Jun 22, 2020


The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Three


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 (39) v Hawthorn (71)

First up, the good news for Tigers fans, Richmond just blew past the 36-points they scored the week before.

On their currently trajectory, that daunting 40-point barrier could fall as early as next week. Exciting times.

If only the Tigers could get their hands on two key forwards.

You could say Dusty being out was the difference, but that alone doesn’t explain the Tigers’ new aversion to tackling. For a team based on putting the maximum pressure on their opponent, this is a counterintuitive approach.

Last week, Hawthorn lowered their incredibly unflattering colours to Geelong, and it seemed a week of Clarkson being angry with them really paid off.

Especially in the first half, the Hawks looked fast and skilful, two words you couldn’t associate with them last week.

The return of Jaeger O'Meara certainly had a big impact, it was like a Ferrari engine had been dropped into a Corolla.

This result was an ominous sign that tipping this week was going to be a nightmare.


Western Bulldogs (57) v Greater Western Sydney (33)

Now this was fun.

The Giants came out to intimidate the Bulldogs, Marcus Bontempelli in particular, and like their game plan, it didn’t work.

It was an added embarrassment to the night, instigating a fight you then lose is always a bad look.

When I was at school, the local bully picked on a kid for months on the school bus. This kid silently took it. Occasionally some of us would tell the bully to knock it off, but he was one of those twelve-year-olds who looked like a 20-year-old, so he didn’t really listen.

One day the whole thing escalated. The bully swung a punch at this kid who was literally half his size. The kid dodged it and landed two jabs and then an upper cut. The bully went down hard. He was semi-conscious.

It turned out the kid’s dad was a former amateur boxing champion and this kid had been in the ring since birth.

It was beautiful.

I learnt an important lesson that day, while a bully is half knocked out, you can steal his wallet and his discman with Live’s Throwing Copper in it.

Perhaps my favourite bit of this game was when the brawl broke out and the person in charge of the fake crowd noise really pushed the volume up to eleven.

The AFL have now fined fifteen players for this scuffle, meaning the AFL’s Christmas party is now fully funded, especially considering they can only have twenty people at it.


North Melbourne (60) v Sydney (71)

I was thoroughly enjoying a day of football when during this match the news broke that Victorians are ruining it for everyone.

While every other state is getting back to normal, Victoria is racking up coronavirus cases like Tom Mitchell racks up possessions.

Typical of this latte sipping basket weaving state that they’re just letting people with Coronavirus wander around.

Even worse, as I flicked on the media conference announcing the reintroduction of restrictions in Victoria, news broke on Twitter of Conor McKenna testing positive and in the space of a few minutes I went from thoroughly enjoying a footy match to realising 2020 is never going to let up.

2020 is like the worst family member you have, destructive and never going away.

North Melbourne might want to change their mind on relocating to Tasmania to get out of this disease riddled state.

It certainly made the Premier Danial Andrews mocking of South Australia even more stupid than it was.  Why would you want to go to South Australia? So, you can go to a pub sometime in your life.

The Swans continued in this to show they play better away from home than at the SCG. We all do this a bit. How much nicer are your family when visiting others than at home?

As for North, what can we read into this performance? Nothing. This season will never make sense, because the world no longer makes sense.

To win the premiership this year, you need to be less Usain Bolt, more Steven Bradbury.

Collingwood (81) v St Kilda (37)

St Kilda went into this like I went into 2020. Full of hope and keen to leave the ghosts of last year behind.

And yes, in this analogy, Collingwood are the coronavirus.

The Pies just dismantled the Saints in a brutal display. St Kilda kicked just one goal in the second half, adding to the trend of teams just going completely missing for large periods of the game.

If a team can figure out how to play four quarters this season, they’ll win the premiership easily.

Ratten said after the match that playing two ruckmen didn’t work, but against Brodie Grundy you could play eight ruckman and still struggle.

He should have just listed the things that did work to shorten his post-match media conference. He would have only had to list a couple of his players.

Jaidyn Stephenson’s return was a success, making me even more nervous that a Collingwood premiership, the ultimate embodiment of what an awful year 2020 has been, is still very much on the cards.

Brisbane (74) v West Coast (44)

No wonder the Eagles want to get away from the Gold Coast. It will be so much nicer when they can sleep in their own beds after a loss.

Considering the Lions were without Dayne Zorko and Stef Martin I don’t think a move home will fix everything.

The Eagles look far off their form of the last few years, and it would be understandable if given the state of things they’re lacking motivation.

I think of this season a bit like going on a date. Odds are it’s going to go badly and you aren’t going to get through the whole thing before someone calls it off.

Brisbane have an insane amount of young talent and suddenly, with the Suns also firing, Queensland suddenly isn’t the joke it once was in AFL circles.

Imagine an all Queensland Grand Final. You could even hold it at the Gabba because by the time the Grand Final occurs, Victoria will be like a scene from the movie I Am Legend.

Geelong (77) v Carlton (79)

I’m not sure what is worse, losing to Carlton or proving Alastair Clarkson right.

