Apr 26, 2021


The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Six


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.


Greater Western Sydney (65) v Western Bulldogs (104)

Winning is really fun, but winning without injuries is better, and the Bulldogs managed to cop three in this game.

Josh Dunkley dislocated his shoulder, Tim English got a head knock and Lin Jong did his hamstring, which is not ideal.

Still, a win over the Giants is always worth celebrating for Bulldogs fans, who hate them like I hate listening to people tell me their dreams.

The Bulldogs midfield dominated the Giants with Jack Macrae grabbing a lazy 40 possessions and a goal and freebie Adam Treloar getting 35 possessions and a goal.

The game never got as spiteful as some of their earlier clashes, but as always, model citizen Toby Greene proved troublesome with four goals and his traditional scuffle with Marcus Bontempelli.

Bontempelli must look forward to seeing Greene with the enthusiasm normally reserved for extended family.

Despite the injuries, Bulldogs fans must be pretty excited about this whole ‘never losing’ thing.


Geelong (136) v West Coast (39)

West Coast’s team looks good on paper and is about as strong as paper on the field.

There is no good explanation why a side with so many good players got absolutely torched by a side that had looked rather ordinary until this week.

Geelong’s 13 consecutive goals after quarter time had Cats fans wondering where this had been all year.

There’s no doubt the debut of Jeremy Cameron made a big difference, he ‘straightened up’ their structure. At least I overheard someone at the pub say that and it sounded insightful.

But as good as Geelong were, the real heroes were West Coast’s players who seemed intent on helping the Cats play to their very best.

Across the field, Eagles players urged their opponents on, letting them get the ball with ease, not pressuring them and making sure they had lots of space to lead or run into. It was really nice of them.

West Coast players were so keen to see Geelong do well they even let Mitch Duncan kick four goals.

For Geelong, it suggests there’s still life in the proud club, but for West Coast there will be more soul searching than when Bruce Wayne was trapped in Bane’s underground prison.

The only difference is I was positive Bruce Wayne would eventually climb out.

Gold Coast (100) v Sydney (60)

The sleepy Swans were swept aside with relative ease by a Gold Coast team that lived up to its much-vaunted talent.

Sydney showed none of the energy that marked their start to the season, looking as energetic as someone recovering from a huge night out.

The Suns though showed their top draft picks are as advertised. Ben King kicked five goals and reminded me of a Joe Daniher who can kick straight.

Second pick overall in the 2019 draft Noah Anderson had 34 disposals and he looked like a player in his prime, not a twenty-year-old.

Add to that Ben Ainsworth’s 20 touches and three goals and Izak Rankine 18 possessions and two goals and Suns fans can see the future.

It’s a display the Suns needed after they looked like falling back into the bad habits that has marred their entire existence.

For the Swans, it’s a reminder that staying consistent in this league is harder than staying friends with someone who doesn’t like sport.

Carlton (85) v Brisbane (103)

When Liam Stocker attempted a pass from the back pocket, only to spray it off the side of his boot and through the big sticks for a rushed behind, he gave every Blues fan a visual representation of the past two decades.

Despite the Lions being routed by injuries, you can always rely on the Blues to do just enough to not win.

There are good players at the Blues, Cripps is obviously a star, Sam Walsh is a gun and Harry McKay booted six, against no less than Harris Andrews.

But they don’t perform as a team. There are too many players who seem to think their job is waiting for others to do theirs.

Brisbane will be happy with the win, but injuries soured the victory and Lachie Neale will come under review for touching an umpire.

It was a pretty innocuous incident; Neale was bleeding and was drawing attention to the fact and questioning how he got it.

Common sense would suggest he should just get a warning, meaning he’ll probably get rubbed out for the season by the AFL Tribunal.

Melbourne (82) v Richmond (48)

Something strange is happening at Melbourne. The one iron law of the Demons for many decades is no matter what, they will eventually stuff things up.

But that’s not happening this year, and while it’s early, and who knows where it will end up, for the first time in my life, I feel this team will write their own script, free from the ghosts of the past.

This just feels new. The opening barrage from Richmond was the sort that would see previous Demons teams wilt and give up six or so goals.

But this team didn’t.

