Aug 23, 2021


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.


Western Bulldogs (64) v Port Adelaide (66)

Well, that was a rather hectic end to the regular season, like a mad scramble in a game of musical chairs.

When the music stopped, only eight teams remained and weirdly, Essendon were one of them.

The Doggies would have liked the music to have stopped three weeks ago, before this three-game losing streak they’re on and before they proved Port Adelaide can beat a top team.

Things started off well for them, they led by 22 points in the first quarter, but like all things these days, the longer it went on, the more difficult it got.

Port Adelaide came into this with more baggage than most of us bring into a relationship. If there was a top team, the Power has proven they can lose to them.

It fell to the old firm of Travis Boak, Ollie Wines and Robbie Gray to change this.

In the dying stages, it was Port’s leaders who lead, which is a novel approach but seemed to work for them.

For the Doggies, the outcome couldn’t be worse, they had to rely on West Coast to keep them in the top four. That went as well as you’d expect.


Richmond (83) v Hawthorn (83)

Less a game and more an opportunity to say goodbye.

For Richmond fans, it was a chance to farewell David Astbury and Bachar Houli (who didn’t play but got chaired off).

Quite good players there, and Tigers supporters would be well within rights to be very emotional.

Being part of a team that turned Richmond from a laughingstock into a powerhouse is perhaps the greatest accomplishment ever achieved in the history of humanity.

Hawthorn fans would have been emotional too, with Shaun Burgoyne saying goodbye.

Burgoyne’s had the career every one of us dreamt about when we were kids, and he did it all while also being a nice person. Even his role in securing Hawthorn three premierships, traumatic experiences for us all, hasn’t stopped me admiring him.

While players retiring is always sad, it’s part of the game. What isn’t part of the game is sacking a coach who has won more premierships than any other current coach.

Is it a good decision? Probably not. The fact it’s made every opposition fan happy isn’t a great sign.

Sydney (136) v Gold Coast (49)

There may be no pre-final bye, but that didn’t mean the Swans didn’t get one anyway.

The Suns certainly live up to their name each season.

Like the real Sun, the Suns aren’t very strong in winter.

On Saturday, it was obvious Gold Coast were not exactly highly motivated, what with nothing on the line.

Ben King was good and Touk Miller again carried his team as far as he could, but the Suns finish the season the same as they’ve always been, and that’s not a good thing.

The Swans used the match to tune up. Buddy Franklin did this nicely booting six-goals.

Seven wins in their last eight matches makes the Swans a team no one will be keen to face in the Finals, especially on their home ground, the University of Tasmania Stadium.

Brisbane (125) v West Coast (87)

There was a remote chance of West Coast making the finals, but luckily for the football viewing public and the Eagles themselves, that didn’t happen.

The Eagles did have the chance to make life difficult for the Lions, who need to make up 0.1 per cent to finish in the four.

This really made the live ladder come into its own.

I was in shock Channel Seven didn’t have the live ladder taking up nine-tenths of the screen with the actual footy in a tiny box in the corner.

Brisbane never looked like losing this game, but the 0.1 percentage point seemed as elusive as true love or finding your car keys when you’re running late.

A big reason was Nic Naitanui, who seemed to have not read the memo that the Eagles’ season was shot.

At the start of the fourth quarter Jamie Cripps kicked the two first goals and it seemed the Lions had no chance of finishing in the top four.

But the Lions lifted, and when Lincoln McCarthy's managed a behind in the dying seconds, Brisbane had got their 0.1 percentage point.

Who says maths isn’t exciting?

Geelong (77) v Melbourne (81)

A bit to unpack here.

The Cats blew the Demons apart so easily in the second quarter, with a run of nine unanswered goals, that I thought not only was the Dees season effectively over, and so was any chance at happiness I’d ever have.

It just seemed like Melbourne had just forgotten to come out for the second quarter, something teams of previous years did quite regularly.

It got to the point that in the third quarter, Geelong had a 44-point lead and Melbourne supporters felt that old inferiority complex rising to the fore.

But this Melbourne team is not like Melbourne teams of the last few decades.

