Aug 26, 2019


The Monday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Twenty 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 (76) v Essendon (65)

Collingwood proved to everyone on Friday night that they can defeat Essendon’s VFL side.

To be fair, the Pies were without a fair few players too (I think they had a division three basketball game on), making this a war of attrition, with Michael Hurley going off in the second half with a shoulder injury. 

Luckily, he didn’t need to go to hospital, as the Bombers preferred method of medical transport, a taxi, was probably not a good option for him.

The Pies were lucky they had Brodie Grundy who was just better than everyone else on the field. He dominated the game, which makes you wonder why the Pies are squabbling over his contract. 

Collingwood were also well served by Scott Pendlebury who seems to never age. If anything, Pendlebury is underrated, he keeps racking up the possessions and weirdly hits targets. Perhaps other AFL midfielders should consider adding that to their game.

Now the Pies will take on Geelong at the Cats home ground, the MCG and the Bombers will travel to Perth to take on the Eagles in their final game of their season.

Sydney (109) v St Kilda (64)

With Lance Franklin playing his 300th match, and Jarrad McVeigh and Kieren Jack playing their last games, you could tell the Swans were keen to get a win to end what has been a disappointing season.

Buddy ended with four goals in his milestone game and the Swans will be hoping he can get his body right in the off season and play a lot more in 2020.

After the game the retiring quartet of Nick Smith, Heath Grundy, Jarrad McVeigh and Kieren Jack were all chaired off, as was Buddy Franklin. Chairing five players off all at once showed more coordination from the Swans than they’ve shown throughout much of the year.

As for St Kilda, with Brad Scott and Ross Lyon both out there, like sharks circling below a surfer, you’d think they’d have worked a lot harder to try and get Brett Ratten across the line.

But the Saints players, much like the St Kilda fans, just seemed to be glad this season as over. 

Former Swan Dan Hannebery had his best game of the year, showing that trade may hopefully not be a complete disaster. That could be the Saints membership slogan next year ‘hopefully not a complete disaster’.

North Melbourne (88) v Melbourne (83)

If you had to write an ending for the toilet of a season the Melbourne Football Club have produced, then this would have been pretty good.

A chance to win, only to be butchered under pressure from a side that just wanted it more.

North may not have had much of a season, but they at least tried to salvage something from it over the last six weeks, rather than look like a group of people stuck at a function they didn’t want to be at.

The Kangaroos just knew if they kept coming, they’d have a real chance of Melbourne choking and that’s what happened. 

When the final siren sounded, I felt nothing but relief it was all over. 

As they say,If You’re Going Through Hell, Keep Going’, or to rephrasing it for the Melbourne players, ‘If You’re Going Through Hell, consider breaking out of a light jog and sprint occasionally.’

Geelong (129) v Carlton (61)

After trying everything to not finish top, the results went against the Cats and they ended up there anyway. 

Geelong looked all business against the Blues, who seemed like a side that knew the season was done and it was time to pack for Bali or Thailand.

The Cats will be hoping this is a glimpse of what’s to come in finals and it’s hard to know what they’ll bring to September. 

I’ve no idea what the Cats will do in the finals. At times this year they’ve seemed a side without peer, but since the bye they’ve been about as reliable as the Star Wars franchise. 

Will they be Empire Strikes Backor The Last Jedi in September?

They take on the Pies at the MCG, and I would usually agree that they should be able to play that at their home ground, except Chris Scott thinks that so I can’t.

As for Carlton, they chaired the retiring Dale Thomas off after the siren. Patrick Cripps didn’t do it because he’d been busy carrying the rest of the team.

Gold Coast (55) v Greater Western Sydney (127) 

The Giants had the first weekend of their two-week bye and decided to use it to run a training session with some young kids who dream of playing AFL one day.

The hype in Greater Western Sydney is at fever pitch for finals, with 7610 people turning up to this one.

In fairness, I would go to great lengths to avoid seeing the Suns play. The NRL should pay for Suns games to be shown in prime time in Queensland to damage the AFL.

Jeremey Cameron managed to win the Coleman Medal with nine goals in this one, finishing with 67 goals, just ahead of North’s Ben Brown on 64.

It’s an outstanding achievement and the Giants might need him to kick nine each game in the finals if they’re to be any chance. 

They take on the Bulldogs first in what becoming a great rivalry. I wouldn’t want to go up against the Bulldogs in the finals, they looked scary on the weekend, but they were playing the Crows.

West Coast (67) v Hawthorn (105)

This had choke of the week in the bag until the Australian cricket team curated one of the greatest chokes of all time. 

It’s not just that the Eagles lost, it’s the way they lost and the context. 

With a top four spot on the line, at home and playing a side that’s been inconsistent all year, West Coast produced a performance more embarrassing than my grade three talent show performance that resulted in me being booed off stage by the parents and the theatre being set on fire.

This was like having a tap in putt, and instead of putting it away, you missed by hitting it 300 yards.

