Jul 08, 2019


The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Sixteen


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.

Hawthorn (67) v Collingwood (63)

The joy of the Magpies losing was slightly offset by the fact Hawthorn won, but all things considered, it was worth it.

Something seems to be not quite right at Collingwood. Perhaps Jaidyn Stephenson’s suspension has rocked the group, but they were struggling before that. 

Personally, I believe that with Mercury going Station Retrograde in Leo, the signs aren’t good for the Pies. Buckley has never handled Mercury retrograde well, being a Leo with the linked element of fire, Buckley is aware of the universe being the biggest and best partner but like all Leos he dislikes almost every change.

The Collingwood board were negligent not checking Buckley’s horoscope charts when organising the transition.

The difference between the Pies’ current form and earlier in the year, was they were winning games like this.

Hawthorn themselves weren’t amazing, but like so much of life, they showed the benefit of just hanging around. 

Some weird umpire decisions, Collingwood imploding and there’s your four points. 

Just being around is such a low bar to jump in life but so few people do it.

Essendon (76) v Sydney (66)

Speaking of hanging around, Essendon has been loitering outside the eight like me trying to get into an exclusive nightclub. You’d think they’d go away given everyone knows that even if they get in, they won’t be impressing anyone once inside.

Still, Essendon fans won’t care, there’s a chance, a chance the Swans don’t have.

It was a great result in a week when there was speculation Orazio Fantasia was interested in returning home to South Australia. Everyone was instantly suspicious, people usually leave South Australia, not return to it.

The rumour was shut down as completely false, meaning one of two things, either the media was lying, or the club was. The media were quick to point out that clubs and players had lied about these things before. 

The problem is, it’s equally plausible either of them would lying. What I’m sure of is that at some point in time, Fantasia will either leave Essendon or won’t. I’m not saying he will but he could. See, I’m a news breaker too.

Weirdly, the Swans managed to dominate almost every statistic except the scoreboard, reaffirming my view that the score is an underrated stat in football.

Gold Coast (58) v Richmond (150)

For large parts of this game the Gold Coast crowd were barely paying any attention, in this respect they were simply following the lead of their players.

It’s hard to convey in words how bad the Suns were. Often, their players weren’t watching their opponent, or the ball, and tackling was a foreign concept to the entire side. They were an embarrassment to anyone who has ever pulled on a football boot in anger.

Actually, that wasn’t that hard to convey in words. 

Calling them the Suns is ironic, given they don’t have a single star in the team.

Richmond were, of course, very good. I think. 

It’s hard to say. Like playing FIFA on a much lower setting, it’s fun but hard to take much out of it. 

At half time the Tigers were over 100 points, so you could argue they took their foot off the pedal. I hope Hardwick gives them a stern talking to.

Adelaide (44) v Port Adelaide (101)

Which Adelaide based club was going to disappoint their fans this week? It was the Crows! I totally had Port in the sweep.

It makes sense I suppose, as Port were labelled unreliable and you can’t be unreliable if you always fail, Bernard Tomic is very reliable. 

You have to impress sometimes, so everyone starts to believe in you, then you let them down. Our political system is based on this model.

The Power certainly enjoyed having Tom Rockliff back but considering that was offset by Travis Boak being out, I like to think most of this was the Crows fault.

Crows board member Mark Ricciuto said during the game “The Crows fans are walking out and so they should.” 

It’s that never say die attitude the Crows brought to this game.

Such was the performance of Adelaide, that Collective Mind would do well to offer this game as evidence that last year wasn’t all their fault.

Western Bulldogs (71) v Geelong (55)

There were memories of Footscray’s victory over the 20-0 Bombers in Round 21, 2000 at the then-named Colonial Stadium in this one.

It wasn’t as big but defeating top of the ladder Geelong and in the way they did was huge. Bulldogs fans certainly celebrated in a way they haven’t since the 2016 Premiership.

What the Bulldogs did was not give the Cats anything. Geelong looked to be on song early, but as the Doggies kept refusing to go away, they seem to increasingly go out of tune.

It didn’t hurt the Bulldogs that Aaron Naughton was marking everything kicked in his general direction, finishing with four goals.

It was also very enjoyable to watch. There was I, alone on a Saturday night, thinking I’d have to watch Geelong destroy the Dogs. But instead, I got an entertaining game with a surprising outcome.

Sure, it didn’t take the loneliness away and when it was over, I was still sitting at home on a Saturday night. Luckily the Derby was still on and Fremantle are always a fun watch. 

