Jul 03, 2023


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.


Brisbane (134) v Richmond (53)

Richmond certainly put to bed any talk of them rebounding in the second half of the season as the Lions mauled them like a scene from The Ghost and the Darkness.

The most the Tigers can hang on to is that all teams have struggled coming off the bye. But there struggling, then there’s this performance.

More worrying is they just look slower than an English mind trying to comprehend the laws of cricket, the ones they invented.

The Lions just ran all over them, with Lachie Neale and Hugh McCluggage having the most fun you can have in public with tiny shorts on.

It also didn’t help that the Tigers kicked 1.7 in the first half; perhaps they were still in shock from Cam Rayner’s mark not being paid, a moment that had the players pausing for a second.

If Gary Ablett’s famous mark was a mark, this was a thousand times more a mark.


Sydney (54) v Geelong (54)

It would have been better if this game hadn’t been played; then, I wouldn’t have had to watch it.

The draw was fitting; neither team deserved to win.

Sydney were their own worst enemy, kicking 6.18, in a display so poor the Auskick kids were asked to give the Swans some tips after the game.

It was something to behold, Isaac Heeney had three of his kicks go out on the full and two behinds, Robbie Fox conjured three behinds and Tom Hickey missed shots so simple his teammates didn’t even hide their shock.

It was like watching the most uncoordinated kids at school being forced to do P.E.

Geelong were the big winners in this display of ineptitude; they played poorly but did enough to hang around and get some points out of it.

It felt like Geelong dodged a bullet, but given the Swans' accuracy, no dodging was needed; you just stand where they were aiming.


Adelaide (138) v North Melbourne (72)

If it wasn’t for the Eagles majestic season, North would have a lot more focus on them.

They were awful in this, with Adelaide putting on a scoring clinic led by Izak Rankine, who kicked five goals.

They acted tough early, with Callum Coleman-Jones kneeing Nick Murray in the back very late during a marking contest that led to a minor scuffle between the two teams.

Tex Walker was so incensed; he took a kick, then went and remonstrated with the Kangaroos.

Coleman-Jones could be in trouble for the late hit, but at least he didn’t attempt to tackle him, which is what we hate to see.

If you’re an Adelaide fan, this season is as exciting as that year Country Road had that massive sale on chambray shirts.

North are patiently waiting for the imminent return of Alastair Clarkson. Thank god the AFL investigation got to the bottom of those racism claims and cleared everything up for everyone.

Western Bulldogs (102) v Fremantle (73)

Fremantle seem to be more interested in toying with their fans hopes and dreams than playing finals this year.

This was a chance to deny a win to a team you need to knock out of the eight and pick up four points for yourself; instead, the Bulldogs have bolstered their position in the eight.

And the Doggies were coming off a bye, but you wouldn’t know that the way the game started.

The Dockers started the game with the energy of a sloth who had found a marijuana plant deep in the jungle.

In the first 12 minutes, they had just two tackles, and it took them 18 minutes to score a goal.

They did catch up, but in the sprint for the finish, the Dockers forgot to sprint.

The Bulldogs would be thrilled. Jamara Ugle-Hagan was huge for them with four goals, and their defence worked despite being stuck together with Blu Tack and string.

The ending reminded me of my famous race against my classmate in grade four, Sebastian Wellman-Wellman-Jones the Third.

We were neck and neck for most of the race, but in the final twenty metres, I pulled away from the victory.

It later turned out he’d done his hamstring, a constant danger for someone as inbred as him.

I hadn’t seen Sebastian for years until I caught him on some footage of the MCC last night.

Gold Coast (42) v Collingwood (120)

We all know the Pies are dead certs to win the premiership this season, so a victory here wasn’t surprising, what was a shock was the Suns deciding they didn’t want to play this game.

In front of a sell-out crowd, the Suns produced a performance so bereft of effort that the Washington Generals would hang their heads in shame.

And to do it while the Daicos brothers are watching. Embarrassing.

The Pies players all put up video game numbers as they put on a showy performance in front of what felt like their home crowd.

And that was with some Pies fans being stranded in Melbourne because airlines in Australia now run purely for profit and have no interest in having any service culture and the government lets them.

Oh, and when they fall on tough times, we the taxpayer prop them up, and then they shaft us when times are good, which is the business model of most corporates these days. But I digress.