When they were falling behind early, individuals would normally try to do flashy things to try and get the team back into it.

But they didn’t, they just worked hard as a team, sticking to what has worked for them this year.

The Tigers had moments of skill, but Melbourne didn’t let them play like they wanted to.

I’ve never seen a Demons side just control a game so much, just preventing their opponents from doing what they wanted by outworking them across the field.

A big reason was Melbourne’s defence which is stingier than that one friend everyone has when it’s their turn in a shout.

Nathan Jones, in his 300th game, deserved nothing less than this result, and for Dees fans, well aware things don’t always go to plan, at least feel the future now has multiple options, not just the dead ends of the past.

Fremantle (99) v North Melbourne (48)

Watching this game without any fans is a stark reminder that our slow vaccine rollout has real consequences. Football is being affected.

It’s another reminder that footy isn’t as fun without the fans, and my thoughts with everyone in Perth; lockdowns, to use a technical turn, suck.

For North, this season was already hard enough, and now they have to quarantine at home and face uncertainty about their game in Tasmania.

The Kangaroos showed a lot of effort, but they lack the skill and the organisation to win at the top level.

This is now their worst start in 49 years. David Noble may need another 49 years to turn things around.

For Fremantle fans, aside from having to worry about the lockdown, the only major issue was Nat Fyfe was once again inaccurate in front of goal, kicking 0.4.

Fyfe famously went out after the Hawthorn game, when he kicked 0.6, and did goalkicking practice, where he did slot them with ease.

He later admitted he downed a “couple frothies” before that session, further evidence for my theory that all AFL players should play drunk.


Hawthorn (102) v Adelaide (99)

Being up by 32 points in the third quarter is usually a position you can make work for you.

For the Crows, it was just a platform to antagonise their fans once again.

Still, there’s no shame in letting Jacob Koschitzke kick five on you.

At least the Crows fans got to see Riley Thilthorpe kick five as well, so there’s some hope for the future.

But the way Hawthorn rallied back, and the Crows inability to take their chances in the fourth quarter will sting.

As will picking an injured player as their injury sub. It’s called an injury sub because the person is there to replace someone injured, not because the sub is injured. An awkward misunderstanding of the rules by the Crows.

This was Hawthorn’s first win since round one, when they came from 39 points down to beat Essendon.

Perhaps that should be Hawthorn’s new strategy, rest in the first half, let their opponent lull themselves into a false sense of security, then storm home.

Collingwood (85) v Essendon (109)

Losing the ANZAC Day clash is another thing the Collingwood board can tick of their highly successful ‘Frustrate our own fans’ strategy.

As so often is the case, the Pies tried but are simply not good enough to kick a winning score regularly.

Collingwood now sits 17th on the ladder and have to be thankful North Melbourne exist.

The Pies backline will have nightmares about Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, who destroyed them with five goals and intense pressure all game.

The real stand out for Essendon though was Darcy Parish who used the MCG as his own personal canvas to paint a true work of art.

His 42 disposals, nine clearances, two goals and nine score involvements were a thing of beauty, a pinnacle of the craft.

Even against Collingwood, it was very impressive.

Port Adelaide (93) v St Kilda (39)

Injuries, a lack of ability and an intense shortage of effort have turned the Saints season into a normal Saints season.

There’s not much to review here, there was a really good side and there was St Kilda.

At no point did the Power look anything but in control, it more seemed they were just deciding whether to put in enough effort to win or to really, really win.

For long stretches of the game, I forgot the Saints even had a forward fifty.

Port are travelling along very nicely, perfectly positioned for this point of the season and flying under the radar for the majority of the slightly Melbourne-centric footy media.

Nothing was sadder than talking to a Saints supporter this morning who said of the season, ‘unfortunately, I’m built for this nonsense.’

You can help support me in producing this ridiculous nonsense I churn out on a regular basis. Find out more here: https://titusoreily.com/support-titus



Ken Cooper

Apr 26, 2021

Was Saturday night’s performance the “I was there when it really started” moment for Dees supporters? Being able to advise the Renters to go back to Punt Road was a highlight!

