Aug 12, 2019


The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Twenty One


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 (29) v Hawthorn (85)

I went along to this game in Canberra. Ten of us set out and managed to make base camp at a pub nearby. 

As temperatures plunged, we head out into the blizzard in high hopes, but we lost our first man within minutes. They were overcome by the cold. Two more were lost to an avalanche not long after. 

We pressed on, the only thing keeping us going was knowing that seeing the Giants take on Hawthorn was going to be a cracking game.

Except, it wasn’t. The Giants seem to have got caught in the same blizzard we did and missed the game altogether.

The result was that the only highlight of the game was when the snow started to drift across the ground. 

I have to give it to the Canberra crowd, 11,741 people showed up to this, and considering it go below zero, that’s amazing. You rarely get that many people to Giants stadium in Western Sydney in perfect weather.

Based on this the Giants won’t be troubling anyone in the eight. They won’t be troubling anyone in the top seventeen.

Melbourne (53) v Collingwood (70)

One of the great benefits of being in Canberra on Saturday was not having to go to this game. 

Melbourne started off well enough, as Collingwood seemed to use the first quarter to warm up.

But after a quarter, Melbourne decided to take the second and third quarters off. And I really mean that. The number of players wandering around like shoppers lost in IKEA was shocking. Well it would be if I hadn’t seen it all before.

Max Gawn seemed to be the only Melbourne player who seemed interested in covering the ground with any seriousness.

Christian Petracca had his best game in a while, although he was wasteful in front of goal.

Perhaps the Dees could organise to have his friend Ben Simmons at every game? 

Collingwood in response ran all over the Demons in the second and third quarters, and were leading by 42 points early in the fourth quarter.

Disappointingly for them, Melbourne seemed to become interested in the contest again, and significantly reduced that lead, a sign that the Pies are not back to their best quite yet.

Both these sides are at opposite ends of the ladder, but it shows you if you work together, you can create a game that is almost unwatchable.

Port Adelaide (103) v Sydney (56)

The Power are now in the eight. It’s true, I checked. 

Yes, I was surprised too. So, I rang the AFL and said, “is the ladder on your website correct?”

“Why would it be incorrect sir?” they said.

“Well it says Port Adelaide are eighth.”

“Are you looking at this year’s ladder sir?” they asked.

“It says 2019,” I replied.

“That is worrying. I hope we haven’t been hacked,” the nice man at the AFL said.

“Well Port are quite close to the Chinese,” I responded.

Brisbane (144) v Gold Coast (53)

There is one thing that every team that plays the Suns must do, boost their percentage through the roof. 

Therefore, the Lions really did the job and then some.

Sixteen straight losses now to the Suns means the number one draft pick is now theirs, as is the wooden spoon.

That means every player in contention for being drafted number one might want to throw in a few sub-par performances ahead of the draft.

As for the Lions, they now sit second on the ladder. It’s astounding. They’ve won eight in a row. 

Perhaps most impressive was Charlie Cameron’s six goals from just ten possessions. 

Now that’s efficiency. Don’t work harder, work smarter kids.

A group of people masquerading as Essendon (33) v Western Bulldogs (137)

Twenty-one unanswered goals. One more and it would have been a goal for every Essendon player who didn’t show up to this game.

For 108 minutes in this game, Essendon would not kick a single goal. It was pure hell for Bombers supporters and pure joy for everyone else.

I must have had 40-odd people text me during the game to express their happiness at what was unfolding. 

I don’t know forty people, so I suspect people were just texting numbers at random to spread the word.

The Bulldogs were pretty great, but I have no idea what to say about their efforts because it was the closest thing you’ll ever have to a forfeit. 

As for Essendon, I have no idea what this was. Was it the shock of seeing Ben Simmons in a Melbourne jumper? Were they preoccupied with global warming? Did they all have a bet on the Bulldogs?

Either way, it will be a fun week for the rest of us.

Geelong (69) v North Melbourne (14)

You have to feel for North, they kicked a solitary goal, three less than Essendon did, and they still couldn’t win ‘worse performance of the round’.

This was the first time North Melbourne has ever kicked just one goal in a game. 

Their previous low of two goals in a game was in 1930, so the Rhyce Shaw era has got off to a record-breaking start.

Their only goal was in the second quarter. It’s actually quite hard to only score in one solitary quarter.

Geelong just strangled the Kangaroos for the entire game. It wasn’t necessarily a performance that will have Cats fans feeling like they’re completely on track, but it was solid.

The win means the Cats stay on top of the ladder, ahead of their clash against the second place Lions on Saturday. One thing is for sure; the Lions won’t be kicking a solitary goal.

St Kilda (72) v Fremantle (69) 

Can you hear that? It’s the sound of Dockers fans sharpening their knives.

It looks like that for the fourth year in a row, the Dockers will miss finals and to lose this game in the dying seconds was the salt in the wound.

Up by nine points, it seemed Fremantle were going to fall across the line, only to have Jack Steven kick his third and then Josh Bruce finish the game with a 35-meter shot.

Ross Lyon said his side's inability to control Jake Carlisle's influence was the difference in the game. This was perhaps the worst part of the loss for Dockers fans, I mean that’s got to hurt.

Saints fans will be feeling nothing but happiness. Under Brett Ratten, they’ve won three out of the past four games.

That’s going to make it all the more painful when the board announce Brad Scott as the new coach.

Richmond (73) v Carlton (45)

The Melbourne media’s new premiership favourite, Richmond got the job done in a workmanlike display against Carlton.