Anyway, the Suns are terrible. To have that talent and do this makes you wonder if this club can be turned around.

It feels like every young, talented player there has one eye on the exit. That means they play a lot for themselves, and when the going gets tough, they appear to be, ‘well, I’m out of here soon anyway.’

It’s going to take something special to turn that whole dynamic around.

Essendon (74) v Port Adelaide (78)

The match of the round, with Essendon playing their best game of the season, and losing, which every Bombers supporter totally understands. 

It’s a brutal outcome for them, but this shows Essendon are on the right track because the Power got a bit of luck here.

Dan Houston isn’t kicking the goal every time; it’s just Port are in some golden streak where everything works.

That’s not to say Port are a lucky team; they are insanely good, the right balance of youth and veterans, strength and speed and with a coach whose position is untenable, according to Warren Tredrea.

If being wrong was a business, Tredrea would be a billionaire.

The trick for the Bombers will be to build on this, not get down about it. The loss here puts them in eighth spot. They wouldn’t want to go on a losing streak and miss the finals, but that seems unlikely for them.


Hawthorn (52) v Carlton (112)

There were a lot of relieved Blues fans on Sunday, I know this because I was at the pub with a few of them and as the game progressed, the abject look of terror on their face slowly dissipated.

It was replaced with a look of relief normally reserved for people found lost in the bush for a week.

The fact the idea that they could lose to Hawthorn showed just how badly this season has gone, but I comforted them by reminding them the Blues would win just to give someone hope they could make a late charge for finals.

Building, then destroying hope, it’s the Carlton way.

I think that’s their membership slogan.

With their captain perpetually suspended, the Hawks struggled all day. They got better as it went on, but that’s easier to do if you start badly.

A Carlton fan said to me after the game, “it’s nice when we play to our ability, but it’s rare.”

Melbourne (45) v Greater Western Sydney (47)

While the Carlton fans celebrated, I asked for the other TV to be turned on to the Melbourne game, and I regretted that they did.

Melbourne are very ordinary at the moment.

There are a ton of stats that highlight just how bad the Demons scoring ability has become in recent months, but it’s as simple as this; when they go forward, they don’t create opportunities, and when they occasionally do, they don’t convert them.

And while the conditions in this one were terrible, the Dees have proven to be inept at scoring in all conditions.

It’s not just the forward line; the midfield delivers the ball into the forward line like those viral videos of a FedEx driver throwing a parcel on the roof.

The Giants hung around all day, but in reality, the Dees beat themselves.

Time and again, they could have poured on five or six goals in a row, only to not kick a goal at all, then watch as GWS rebounded for a rare sole forward fifty entry and score.

It happened all game, and it happened at the end for what was the winning goal.

The Dees have had this problem before, and they have fixed it before, but time is running out.

Just because people keep telling you you’re going to win another premiership in the next few years, doesn’t mean you will.

West Coast (77) v St Kilda (85)

If torturing a fan base was an art, St Kilda would be Leonardo da Vinci, Auguste Rodin and Beyonce all rolled into one.

The Eagles haven’t been able to beat a light breeze this year, but here they were, showing an effort and skill unseen this season.

The Saints looked shocked, like seeing a dog talk. What sorcery was this? Is this legal?

It raised the question what would win, the Eagles' ineptitude or the Saints' culture of making their supporters’ lives a monument to never-ending pain?

In the end, the Saints managed to get on top, but it was a close-run thing.

Eagles fans will be hoping this was a turning of the corner for the club, and not just St Kilda St Kildering, while Saints fans will be wondering why their club does this to them so often.

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




Jul 03, 2023

...when the Demons go forward, they don’t create opportunities, and when they occasionally do, they don’t convert them."

True. And just to widen the view a bit:

Melbourne's recent shoddiness in front of goal (to put it mildly) may well have sabotaged its run to the finals.

Observe the straight-shooting stats for the Top 8 teams in *the past four games*:

1. ADE 73 goals and 47 behinds (60.83% of shots were goals)*

2. PA 69.50 (57.98%)

3. Magpies 57.42 ( 57.58%)

4. StK 43.33 (56.58%)

5. WB 54.43 (56.25%)

6. ESS 48.38 (55.81%)

7. BRIS 56.52 (51.85%)

8. MEL 29.61 (36.25%)

During this period even the normally wayward Bulldogs haven't gone astray in front of goal all that often. For the Demons, though, if this trend is maintained they'll have a really disappointing July and August.

