Apr 06, 2021


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.


Collingwood (72) v Brisbane (73)

What a weird long weekend of footy. We had this game, a comedy, and the Good Friday game, a tragedy.

If you think this round was designed just to ruin your tips, you got that right, unlike your tips.

Collingwood actually led this game for all but three minutes, yet somehow still managed to lose this in the most painful way possible.

It shows the club’s commitment to torturing their own fans is not just confined to the offseason.

Brisbane’s start to the season has been less than ideal. Losing, being stuck in Melbourne, and then this game shifted to Marvel, all put the Lions behind the eight ball.

It looked for much of this match they were well and truly snookered, and that’s putting it nicely, but they didn’t give up, with Mitch Robinson deciding he was having none of this 0-3 nonsense.

As the Lions kept coming, the Pies seemed to be holding them off, which made the pain, of Zac Bailey marking on the siren and kicking truly to win the game by one point, all the more painful.

It was a vital win for Brisbane after their losses to Sydney and the Umpires.


North Melbourne (39) v Western Bulldogs (167)

It’s not fun to kick someone while they’re down, but it is easier. Kicking someone while they’re standing up is actually quite hard, and even worse, they might kick you back.

But while this was a crucifixion worthy of the day, I’ve got a lot of empathy for North supporters.

I’ve been where they are and it is a place so desolate, so full of sadness, it makes Moomba seem like a fun event.

Reviewing the game itself is hardly worth it, this was a training session for the Bulldogs and a light one at that. Even the Bulldogs fans looked bored watching the second half of this.

The question is, should North lose Good Friday? I don’t see why. If blockbuster games rotated all the time, based on ladder position then fine, but that’s not what happens.

It seems if you’re a smaller club the calls come for you to lose it, but less so if you’re a bigger side.

That’s just a recipe for the bigger clubs to stay big and the smaller ones to be relegated to also-rans.

I know that’s not very funny but nothing was in this game.

Adelaide (95) v Gold Coast (85)

It’s early days, but the Adelaide Crows are in the top eight. That would have been unthinkable this time last year when it appeared the Crows might go a few decades without a win.

Tex Walker should send the AFL a bunch of flowers for the rule changes, which seem to have revitalised his career, he booted another six in this and was a key reason for the victory.

A big shift in the Crows seems to be they are finally in a happy place again. For so long, the Crows seemed to have the enthusiasm of a group of petty criminals on a graffiti clean-up crew.

As for the Suns, they have enthusiasm but don’t seem capable of winning.

They weren’t helped when their ruckman Jarrod Witts went down in the third quarter, but their brand seems to be the expansion team that is constantly rebuilding.

Fremantle should sue them for copyright infringement.


Richmond (72) v Sydney (117)

Footy is like a wild horse, just when you think you’ve mastered it, it bucks you off and then tramples you.

Not many of us would have thought the Swans could beat the reigning champions on the MCG, but no one would have thought they would do it easily, and with style points thrown in.

At times, the Swans played the role of the Harlem Globetrotters, just showing off.

But you don’t get the Globetrotters without someone playing the role of the Washington Generals, and the Tigers seemed only too willing to do so.

It was like Richmond had forgotten everything that made them one of the great sides of history.

I’d say their players were selfish and forgot the system that made them a great team, but they didn’t even seem to be doing that. They seem genuinely perplexed at what the Swans were doing.

While the Swans attack dazzled, it was their ability to negate almost every Richmond star, to the point the Tigers didn’t have any. Even Dusty seemed a shadow of his formal self, a tattooed apparition floating around the edges.

Tigers fans will be hoping this was the wake-up call their team needed, while Swans fans will spend the week wondering how you can possibly fit Buddy Franklin, an honest trier, into this star-studded forward line.

Essendon (143) v St Kilda (68)

Continuing our ‘footy makes no sense’ theme, the Essendon Football Club won a football game and not only that, belted the living suitcases out of an opponent.

Last week, the Bombers entire season was a write-off, now, Bombers fans are wondering if they might achieve victory in one of those finals their mythical texts speak of them once winning.

Such was the size of the victory, no one will raise this week where the coach was sitting during it.

The Bombers just smashed the Saints in the middle, and the longer this went on, the less interested in the game St Kilda appeared to be.

There were children in the stands on iPads more interested in the game than a lot of Saints players.

St Kilda started the season with hope, a real sense the club was moving in a positive direction, now it seems they have thrown off the mask to reveal, they are just St Kilda.

For Essendon, it’s was the shot of false hope this club was so desperate for.