Stephen Cochrane

Apr 26, 2021

As a Tigers supporter frustrated but credit where it is due to Melbourne.
I sent your article on Nathan Jones to a friend of mine who has known him from being a young kid,.She attests to him being a all round nice guy.
Be good this week that we will be the underdogs,Maurice Rioli jnr May turn up.
Keep up the dryness

Peter Collins

Apr 26, 2021

As a Saints supporter, I got on line last night and booked an interstate trip for September, confident in missing nothing. I wish I was joking. I wish that I wasn't built for this nonsense.

Simon Cox

Apr 26, 2021

That's the thrill with the Saints isn't it: how will they let us down this time?
Add my English soccer team losing 0-4 at home and the weekend was complete.


Apr 26, 2021

Where did you bump into Titus this morning Jonathan?


Apr 26, 2021

Weagles comment “West Coast’s team looks good on paper and is about as strong as paper on the field.” is an accurate description especially away from Optus Stadium Showed no heart against the aging Cats at the Cattery though truth be known have not won there since 2006 when Benny C. And Daniel K. Inspired a come from behind win probably the greatest win down there ever for the Coasters Ah Memories

Westie Aggro?

Apr 26, 2021

"Still, a win over the Giants is always worth celebrating for Bulldogs fans, who hate them like I hate listening to people tell me their dreams." Is this some sort of bizarre Western Melbourne vs Western Sydney thing? They have so much in common as multicultural communities teeming with migrants they should unite against the rest of Australia not be squabbling with each other.

Lockdown Lachy

Apr 26, 2021

Love your work this weekend!
They shouldn't fine or suspend Neale for anything. He was bleeding like a poached Lion in the African savanna and the Ump hadn't even called the blood rule but was about to play on! Neale should get a free COVID vaccine for protecting the other players, rather than a fine!
Interesting point about Port deciding to win or really, really win. That was the difference watching Fremantle play. They played to win and not to really, really win. That's going to make all the difference for that young side as the season goes on. When your captain can't slot through a goal and your team kicks more behinds than goals every week - even watching the highlights reel must be excruciating for their supporters. Top 8 now but staring down at death by a thousand cuts is going to hurt.

Stew MacPherson

Apr 26, 2021

Melbourne’s 6 wins 0 losses may have a bigger impact on Mount Hotham than Covid 19

Beware of Shattered Hopes

Apr 26, 2021

Titus, another commentator, talking of Melbourne's string of wins said: "hope attaches itself to an unbeaten record like a fly clings to dung".

Consider yourself warned about unreasonable expectations, as a Bluebagger I've already gone off that cliff this season!


Apr 26, 2021

As a Hawks supporter, it certainly seems like the plan is to let the opposition dominate a 15 minute period to tire themselves out. We’ve done it every match. The issue against Melbourne is we let them do it in the last quarter. So there wasn’t enough time to use the superior fitness to reel that gap in.

Clarkson being the super coach worked that out after one match, so this time we let the other team do it early enough that we could over take them.

I wonder if our coaching panel have perhaps thought that maybe just stopping the other guys kicking 8-10 goals in a row might be a good tactic too.

Oh well, we will see


Apr 26, 2021

The Carlton/Brisbane game was terrific to watch. Spoiled by the inane commentary of Eddie Maguire. If I wasn't so old, I would complete a PhD dissertation on his inanities. It took the rest of the weekend to work out what the problem is. He thinks he is calling the game on radio.
Is there a Change.org petition to remove Maguire from commentary?


Apr 26, 2021

'...freebie Adam Treloar...

He's either a 33% freebie, a 67% freebie or a 150% freebie (maths geeks will understand)


Apr 26, 2021

With Europe off this winter the MCC will be packed.


Apr 26, 2021

'At no point did the Power look anything but in control, it more seemed they were just deciding whether to put in enough effort to win or to really, really win.'

Titus, review Richmond's last 4 seasons and they rarely ever really, really won. Those sorts of victories are for teams who like to get their players in front of the ball. It invariably comes unstuck when you meet stiff competition. Port has probably learnt the lesson that you just stick to processes and structures. That's what Dimma is forever boringly talking about.


Apr 26, 2021

'Being able to advise the Renters to go back to Punt Road was a highlight!'