Fremantle (31) v West Coast (122)

In pouring rain, Dockers supporters were forced to sit through this, and worse of all, they’d paid to do so.

Imagine sitting in the rain while your team kicked 2.19. Yes, you read that right. Fremantle booted two goals and 19 behinds. 

It’s like a reverse masterpiece. Surely a team of professional footballers, who after all, train for this sort of thing as a full-time job can’t have done this if not on purpose?

It’s truly astounding. I’m still marvelling over it. I mean, you could save a lot of money if you wanted to hire people who can’t kick goals. Just pick people from the crowd.

I feel for Dockers fans, ever since Fremantle entered the league, they’ve managed to pull off a very passable impression of my team the Melbourne Football Club.

Recent weeks have been particularly harsh, losing to Melbourne, Carlton and then being thumped by your cross-town rivals is the footy gods way of not just testing you but being rather mean in the process.

At least Dockers fans can comfort themselves with the fact that Ross Lyon’s rebuild is still full steam ahead.

For the Eagles, all of this was great, Nic Naitanui returned and looked good, they beat their rivals by 91-points, and they’re now 2ndon the ladder.

That’s a nice little weekend.

Carlton (100) v Melbourne (105)

There was not a lot of winners in this. Carlton didn’t win, football certainly lost, and Melbourne, while technically getting four points, didn’t really win.

Carlton probably came the closest to winning, they had Patrick Cripps, Harry McKay and Charlie Curnow all missing and still almost won. 

If they managed to learn how to start games, they’d be unstoppable. 

The game itself was a glorified game of kick to kick, as both teams turned the ball over with such regularity they might as well have all been wearing the same jumpers.

Melbourne dominated for large parts of this game and had a 38-point lead in the third quarter and still managed to give up their lead.

Now to be fair, Melbourne had lost Marty Hore after he suffered a broken collarbone, Tom McDonald, who’d booted six until he went off after hurting his knee and Harry Petty who was on the bench with a concussion.

Add to this Max Gawn was an out before the game. 

Still, it’s hard not to think there were plenty of times Melbourne could have finished the job early only to not convert their opportunities.

When a Mitch Hannan kick from beyond 60m bounced all the way to an unguarded goal square, only to stop dead, millimetres from goal, every Melbourne fan saw it as a metaphor for our cursed existence.

Luckily, Jayden Hunt can kick straight, or this might have been it for me. 

Well, not really, I’ve sunk too much into this to pull out now. Yes, I know it’s the sunk cost fallacy. That’s Melbourne’s business model.

The Melbourne Football Club undermines every economist who has ever advocated Rational choice theory as a way of modelling society.

As for Carlton, Teague certainly has them fighting. The Blues could certainly do worse for a coach and have, frequently.

North Melbourne (112) v St Kilda (73)

A seven-goal to one opening quarter to the Kangaroos had me wondering if Alan Richardson wouldn’t see out the game, let alone the season.

Perhaps the best moment, was when Cam Zurhaar, who finished with five, booted a goal, only to then kick another immediately after because Jake Carlisle abused the umpire who awarded a free kick against him. You can always rely on Jake.

The Saints certainly lifted after quarter time, with Josh Bruce almost single-handedly rescuing Richardson for at least this week with six goals.

But the alarming part was the lack of intensity early and then the terrible skills after that. St Kilda’s big problem is they just seem to be going nowhere. There not even going nowhere fast, they are going nowhere in a meandering, drifting fashion.

Where they’re drifting to next is Geelong, not exactly an ideal place to try to bounce back.

North now sit tenth on the ladder and Rhyce Shaw, like a co-pilot grabbing the controls after the pilot fell asleep, has them out of their steep decline.

If Longmire says no to North, Shaw should negotiate hard, after all, he knows they’re willing to spend big on a coach and there’s that vacancy at St Kilda coming up.

Greater Western Sydney (74) v Brisbane (94)

These Brisbane chaps seem to be reasonably good. Chris Fagan doesn’t get mentioned that much but surely, he’s been coach of the year.

Winning at the Gabba regularly is still a novel thing for Lions fans, but now they go and get a huge scalp on the road and do it in style.

Lachie Neale played his 150thand showed that not playing at Fremantle is a lot of fun. 

Add in Hugh McCluggage, Harris Andrews, Lincoln McCarthy, Charlie Cameron, Dayne Zorko… I don’t really have a point here; I’m just getting a thrill out of being able to name Lions players, something I couldn’t do twelve months ago.