It’s losing to Carlton isn’t it?

Carlton fans watched this with a burst of happiness, descending into the ‘it’s going to happen again isn’t it? Why can’t we be happy? Why!!’ phase, only for them to surprise everyone and hold on.

Leading by 42 points, this should have been an easier victory, but this is the Blues, and they always make things harder for themselves.

What would have Carlton fans ecstatic was the performance of Eddie Betts who kept setting up scoring chances and laid a match winning tackle. Life is just better with Betts around, something the Crows are quickly earning.

As for Geelong, they suffered from the forgetting to play a few quarters that almost all teams are suffering from at the moment.

If there’s one thing this season is showing is that pre-season is important.

But Geelong have to be honest, losing to Carlton is never good, after all, they’re not that good.


Gold Coast (82) v Adelaide (29)

It’s true that Hugh Greenwood is not going to be playing in the Crows next premiership side, no one currently alive is.

This was the second worst thing to ever happen to the Crows on the Gold Coast.

It was if Essendon said ‘Well, we've had the worst week’ and Adelaide responded, ‘watch this’.

We should at least congratulate the Crows on getting to 29 points, it didn’t feel like they played that well.

Adelaide are awful at the moment, and their strategy of losing all their good players and retaining the bad ones doesn’t seem to be working.

The Crows are ripe for a George Costanza strategy, do the complete opposite of what they’ve been doing.

Perhaps their best option in the short term would be to encourage their players to go get COVID. If they arranged a different one to get it each week, they could get out of this whole season, a best-case scenario at this stage.

As for the Suns, they looked amazing. They were hitting targets, applying pressure, scoring, all the things you used to not associate with them.

They weren’t just a bit better; they are light years ahead of where they were last year.

Their next step is to go from the current, ‘people like us because we were terrible and are now ok’, to ‘we hate you because we’re sick of you guys winning’, the phase every fan hopes their team achieves.

Fremantle (41) v Port Adelaide (70)

Starting at 8pm on a Sunday night isn’t ideal. That’s normally my bedtime, but I stayed up, powered by a rather reckless three cups of tea. I was buzzing.

I’m not sure this was worth staying up for, the Power were superior for all but a bit at the start and Fremantle approached the wet conditions like Victorians are approaching the pandemic, refusing to adjust their behaviour to the conditions.

Fremantle is 0-3 and they should thank the Crows for taking away the limelight this week. In fact, that should be the Dockers slogan for the year ‘We’re not the Crows.’

Port have set up their year perfectly, in that we still don’t know how they are going to blow a 3-0 start to just miss the finals. Every Power fan is confident they can ruin it from here.

But what if they don’t?  The normal rules no longer apply. I used to understand this league.

My tips used to be awful because I knew too much, now they’re awful because I know too little.

Who knows when?

Essendon v Melbourne

I partly want to get on my high horse and say Melbourne should get four points because Essendon had a player breach the COVID regulations and caused this game to be postponed, but then I remembered Melbourne had two players suspended last week for doing the same.

Sure, they didn’t test positive but that was just good luck, not something usually associated with the Demons.

And in fairness to Essendon, despite the whole peptides affair, they haven’t really ruined an AFL season for everyone else since 2000.

The reality is that any system that relies on hundreds of blokes in their twenties to not socialise is a system set up to fail.

The only positive I took out of the whole weekend is despite new restrictions in Victoria, that you can only have five people over to your house, I can still have all my friends over.

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


Fat Side

Jun 22, 2020

I can't wait to see Kochie and Eddie slug it out over who gets to wear the black and white stripes when the Magpies meet Port in the GF.

Wendy Cowling

Jun 22, 2020

The tv news coverage did not do Conor McKenna any favours - showing him blowing snot as well spitting onto the ground in the usual footie player fashion. Perhaps it is time players had a hankie tucked in their shorts.


Jun 22, 2020

This 'season' of AFL is Bizarro Land.


Jun 22, 2020

The players and some coaches already do


Jun 22, 2020

Probably the first time a discman has been referenced in 15 years!

Snag Cleaver

Jun 22, 2020

It's not like Essendon don't have the best medical staff money can buy.
Imagine if a coach who didn't know half his premiership team in 2006 were (allegedly) running around on crystal meth and ketamine got hired by a club that didn't know their whole team was on 'roids?
What could possibly go wrong?


Jun 22, 2020

Suns young legs and Dews influence are paying dividends Collingwood looking awesome early in the season Port on top and all the older sides Westcosters Tigers and Bulldogs looking slow , shortened quarters, postponed matches and hubs all contributes to a destabilised season! What else can 2020 throw up.


Jun 22, 2020

Melbourne should be pleased to get to the end of June and only have one loss!


Jun 22, 2020

Was Danial a typo? or half way between denial and Daniel?

pride of sa

Jun 22, 2020

It's all well and good for the Dockers to use the slogan "we're not the Crows" - what about those other poor bastards whose slogan is "we ARE the Crows"!!? It sucks, I tell ya, sucks sucks sucks. Thank god 2020 is the year that getting the wooden spoon isn't actually the worst thing to happen. I think. Maybe. It's hard being an Adelaide supporter .....