* There would inevitably be a few rushed behinds in the totals, but they wouldn't be enough to skew the general trend regarding straight shooting.


Jul 03, 2023

I'll contact the Macqaurie people to nominate 'St Kildering' as verb-of-the-year


Jul 03, 2023

Is it too early for the Demons to start a Carlton-like push for the finals?

Con Cushion

Jul 03, 2023

Turn it up Titus ... The Auskick kids were in the Ladies Stand, pushing back lime cordials by the time those Bozos' were ready for kicking lessons. Con.


Jul 03, 2023

"... slower than an English mind trying to comprehend the laws of cricket..."

Did I miss something earlier today from Lord's? ;-) Whatsoever do you mean, Titus?

The g train

Jul 03, 2023

“If torturing a fan base was an art, St Kilda would be Leonardo da Vinci, Auguste Rodin and Beyonce all rolled into one”. What StK do is an Art AND a Science AND a Philosophy. And that do it uniquely. No other organisation that ever existed do it as well as StK. They have now completely proved the falsity of “any win is a good win” philosophy. If you apply the Bazball philosophy to that “win”, then that was the most painful defeat in the history of sport. Because that’s what it felt like. Which is what counts. Endless pain and torture and despair is the lot of a StK supporter. And we just keeping coming back for more. Why?

Running Dog

Jul 03, 2023

The "look of relief normally reserved for people found lost in the bush for a week" is probably the look I get after I've "found a marijuana plant deep in the jungle". I mean, it's probably one of mine.


Jul 03, 2023

The 'St Kildaring'? Is that like the 'Bevaning' whenever the SMH goes into its 9 feelings? Even as a Saints I'll wear that one.

Chin up - what a perfect game for your Ds to find form coming up.

PS on a serious note - I'll take the comeback after h/t. No Saints fan thought that was going to be anything but what it was..the St Kildaring is real

Patrick Hernandez

Jul 03, 2023

Titus - no mention of the Demons selling a home and giving up a game against an ordinary side as a result? I'm not a financial genius but I believe clubs sell home games to get more money, right? But don't you get more money from the AFL for making it into the top 4 and playing more finals and putting yourself in contention to win a flag? So wouldn't that make it an utterly s&*%house decision for a team that's worked so hard to get themselves into premiership contention to be playing in a monsoon in Darwin instead of on their home ground? I'd imagine that's what the players and coaches would've been thinking as they trudged off yesterday...


Jul 03, 2023

Not sure how to look at the West Coast performance. Should I be encouraged by some of the youngsters and a better effort, or is it a sad indictment that even against a team coached by a guy unmatched in his ability to guide teams to losses against West Coast, we still couldn't get across the line.

Halftime Spray

Jul 03, 2023

' ' ' ' ' ' '
' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' '
' ' ' ' ' '
' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' '

Titus, I've just given you all the apostrophes you forgot to use in this week's Monday Knee Jerk Reaction.

I've also included a few for the next Highly Unhelpful Guide and the next Monday Knee Jerk Reaction


Jul 03, 2023

It was good for the Pies to wrap up a win at their QLD home deck. Should definitely keep their membership numbers in the Sunshine state well ahead of the Suns.

Can one player win the Brownlow and a Gold Logie? Asking for a friend (Nick D).

He is easily the best thing to watch on TV in 2023.


Jul 03, 2023

Wish I was that sloth who found a marijuana plant deep in the jungle, might help me cope being a Dockers supporter (by the lack of animation and emotion shown at post game presses week after week by our coach think he has found it before me).

saint peter

Jul 05, 2023

Why? Why? Why?
Not even the great psychologist (what's his name) will be able to tell us the answer to that.


Jul 05, 2023

What you fail to take into account young Titus is that not only is the Gold Coast a retirement village for Victorians, (and a critical mass of Collingwood fans has been achieved), the crucial tipping point is that flights to, and accommodation on, the Gold Coast are now affordable to Collingwood fans. Service or non on the planes.

You might have noticed a dip in the crime rate in Melbourne over the weekend, while the Gold Coast bikie gangs were able to take the weekend off and still maintain the levels up here. You're welcome.