As Kane Cornes suggested, you haven't won anything yet so don't get ahead of yourselves.

p.s. The renters are the ones that fill 'your' joint (you know the one paid for the public). But the born to rule think that they made the MCG stands from their subs (I truly met a MCC member who thought this - grimly stupid).


Apr 26, 2021

Almost more Dees scarves than hyphenated names on the Sandringham train this morning.

Stewy from Newy

Apr 26, 2021

Love it! The comments rival the article for LOLs this week, well done team. PS my boys have the concrete shoes on after a flying start (guess who)


Apr 26, 2021

Good on the Dee-feats for starting to come good. Who knew a decade of top #10 draft picks and elite talent with some development coaching could lead to this? As a Richmond supporter, no team stays at the top, and I reckon if this is the start of a slide, then so be it. Three premierships is an incredible feat, and the memories will last forever on Kayo (please).


Apr 26, 2021

To that bloke from the outer whinannoys me profoundly. Maybe the Tiges could do with a few demons to bolster their best 22? And Titus I dreamt last night...................❤️💙


Apr 26, 2021

Just here for the salty Tiger supporters/MCG renters.

Also Titus, this is the best start since the Curse of Norm Smith was born, and I'm scared again now.


Apr 26, 2021

Also, the absolute best thing about Saturday night was being able to sit in the Demon Army/cheer squad area without the Richmond flog squad parking themselves behind us to just abuse people.

Best side-effect of COVID restrictions at the 'G, ever.


Apr 26, 2021

A bit harsh on Liam Stocker.
A lot of perceived pressure and the tightest of angles and split the big sticks!

The Crowboy

Apr 26, 2021

As a Crows supporter, I'm convinced we only exist to play crap teams back into form.... Last 3 weeks: Norf (who nearly beat us), Freo, Hawthorn. If Gold Coast hadn't lost Witts we'd probably have lost to them too. I mean I knew we weren't gonna play finals this year, but geez Crowies - give me something!! Nicks & co in the Coaches Box showed no initiative or imagination in that last Q, plus that whole Tom Lynch debacle...

(Ready to play GWS back into form this coming Saturday....)

Snag Cleaver

Apr 26, 2021

Given the amount of ketamine Cousins and Kerr went through in the Naughtiest it’s a wonder someone didn’t put them in a horse suit and enter them in the Perth Cup.

The g train

Apr 26, 2021

The major points we learnt from round 6:

Fat Side

Apr 26, 2021

At the end of Saturday night's game at the 'G my girlfriend turned to me and said "I wonder if Titus will still be funny if the Dees stay up around the top of the ladder?" Maybe you got your Footy Tragic show out just in time before the Red and Blue tide turned ( loved the show, by the way ).
I didn't like seeing the Tiges get belted, but I reckon I was watching the real deal, not a bunch of fickle pretenders, and couldn't help wish the Melbourne supporters all the best for ( hopefully ) the start of a new era.


Apr 26, 2021

Titus and Peter, perhaps it’s not so much that for STK supporters “we’re built for this nonsense”, but that STK has built us (from the ground up) to tolerate this nonsense.


Apr 26, 2021

Watched an U14s game on the weekend where one team got rolled by a lot to zip. Didn't need to watch the St. Kilda game after that. Although I suspect the kids put in more effort...


Apr 27, 2021

Someone forgot to tell the Swans that their holiday on the Gold Coast included a football game.

... read that somewhere yesterday


Apr 28, 2021

6zip❤️💙 (in clash strip) is somewhat like Alice (Christian Petracca), unexpectedly descending the wormhole to an alternate AFL universe. A wonderland where whatever challenge arises is considered and dealt with emphatically. So does that make Richmond like the Queen of Hearts and her court? Having a heightened sense of superiority and perpetual entitlement. And after receiving Alice and companions so haughtily and unable to deal with the disappointment of having the banquet tables turned? Well guessing that makes Jack the Mad Hatter, he appears very early, makes the footy talk nonsensically, scores soccer goal of the year but soon disappears over the hill.

Ashley Walsh

May 01, 2021

“Perhaps that should be Hawthorn’s new strategy, rest in the first half, let their opponent lull themselves into a false sense of security, then storm home.“
Ominous words as I’m watching the closing minutes of the first half of the saints vs....