Jun 22, 2020

Something to be grateful for ... Thanks to the 'unplanned bye' that was Dons v Dees, I somehow managed to beat the guy at the top of the Fantasy league (the guy who always reminds me how good he is). I've consulted the rules:"Eligible Participants will score points based upon the real-life performance of their Active Players for each Round". I WON'T be recognising any averaged score of his three gun players who didnt play ;) 'War-criminal-in-the-International-Criminal-of-Justice-in-The-Hague'-style! Nice wrap up, as always Titus


Jun 22, 2020

Unfortunately I reckon a Collingwood premiership is almost guaranteed seeing that the GF won't be played in September (October GFs in 1990 and 2010...2020???)


Jun 22, 2020

I've been enjoying Titus for years; this is one of, if not the best summary ever!

Great comment SNAG CLEAVER.

People keep talking about this as an 'asterisk' season. It's complete nonsense as who ever wins the GF will be the premiers.

Well, except for collingwood; if they don't choke this year then it will definitely be remembered as the asterisk season.

p.s. I had written off both Jaega OMeara and Eddie Betts; shows how little I know about footy.

Mac Hawk

Jun 22, 2020

When has an Essendon player NOT tested positive to something - even before we knew it - we knew it had to be Essendon.........and yes, Clarko took the words out of my mouth.

Holden Broke

Jun 22, 2020

It’s probably about time you stopped routinely having a go at Fremantle, Titus.
Even before last season ended, the club had sacked Ross Lyon AND the useless CEO who’d supported him, long after the supporters had given up hope. Watching the team losing is still hard going, but at least Justin Longmuir is Fremantle to the core, and is giving the younger blokes a chance to show what they can do, and learn from their mistakes. Things can only get better from here.


Jun 22, 2020

Wendy-Grab some footage of Carl Ditterich
Always had a hanky on board:)


Jun 22, 2020

Er Fairwestuff..serious footy talk..Bullies field one of the youngest sides & enjoy a bit of pace too. Three experienced premiership players came into the team on Friday night and the dogs won both fights convincingly. Yep Collingwood looking awesome & they’re one of the oldest sides in the comp.
Agree though, 2020 all over the shop.

Daniel Broadbridge

Jun 22, 2020

Mac Hawk: "Clarko took the words out of my mouth."

Which words were those?


Jun 22, 2020

I have watched hundreds & hundreds of games of footy over the last forty years and all of them were better than the Bulldogs GWS game on Friday night !


Jun 22, 2020

That the Adelaide Footy Club gave up on developing the old swimming centre for their rec facility is a good and bad thing. They now have to use the Torrens River to drown the incompetent board who boasted about how comfortable they are about loosing their best players over past few years while sitting at rock bottom on the ladder.

And losing those players gave them much needed salary cap to continue to pay the now confirmed by Roo over rated players over large salaries to produce enough effort to get as high as bottom of the ladder without relegation to SANFL funded by the savings of wasted development costs on the swimming pool plunder.

A once proud club destroyed by incompetent off field action with a board who are so smart they can't understand that solutions are rarely found when you are the problem. I have been calling for the board to resign for over a year now and I hope the day is getting closer.


Jun 22, 2020

In a normal season I'd be pretty pissed off losing successive games to QLD teams, but this season? Meh.
It's not a real footy season and I suspect it wont go the distance despite what McLachlan is promising. And we can probably thank Victoria for that.
That said, it'd be nice if the Eagles would learn to play a more adaptive style of footy.


Jun 22, 2020

And I wonder if the Crows are paying Nicks danger money?
The Crows gig is the football equivalent of casually strolling down a dark alley in the Valley after 2am. Nothing good can come of it.


Jun 22, 2020

Touty just the GWS Dogs game? Set the bar a bit lower, it’s 2020 & there’s much worse to come.


Jun 22, 2020

I'm in tears reading the Crows report. Absolutely brilliant

Toowoomba Don

Jun 22, 2020

Titus, as a Victorian Essendon supporter now living in Toowoomba, I’m not sure what to do next. I can’t visit Melbourne for the next 10 years, the Bombers won’t play a full team again this year and everyone up here is now watching only winning Queensland Aussie Rules teams at the Spotted Cow. Do I hold out or start supporting the Titans?

Samantha G

Jun 22, 2020

The match between Gold Coast and Adelaide said a lot more about the Crows than it did, the Suns


Jun 23, 2020

I remember playing whole seasons with a white folded hankie tucked neatly into the left front waistband.
And not one season had an asterisk.... or roids or ketamine.
Had to make your own body fluids and have them on a “keep full or replace “ setting.
Damn season...!


Jun 23, 2020

The best line here is "To win the premiership this year, you need to be less Usain Bolt, more Steven Bradbury."
You could actually insert "win the premiership" with whatever you like for 2020 - 'get a date', 'find employment' etc...

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