The Giants are like an Italian car, stylish, lots of ability but they just aren’t reliable. 

They did struggle with injuries to Josh Kelly (calf) and Stephen Coniglio (knee), but these happened after they’d already been dominated early on. 

The Giants need to do better than their club motto, ‘At least we’re not Gold Coast’.

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

You can help support me in producing this ridiculous nonsense I churn out on a regular basis. I aim to keep as much of my stuff on this site and available to everyone and not behind paywalls. Find out more here: https://titusoreily.com/support-titus


Andrew Taylor

Jul 08, 2019

Our political system is modelled on not knowing what to do nor how to do it, treating everybody with contempt and getting re-elected for it. A little like the Carlton Presidency.

Flank Rroyd Wlight

Jul 08, 2019

FRE 2.19 (31).

It's like what I said when the Bulldogs kicked 2.14 (26) against ADE in Rd 9 last year: Aim for a metre to the left of the left behind post and/or a metre to the right of the right behind post. Then you'll kick goals.


Jul 08, 2019

Four teams scored more than 100 points, in a single round? Could the 6-6-6 rule see the highest scoring season of all time?

Mad Dog

Jul 08, 2019

Yep. They kicked 2.19.

It pissed down in the second quarter so Freo could have used that excuse to explain kicking 0 goals, except that the Eagles kicked 8.


Jul 08, 2019

Re the derby, is it possible to overdose on schadenfreude?

I'm sure Power fans will have a view.

Vic Parkes

Jul 08, 2019

Ease up on Jake Carlisle, Titus. Having inherited the mantle of 'Worst Player in the AFL' upon the retirement of Zac Dawson, he is just living up to his billing.


Jul 08, 2019

Your report on Fremantle suggests that they were never in the game.
With an ounce of luck with the goal kicking gods they would have won by 4 points✊🏼
(21.0 to 19.8) boom✊🏼

Wet Western

Jul 08, 2019

If you ease up on Alan Richardson, you could use some of the material for Ross Lyon. Surely his coaching career must be in question this season. The term 'inconsistent' seems too kind for Fremantle ... who still defy logic by being as high on the ladder as they are. 'Awful' is probably a more defining term for the Dockers. I would have thought the board would have been drafting a letter to Ross after the second quarter last week ... but surely this week's performance in the second quarter must his the ink drying on his dismissal letter (?).


Jul 08, 2019

"Weirdly, the Swans managed to dominate almost every statistic except the scoreboard"

And the free kicks, Titus, and the free kicks. There might be something in that.

Bloke from the outer

Jul 08, 2019

....like an Italian car, stylish, lots of ability but they just aren’t reliable.

Had one of those once - ran like the clappers...well when it wasn't being repaired (and breaking my meager savings).


Jul 08, 2019

Jack Steven has left a hole at St Kilda that even Darcy Moore would struggle to fill!!! Sinclair hasn't been pulling his wait for the boys either. North Melbourne on the other hand are surely going to make the 8.

Bloke from the outer

Jul 08, 2019



I barrack for the tiges so tell me about it.

p.s. #freekickcollingwood exists for a reason.


Jul 08, 2019

Can confirm that the Eagles chant can be heard from Optus Stadium at the Vic Park Bowling Club car park on Kent Street at a Freo home game.


Jul 08, 2019

Careful Titus!!! You keep this up and Bob Murphy might start returning your calls.
I predict it will take another 4 wins for the Dogs to start getting a bit of respect?

Wet and Miserable

Jul 08, 2019

There you have it-the Dockers dissolve in the rain. However, for the second half I thought something has to change. So I set about reflecting on the bigger picture: AFL rule changes. By and large I am a supporter of tinkering with the rules. It keeps one interested and the there is something about a collective “WTF?” roaring around the outer.
But in my view, the time has come for AFL to address the elephant in the room and introduce a “mercy” rule. 10 goals up at half time in the pouring rain...who is kidding who?. I can hear cries of “I have paid good money for this”. Well, i cannot condone bad choices, and two wrongs don’t get you very far. Hence, I believe the AFL has an obligation to protect the wellbeing of its flock and sanity should prevail.
The way I see it, one option here is to allow the coach the choice to “fold” so to speak. It is a legitimate strategy in life and games. And, I am not sure that any higher standard should be set for AFL.
Alternatively, for those that want to to continue on, there could be a compulsory interchange of players between the teams. For me, seeing McGovern, Hearn and Shepard in our forward line, which in fact they were all night, would keep me interested. The three had an uncanny knack of reading our midfield with precision. Something that we have lacked all year.
Anyway, it was something to chew on between the boiled lollies, on a night that well, just dissolved, leaving endless time to ruminate. If fact, I cannot remember a time when I had so much time to just sit and ponder. So, not all bad.