West Coast (108) v Port Adelaide (71)

With Eddie gone from Collingwood, we now get lots of shots of David Koch when his team is losing, and I have to say, it’s not as fun.

Eddie would go that hue of red, deeper the colour of the surface of Mars, but during this, Koch just looked like a father who would say, “I’m not angry, just disappointed.”

And he should be disappointed, the Power were outclassed in every facet of the game, effort being a clear example.

The Eagles just dominated them across the entire ground.

I’m no statistical guru but being down by 52-points at half time suggests to me you are struggling.

For the Eagles, everything just worked. Their forward line did forward line things, their defence was really defency and Liam Ryan locked down mark of the year.

I actually think gravity and Liam Ryan have a different relationship than the rest of us.

It must be nice to know you can jump half-an-hour early for a mark, and just wait up there for the ball to arrive.


Carlton (109) v Fremantle (64)

Carlton and Essendon belting sides this week made it feel like the 90s, I half expected to turn on the radio to hear Blur and Oasis dominating the airwaves.

Some credit has to go to Fremantle, it takes a lot of work to make Carlton look this good.

And they did look good, positively competent at times, which is what worries me.

Carlton are not competent.

I may be being harsh. We could assume Carlton are good, but trust is not something the Blues have yet earned.

The Blues certainly showed some promising signs, Cripps was dominant, Harry McKay looked like someone’s potential arriving, and Sam Walsh was classy all day.

Yet this was against a Dockers side without Nat Fyfe and a host of other players.

The real sign that Carlton are taking the next step is when this happens several weeks in a row and against quality opposition, until then this is probably another false dawn, trust me, I’ve had some experience with those.

Fremantle are in real trouble though. It seemed last season they were going somewhere, now they aren’t.

Greater Western Sydney (68) v Melbourne (102)

Melbourne being undefeated in round three is not a scenario I’ve been forced to grapple with on a regular basis in my life.

I file it up there with ‘having a girlfriend’ and ‘being happy’ for its scarcity.

Yet here we are, and while I’m excited, especially given Ben Brown and Sam Weideman are out, there are a few caveats.

Their first victory was against Fremantle, which doesn’t look that impressive, the second was against St Kilda, a win much devalued after what Essendon did to them, and this involved significant injuries to the Giants.

That all said, you can only beat what’s in front of you, and Melbourne has shown an ability not to go to water when they fall behind, which is like teaching a dog how to talk.

They also don’t seem to give up eight goals in a row regularly and seem committed to playing every quarter, including the third, which is new.

The Giants dominated early on, but injuries to Stephen Coniglio, Phil Davis and Matt de Boer, made this almost an impossible task. Even with the emergency sub, it’s pretty tough to cover that.

Such is their injury toll, that the release of the documentary Making their Mark is no longer the worst thing to happen to them this year.

In a time when the Giants need a little bit of luck, it seems they are getting none.

As for Dees fans, we aren’t getting in the Lake of Hopeful Waters, but we have driven up to its shores in our Range Rovers, and for the first time in a while, the water does look inviting.


Geelong (69) v Hawthorn (64)

It is ridiculous how often this rivalry delivers.

Neutral fans would have got a lot out of this, Geelong didn’t look that good, Hawthorn still lost, and we got a close game on Easter Monday.

In fairness to Geelong, it should be noted that Jeremy Cameron and Patrick Dangerfield were both not playing, but that didn’t stop the latter being mentioned more on the broadcast than some players actually involved in the game.

Hawks’ fans booed Isaac Smith, which some criticised, given he is a three-time premiership winner with the Hawks, but he did leave them to join their great enemy of recent times.

I mean, Judas did some good things before betraying Jesus, would these same people criticise us booing him now?

In the end, the Cats held on, partly through luck and partly through desperation.

Luck and desperation, there’s my love life summed up in three words.

My Comedy Festival Show 'Reflections of a Sporting Tragic' is on sale now: https://www.oztix.com.au/landingpage/page/?name=Titus%20O%27Reily 

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Apr 06, 2021

The Monday Knee Jerk, published on a Tuesday, referring to an Easter Wednesday game. I know I'm hungover from booze and chocolate but that's just dizzying.


Apr 06, 2021

It won't matter if he wins a Browlow, wins three Grand Finals in row, or marries Bella Hadid, nothing in Zac Bailey's life will ever top kicking a goal after the siren to beat Collingwood by a point.

Martin Rumsby

Apr 06, 2021

Subscribed this year for the first time and look forward to reading the weekly analysis of the round. Love your sense of humour, Titus!