Hawthorn outworked and outthought the Eagles all game, leaving us in the terrifying position for part of the weekend of the Hawks making the finals.

While this nightmare scenario didn’t eventuate, the nightmare continues for the Eagles who have an uphill battle to make it to the Grand Final. 

I’m still bewildered as to how this happened. This was as unlikely as a contestant on The Voice building a successful music career. 

Western Bulldogs (121) v Adelaide (87) 

The Don Pyke farewell game certainly delivered, with the Bulldogs taking just 24 minutes to be up 40 points to zero.

The Crows looked like a team that had a surprise game of footy thrown at them. Only the fact they were in their uniforms suggested they were aware the match was occurring. 

Pyke said after the game they’d be changes at the Crows, but I don’t think he plans to sack himself so I’m not sure they’ll be good changes. 

As for the Bulldogs, they were terrific. The quick hands and their running support for each other makes them a welcome addition to September. They bring an X-Factor to the finals and you wouldn’t be keen to play them.

Bailey Dale finished with five goals but could have had six in the first quarter as he looked like Gary Ablett snr against the Crows defenders, who had to contend with a rampaging Bulldogs midfield. 

Pyke said after the game that the Crows treaded water this year. I don’t think you can tread water underwater.

Richmond (82) v Brisbane (55)

Hopes of this being a classic never quite eventuated as Richmond showed their experience by jumping the Lions early and then never letting them get back up.

Not that the Lions stopped trying, it’s just each time they appeared to be getting back into the game, Richmond would kick a goal.

Lachie Neale went out of his way to try and get his team up, with 51 disposals and 14 clearances but the Tigers discipline across the whole field showed.

Richmond’s defence is so good that South Korea should consider hiring them. 

It sets up the second qualifying final at the Gabba between these two and based on this game, the classic might still eventuate.

Port Adelaide (110) v Fremantle (67)

How did the Aussies let that Test slip? 

I mean, it’s almost impossible to lose from that position without actively trying. 

What was with the constant bouncing of Jack Leach? How about trying to bowl on the stumps to a tailender? Just wasted deliveries.

What about the constant allowing of Stokes to rotate the strike so Leach barely faced a ball?

Or the missed run out by Lyon? Or that bloody idiotic review? I though Shane Watson had the monopoly on those.

Then there is the truly supernatural awfulness of Joel Wilson, who somehow has carved out a career as a cricket umpire despite possessing none of the required abilities such a position requires.

It was a day of great shame for our nation and the English are right to mock us. This was like their Brexit, only ours happened on the sporting field, with something important on the line.

Titus is touring around the country in the upcoming months, visiting 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.


Ben Haycroft

Aug 26, 2019

thank you for not bothering with a Port / Freo review. you do know your audience.

Blood Oath

Aug 26, 2019

“Cricket Referee”? “Score Review”? I am used to your typos, but these are next level.

Michael Baker

Aug 26, 2019

Pendlebury was very good - did you know he has a basketball background?

Samantha Geso

Aug 26, 2019

Good stuff! All West Coast had to do was win to stay in the top 4 and they couldn't even do that.

S. Marks

Aug 26, 2019

Your wrap of the Port/Fremantle game was hugely insightful. Maybe ease up on the sheer amount of detail in the future.

Brad Scott

Aug 26, 2019

Ross Lyon and Brett Ratten are terrible coaches.

Ross Lyon

Aug 26, 2019

That Brad Scott is bad news. So is Ratten.


Aug 26, 2019

Pendlebury has a basketball background...also, he gave his spot to Patty Mills.

You left this out when writing about Pendlebury, something every commentator has added to his repertoire since he first debuted.


Aug 26, 2019

The tap in comment on West Coast was particularly apt.

Jesus wept.

Stratton Narrow

Aug 26, 2019

It begs the question,”Were there really 6710 people who had NOTHING better to do?” Surely a percentage of them must have mis-matched socks in their drawers.

Mad Dog

Aug 26, 2019

Unlike some people commenting here, I still maintain some respect for teams that play against West Coast.

Having said that, the Eagles have the hardest season by far because A. every team plays put of its skin against a reigning premier (as expected) and because B. the team loses two days to travel every second week of the season (flying across the continent, Perth to Melbourne is further than London to Moscow).

I hate to consider this but the Eagles might be showing more than just tiredness. It might be the heaviest 'season fatigue'.
God I hope I'm wrong.

Chris Scott

Aug 26, 2019

Hey Guys - I just want to clarify my position here. It’s just finals that I’m telling the AFL to move. We want to keep playing home and away games against the Pies at the G like we have for the last 20 years but not finals anymore. So we’ve got 2 home grounds, a little one and a big one. So H&A games against the big Vic clubs still at the big one but finals at the little one from now on thanks. If you don’t agree to this then it’s ridiculously, outrageously unfair and the AFL is a joke. Thanks.

