar 23, 2020

"Puns are now closed" - there goes 90% of my dad jokes, so probably a great relief to my kids, who are now stuck at home with me full-time.


Mar 23, 2020

What to do?
Titus, how about some of your deeply philosophical and humorous thoughts on footie history? I grew up following Footscray in the days of Ted Whitten. I was a kid and I didn't know anything about why some players were really, really good and why some teams were hopeless. I just knew we won or we lost - didn't know why.


Mar 23, 2020

Great work keep it up

John Nicholls

Mar 23, 2020

Every pandemic brings opportunities...
1) relocate the Suns to Tasmania while no one is paying attention
2) break the news to Tex Walker... "Big fella, once you showed promise, but for a long time now you have been crap, so we are trading you ASAP, even if we can't get a trade, you won't be playing for us anymore"
3) Coaches of Dogs, Demons, Crows, Cats, Port... you will all swap clubs, sort it out amongst yourselves, be good to go at your new club when the season recommences or by next year whichever comes first

Kevin Wear

Mar 23, 2020

First time I have LOL in while. Awesome job. Cheers and thank you.


Mar 23, 2020

All your Christmases could come at once Titus. Literally. We could have a Christmas Day grand final!


Mar 23, 2020

“For fans of teams like St Kilda, Melbourne and Fremantle, their mental health may actually be improved by this pandemic“. What a line. Amazing

Julieanne Bonnici

Mar 23, 2020

Don't know what I'll miss most, Titus' brilliant observations or the actual footy, love ya work big guy.

Demon to the death

Mar 23, 2020

I suppose we can watch reruns of last season's matches to help us get through this year but why did the Dees think we'd want to start yesterday? - do hard work and win ball, bomb it long into forward line for no result, opposition rebounds with ease and scores goal, press repeat. Aaaargh!

Damien B

Mar 23, 2020

“Checkmate Daniel” 😂😂😂😂


Mar 23, 2020

One of your funniest reviews - I'm going to miss these every week. Hopefully we will hear from you every now and then.


Mar 23, 2020

I like how you snuck Melbourne in as one of the teams that had a chance of winning the premiership this year.


Mar 23, 2020

Let’s look at the fixture and re run a previous game (just don’t let on the year) and mix the years up. Replay the game, then things might feel normal for those who are broken hearted about the pause of play. You could bet on the year featured and remember, you are saving lives whilst watching reruns!


Mar 23, 2020

Did Port play? No mention here. Someone said they're top. Hand the trophy over now AFL.


Mar 23, 2020

Knowing that the season would finish before the ball was bounced made the conjecture and bickering difficult amongst us due to the distance.... was the season cancelled, suspended or something weird like whoever finishes on top of the ladder after Round 1 are the premiers.
Because when I started watching (on time warp delayed recording) the mood was “be nice to Melbourne because last year they and Titus never recovered from the walloping they got.... then I started to do the calculations and how the hell did Port get that percentage?
I was telepathically telling the newly calibrated Rolls Royce Midfield and Ruck Division to go easy and make the margin only 30 points when word came back The Statistics Division that we needed to treble the Melbourne score.....
And there endeth my emotional involvement with 2020.
Pity as it was going to be a real ball-burster of a year. I even got spinal surgery done in December so as to improve the quality of the 2020 season and life generally’s like a Harry Styles love ballad to the AFL and the 2020 Season in particular:
“It kills me as I realise that we’ve run out of things to say...I’m falling....what if I’m someone that I don’t want around? What am I now? You said you cared and you said you missed me too....”
The pathos and the poignancy of Willie lighting up a year too early, the tragedy of the Ben Cousins mockumentary being the only football show of the empty year and GWS having another year to stew over being rolled in 2019.....
On another note....: everybody who can dig into the pockets and buy a year of Titus so as to help support what gave us twice weekly chuckles and mirth then pls do so..... we want him to be able to return to his craft post-covid rather than being stuck in the loop cleaning toilets on a mine site for 190k a year.....
And will await your next return from however our sojourn maybe.... thanks Titus.

Keith Martine

Mar 23, 2020

Wonderful Titus!, Especially the car that looks fast but has nothing under the bonnet......oh the slash and crack of your whip!


Mar 23, 2020

Mad Monday has arrived early.


Mar 23, 2020

The Duckworth-Lewis system has been applied to the Round One-and-only results, and the Suns have been named premiers for 2020.

Matt smith

Mar 23, 2020

Love your workbook mate. You always get a smile and a laugh out of me, so please don’t stop.

Justin Karcher

Mar 23, 2020

Hi Titus,
Why dont you start the same column but for the NRL? An endless stream of material...

Damien Barnett

Mar 23, 2020

You keep me laughing in this shithouse time. All the best


Mar 23, 2020

Apparently the NRL in dire straits. Considering making an offer to administer it, with enough rule changes it will be 1980s VFL in no time...

Paul Dalby

Mar 23, 2020

I look forward every season to your comments almost as much as the footy itself. I have just bought one of your books, hope your other fans can do the same to help you through this crazy time. Hang in there titus we need you. Paul d


Mar 23, 2020

The way you always put down, humiliate, shame, belittle and embarrass Freo is what I love most about you!
Can't wait for round two's write up
Eagles fan.

Hot potato

Mar 24, 2020

Be good to get your running commentary on how you are going on the various dating sites ?


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