Andrew Collison

Apr 06, 2021

Is it possible that Chris Scott may be the first ever coach to sport a "man bun". Unless of course Jock McHale or Checker Hughes had one tucked under their trilby.

Paul Cabelli

Apr 06, 2021

Tuesday. I wish it was Monday, and Clarko could dish out a few little gems in the last few minutes to change the result #heartbrokenhawk


Apr 06, 2021

SO many LOLs, @Nic and @Steve!!

Buoyant Blue Bagger

Apr 06, 2021

Was Moomba ever fun? It always looked like Melbourne trying very hard to show a bit of spontaneous gaiety, but just trying too damned hard to succeed. Disappointed in SOS's response to young Jack Silvagni kicking a goal, TV camera cut to SOS sitting stone-faced, maybe he expected Jack to kick seven like Harry McKay did?


Apr 06, 2021

Titus, your Easter special edition was magic! Loved the sprinkling of Judeo-Christian allegories! Gave the 'traditional' split round some substance over superficiality. In denying the AFL trend for entertaining football are the Cats now wearing hair shirts?

The Ho Brothers (Brayden, Brody and Brock)

Apr 06, 2021

"Even Dusty seemed a shadow of his formal self..."

Has there ever been anything formal about Richmond's No 4?


Apr 06, 2021

Great as always.

Fat Side

Apr 06, 2021

Surely Saints vs Demons is the most religiously appropriate match-up for Good Friday.


Apr 06, 2021

Adam Tomlinson summed it up nicely. “Kozzie lights up the room when he enters it and I am writing this on the shores of the lake of Hopeful Waters in my Ford Focus. (Top of thr range)

Mac Hawk

Apr 06, 2021

Any Hawk supporter who didn't boo Isaac ain't a true supporter - they lack the passion, the bias and the bloody minded hatred for the handbaggers. Footy is our refuge from PC fcs. Booooooo......and I am normally a sensitive, leftish anarchist that tries really hard to like Women's footy.


Apr 06, 2021

It's not that Liam Ryan has a different relationship with gravity, he just ignores it until it goes away...

Samantha G

Apr 06, 2021

Nice Britpop reference. I was not expecting that.

Halftime Spray

Apr 06, 2021

@ Mac Hawk:
"I am normally a sensitive, leftish anarchist that tries really hard to like Women's footy."

Me, I'd like to see the women fight more.

The g train

Apr 06, 2021

Collingwood’s epic loss will either completely ruin them, galvanise them to achieve true greatness, or have little effect.

STK shows, yet again, there is simply nothing worse than a confident promise of resurrection that eventuates in a hellish fall that even Beelzebub would be proud of. I now question everything, especially the meaning of my existence—which I had always “known” was to witness more than zero STK premierships in my lifetime.

Male Chauvenist Pig

Apr 06, 2021

Don't start on women playing footy it's sacrilege, there are three things I hate about AFLW besides its existence, it isn't played on heavy mud ridden grounds, they don't play in lace underwear and most of them don't know what lace underwear is.
My once even greater fear was this girly AFL commission and executive would form an AFL men's netball competition for "woke" players. That fear never eventuated they didn't need a new competition they just changed the rules of the AFLM where now if you want some time off you pat your opponent lovingly on the "protected head" at the end of the game in congratulatory fashion and you get three weeks off on full pay.
Soon when they introduce 6 months full pay paternity leave won't that be a fun experience. The midfield will become midwives and preseason will become foreplay, 10 minute quarters with hourly breaks after each quarter for baby sitting duties. Big winner will be the TV rights 3 hours of riveting advertising each game including banned condom adverts in the hope they can increase playing numbers or at very least eliminate the "protected head" rules.


Apr 06, 2021

The thing about the Good Friday game is it suffers in comparison to the Easter Monday game.

It doesn't matter where Hawthorn and Geelong are on the ladder, they deliver a cracker. Even that one year that Patrick Dangerfield kicked the entire six goal margin on his own on one leg because of a Roughead tackle that backfired and put him in the forward line was a spectacle, it was entertaining to watch and I say that as a Hawthorn fan who more often than not watches my team lose on Easter Monday (twice after the siren, mostly by less than 6 points)...

It doesn't matter where you are on the ladder, you need to deliver a spectacle if you want the big marquee games. So if they can't deliver on field maybe they should consider making it memorable in other ways... wear costumes? 80's night, where they hit people like thugs and have half the team suspended? Do a conga line? Whatever they can think of... but... they have to provide something better than that - or they shouldn't have it.

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