Suns tragic

Aug 26, 2019

Er the Suns GWS game was on the gold coast not western sydney...

Tex Walker's Undies

Aug 26, 2019

"The Crows looked like a team" -- are you sure???? I'm aware there was more to the sentence than those 6 words, but barely. Just like there were more to the Crows' line-up than six players, but barely. Thank god for the two co-captains putting an effort in, because without them, it would've only been Matt Crouch getting 47 possessions and all for nothing. Which, to be fair, it was. At least we helped Port out; surely now they Ken be rid of Hinkley.

Andrew Taylor

Aug 26, 2019

Perhaps West Coast should confine themselves to playing Freo every week as compensation for their travel burden......😆😆


Aug 26, 2019

MAD DOG, I appreciate the one eyed fanaticism but that was 96% of our best possible team, playing at home in perfect conditions against a mid table opposition.
Comprehensively out coached and outplayed.
We sucked.

For Granted

Aug 26, 2019

Never have I felt less like reading a offering that I figured might reference both The Ashes and how West Coast found a way to miss the top 4 but, like a moth to a flame here I am....


Aug 26, 2019

Perhaps if the Eagles traveled that distance every second week, then next year by round 6 they could be in London and then by round 8 they could be in Moscow. Best place for them.


Aug 26, 2019

Port fan here. Thanks for your insight.

Tony Hampton

Aug 26, 2019

Yes, Aus did use up it's reviews badly. And yes, Lyon missed an easy stumping. And England fought well and deserved the result. BUT, the lbw decision by the umpire immediately following the botched run-out was a disgrace. That was plumb and he quite clearly should have called it OUT and left it up to the Poms to review. Pathetic performance by umpire caught up in emotion of the moment.

Mac Hawk

Aug 26, 2019

At the very least, within your insightful write-up on Port v Freo, you could have mentioned how good was Chad Wingard !!

Demon Dreamer

Aug 26, 2019

Season's over. Halle-bloody-lujah!

Fat Side

Aug 26, 2019

Even as a Tiger supporter, there's something to be said for the evenness of the competition when, in the first week of the finals, you'd marginally prefer to be pitted against the team that finished above you on their home ground, than the team that finished five spots below you on your home ground.


Aug 26, 2019

Did the Eagles really walk from Moscow to London to give tips on how to Pre-set your team to know all the plays possible and all the strategies to cope with the emotions of a “final”?
Did the eagles give some sort of macabre exposition/lecture to the Australian cricket team on choking whilst in the midst of a non sexual act (apologies to Hutchence least they were having fun...). And whilst taking forever to bowl out a withered tail (didn’t), know to bowl Yorkers to an English tail IN ENGLAND (sorry for shouting but it’s been a very bad 36 hours.....) (didn’t), bring the field up from the 2nd last ball of EVERY over to choke the strike AND know that you’re wasting a review on an lbw bowled down leg to a lefty etc (woe woe oh bejeezus how could you have done so?) then yes, using the current premiership team as inspiration might, in itself, need reviewing.
What a shite couple of evenings.
If it ever comes up again then I’ll pay the Uber fare from Moscow to London if that would help....but it wouldn’t because Hawthorn proved that alas, they truly have a Master Level coach. And we only have a good one....
Whilst we are also celebrating non-violent assertions and assertive behaviours such as coach sacking and the trade period then can somebody non-violently slap these coaching departments (and the Australian cricket captain) about the head so that they actually try and get across to these players what is EXACTLY required and WHEN in these high pressure situations. And coach them for it.... I’m expecting a bit of that next year from my son’s year 5 team......surely we can have that at an elite level?
It’s not as if they’re not anticipated these elite events for elite players at elite venues.....
Did Ross Lyon skulk into the coaches box?
Did the Australian team wander past a Ladbrokes and collectively say “I wonder what they sell in this shop”?
Geez, I’m filthy on the whole lot of them....
Leave me alone every one.....I’m going back to shout at the least only 4 or 5 fell over in the Spanish Tour the other night unlike the entire Australian Cricket Team leadership group and all of the WCE.... sigh!!


Aug 26, 2019

Eagles secure a week off and the following week they have match practice against the Bombers. So in 3 weeks they come to Melbourne for a tough match which should secure a home prelim which will be NicNat’s return match to set them up for the big one. Darling and Kennedy haven’t shrunk this year. McGovern continues to intercept like he’s the target. Shui, Gaff, Yeo, Hunt (the comp’s best captain). Put down your glasses

Mad Dog

Aug 27, 2019

Fascinating to see how the Victorians and Dockers try to deflect and make excuses for a competition in which the AFL colludes with Richmond in order to cheat.

FAT SIDE: You are hilarious. By your own admission, the kittens would be an inferior team unless they had 17 home games including 7 on the run to the finals. Priceless.


Sep 14, 2019

Mad Dog, you're a numpty. Eagles going well?

Leave a comment

We promise to never share your email with anyone else.