Jul 08, 2019

Titus, if I have bought all previous expos’ays of yours then can I get the next one free? Just asking as my health insurance is offering me a free third knee reconstruction after buying 2.... it’s a complicated world, ain’t it?
Um..... just some brief notes on the Saturday Night Schadenfruede Slaughterhouse:
Allowing the most boring AFL coach in existence so much “thinking time” clearly is not working for the Dockers community. Would also point out that the “Devil’s Solution” (6-6-6 rule) makes it easier to coach as your not having to deal with those floating players, offensive/defensive tags, interchange attendants masquerading as half forward pockets etc therefore, cognitively, Ross has had a very thoughtful year....however as a Western Coaster who positively bubbles with delight at Freo’s decades old disaster movie, I say don’t sack Lyons as then they might get someone decent....and there’s someone decent lurking about.
It is unfair (and breaches “intellectual” copyright) for Gold Coast to base their club’s success on Fremantle.
I love the high scoring system that has evolved from the Devil’s Solution so much that I want to see it applied to AFL House. Now that would really get them being creative in their work....or at least only leave three marketing experts in the same room as the work experience intern.
The West Coast chant could in fact be heard down most of the Kwinana Fwy/Forrest Hwy (except for around Medina and Calista where it was, like most things that way, nicked.)
I remember years ago some dickhead getting a Derby tattoo after each WCE victory. He must have an arse the size of an iron ore carrier....
Being an optimistic pessimist I think I tipped hardly a winner this week....! Again. So much for the predictability of Form and Statistics.
Is it September yet? After last year nearly anything is possible!!!


Jul 08, 2019

"Weirdly, the Swans managed to dominate almost every statistic except the scoreboard"
I'm with you EASY. I picked this a week out.
For the second week in a row, a lopsided free-kick count + enough dodgy calls, including at least one 50m penalty to get Essendon over the line. And Lo! it came to pass....
This smells a lot like the feel good story of 2016. A sleigh ride from the umpires sees a most unlikely team storm through the pack and win the flag.

Darren Ellul

Jul 09, 2019

I know this article is a tongue in cheek type but you lost me when writing about Buckley and horoscopes. You had the gall to bag SA and then wrote about how bad the Crows were. I'm a Port fan give me something I can read fondly. I did have a few little giggles, so some good moments but generally fell a little flat.

Mad Dog

Jul 09, 2019

Freo were in the game until quarter time.
"With an ounce of luck with the goal kicking gods they would have won by 4 points (21.0 to 19.8)"

-With an ounce of luck with the goal kicking gods the Eagles would have won by 131 points (27.0 to 2.19)

Mad Dog

Jul 09, 2019


No. No it's not.


Jul 09, 2019

Mad Dog

Would you take a 27.0 to 21.0 win to the Eagles.
I could sleep easy with that.


Jul 09, 2019

I'm with Easy and Strength Through Ignorance… Bombers my second team (Swans my first)… I'm flabbergasted no one has held the AFL to account for the atrocious umpiring at the game in Saturday! It was abominable. If any of those umpires get a game this week it beyond incompetence. If you watch it again… as I have… you can count 6 goals to Essendon the result of solf, biased or plan wrong free kicks… add two that the Swans should have got and goaled from and I believe you can say THE UMPIRES DETERMINED THE OUTCOME OF THE GAME WITH A BIAS DISPLAY. I'm not prone to rant, but I haven't heard or read any media make comment on the game. If it was a Collingwood/Richmond game, I think it would have been back page news.

When's the A-league back?

Rhys Mc

Jul 10, 2019

Reading 'Pelican's' post I thought you may have mistaken the Swans/Essendon match for the one at Giants Stadium.

Like the Swans, GWS won every vital statistic except the free kicks and the score board.

However, there is some truth that the Giants' motto is a typographical error. An 'N' was inserted before the first 'E'.

Mad Dog

Jul 10, 2019

Mad Dog

In another season, no probs but we need the percentage this time around.

Mad Dog

Jul 10, 2019


In another season, no probs but we need the percentage this time around.

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