The Tigers have won seven in a row now and are well placed for a flag tilt, but let’s not engrave the cup with their name just yet 

Quite a few Tigers fans told me this was a danger game, and while there were moments Carlton looked like challenging, they lacked the polish Richmond had.

‘Polish’ might be overselling it. The Tigers just managed to be just that little bit less wasteful.

Carlton’s problem was they were a bit like my emotional development; they never really got started.

Let’s hope this loss is the justification the Blues board need to overlook Teague and choose a terrible candidate.

West Coast (90) v Adelaide (80)

As many of us predicted, Darcy Fogarty booted five goals against the Eagles in a sign that the Crows may finally have found a key forward.

It’s been years since they’ve had one so it’s an exciting development. 

The Crows certainly came close in this one, as close as they are to the eight now, just not quite enough.

What’s even worse, is the Power are now in eight. That’s got to hurt.

I’ve said all year that the Crows are their own worst enemies, and it proved so again when Rory Sloane was accidentally taken out by his teammate Matt Crouch.

Sloane wouldn’t come back, and the Eagles managed to grind out the win, but it didn’t come easy.

In many ways, this was a very good performance by the Crows, especially with Sloane going off, but that’s the problem when you’ve lost games earlier you should have won, you can’t afford the losses against the good sides.

In the end, this was just another way for Adelaide to breaks Crows fans’ hearts.

Titus is touring around the country in the upcoming months, visiting Adelaide, Sydney, Perth, Hobart and Brisbane. Tickets available here:  

Titus’ new book Please, 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.


Brad Scott

Aug 12, 2019

Oi! Leave me out of this!


Aug 12, 2019

Blame the Chinese, Titus, when Port are in the Granny!

Mad Dog

Aug 12, 2019

So no more 'Highly Unhelpful Guide....', Titus? Gone the way of the Dodo and the one-winged duck?

"Were they preoccupied with global warming?" Well it's a Melbourne based team so, yeah probably.

Beau from Beaumaris

Aug 12, 2019

I guess Worsfold will have to change his game plan, or, in his and Essendon parlance, find a new prescription.


Aug 12, 2019

I saw a post on the weekend that said:
‘Hands up if you picked the Wallabies to outscore GWS, Essendon and North Melbourne this week...’
That was a sure fire coach killer performance the Bombers phoned in.
Sadly for North, so was there’s.

David George

Aug 12, 2019

As an ADELAIDE fan, the only thing I hate about your satire is its accuracy.


Aug 12, 2019

“And considering it go below zero” maybe you should get grammerly or an editor dude?

Selwood's Other Duck

Aug 12, 2019

Titus you've let your readers down here by not issuing a warning that Hawthorn are still a chance to make finals. Sure, they'll need to beat WC in Perth, but that would be just typical of those bastards.


Aug 12, 2019

North only lost by approx 10 goals.
Don't look at the absolute scores - they just indicate how difficult it was for either team to put something on the scoreboard.
Teams recover from 10 goal losses all the time, the very next week.
I should know, I'm a Port supporter.


Aug 12, 2019

Stephanie, maybe you should get Grammarly.

Fat Side

Aug 12, 2019

Titus, without your highly unreliable guide to lead me astray, I accidentally picked 3 winners and now look like missing out on the $50 prize for coming last in my tipping comp!

Tex Walker's Undies

Aug 12, 2019

Please let the ladder have been hacked .. please let the ladder have been hacked .. please, for the love of God and all that is holy, let the ladder have been hacked.

Also - please bring back your Highly Unhelpful Guide. We miss it.

Mad Dog

Aug 12, 2019

Tex Walker looks like Freddie Mercury.

Steve Payne

Aug 12, 2019

I don’t like to be cruel and unsympathetic to the Demons, Titus, because you’ve been so kind to my side Carlton when we’ve been struggling, but ... your side was hopeless, not all of the players were trying very hard and none of them could kick or handball accurately. The way forward is not to model your play on the Gold Coast recipe.


Aug 12, 2019

"Tex Walker looks like Freddie Mercury."



Aug 12, 2019

Tex might as well be dead.
He is, as my old man was want to say, tits on a bull.
Up there in my most overrated players in the comp.


Aug 13, 2019

Clarko was a keen observer in the AFL Members' stand of the Richmond-Carlton game. Suffice to day with a 1.6 scoreline he didn't return after half time.

Blues fans can rest easy knowing their team failed the audition and Alastair Clarkson won't be coaching them in 2020.

Blackswamp Barracker

Aug 14, 2019

STEPHANIE: maybe you should get Grammarly, dude. I'm an editor with a reputation for being a grammar nazi, and I look the other way when Titus makes the odd boo-boo. They're all just typos, and at the rate he churns out hilarious, insightful commentary pre- and post-match, it behooves us to cut him a bit of slack.

Someone missing the highly unhelpful guide

Aug 14, 2019

What happened to the Highly Unhelpful Guide to The round Titus?
I have 2 days of the week to look forward to (Friday and Monday) but know half of my joy has been stopped.


Aug 14, 2019

@ Blackswamp Barracker

I love the word *behoove(s)*.

Mad Dog

Aug 16, 2019


Wasn't referring to Freddie's current state.

As with when F. Mercury was alive, Tex could play AFLW doubling his chances of Best on Ground as well as his chances on a Saturday night. My understanding is that this will soon be very easy in Victoria.

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