It’s got a heart, a spine and all the other vital organs.

There was a surprising lack of panic. The Dees just stuck to their game plan of tight, accountable footy. There had been a wobble, but now they just needed to get back to work.

Of course, that’s not how I felt at the time. Unlike the Dees players, I was rage sulking, although I do that a lot in lockdown.

While the Dees were getting back to playing at their standard, led magnificently by Max Gawn and Clayton Oliver, the Cats seemed to be fading.

Yet with a 32-point lead at three quarter time, Geelong should have been able to pilot the ship home.

The fourth quarter though was all the Dees, and numerous Cats had gone missing.

One look at me and you can tell I’m no expert on fitness, but the Cats seemed out on their feet, and key players spent a lot of time off the field, Patrick Dangerfield being the main one.

Nothing summed up Geelong’s woes more than when Jeremy Cameron and Lachie Henderson collided going for a loose ball, taking not only each other out, but also a probable goal.

The last two minutes had everything as Geelong tried to hold off the Dees.

Umpires made good and bad calls, depending on who you barrack for, and then it ended up in Max Gawn’s hands when the siren went and all he had to do was kick straight for the minor premiership.

It is the most exciting Demons victory I have ever seen, and I’ll never forgive the fake Geelong crowd for drowning out Max Gawn’s post-match interview.

Carlton (75) v Greater Western Sydney (89)

Carlton said goodbye to Eddie Betts in their traditional way, by losing.

It’s a shame because Eddie is a true champion of the game. In fact, there is no greater compliment I can give Eddie Betts than to note he played for Carlton and Adelaide, and I still really like him.

This was a little tighter than the Giants would have liked, with inaccurate goalkicking making this appear closer than it really was.

Luckily for the Giants, Carlton’s skill errors offset their poor goalkicking.

For all the weirdness going on at Carlton, playing Paddy Cripps was a strange one. He had seventeen possessions but wouldn’t kick the ball, only handball, before being subbed out in the third quarter.

It’s almost as if running a star player into the ground creates bad outcomes.

The Blues are likely to get a new coach soon, and I would recommend a complete rebranding.

They should move away from the Carlton name for something with a better reputation. I hear the AstraZeneca brand is now free.


St Kilda (107) v Fremantle (49)

Knowing finals were potentially on the line for Fremantle and nothing was on the line for St Kilda explains this result.

The Dockers seemed to have less interest in this match than I did. St Kilda though seemed super keen to help get Essendon into the finals, something Essendon teams of the past two decades haven’t been interested in.

Fremantle missed Adam Cerra who withdrew from this game and from the entire club.

Despite the result, the Dockers did stick to their ‘brand’, woeful goalkicking, booting 6.13.

It was a disappointing end for Fremantle’s season and a disappointing season for St Kilda, but on the plus side, let’s hope when these two play again their fans will all be able to go see it.

Essendon (102) v Collingwood (64)

The minute Fremantle lost, I lost all interest in this game, as it seemed did Collingwood.

Essendon players already knew they were in the finals, so the main priority was to do enough to get selected for next week, but also not get injured.

Bombers fans were overjoyed, because there is nothing better than not sucking, and your club achieving something.

Collingwood’s real season starts now. They need new players, a new coach and probably a new board, but not necessarily the alternative on offer.

Can they turn it around this offseason? I think the most Collingwood fans can hope for is they don’t do themselves further damage.

Adelaide (98) v North Melbourne (54)

How to make an illusion shaker: 

45 mL Midori

15 mL Vodka

15 mL Cointreau or Triple Sec

45 mL Pineapple Juice

15 mL Lemon Juice


1.    Fill a cocktail shaker with ice

2.    Add all the ingredients

3.    Shake thoroughly

4.    Strain over fresh ice into a glass

You can help support me in producing this ridiculous nonsense I churn out on a regular basis. Find out more here:



Peter Young

Aug 23, 2021

It's funny you never comment on the Crows. Unless you are a Crows supporter.


Aug 23, 2021

The Doggies would have liked the music to have stopped..... just like the time clock at the Brisbane - Wet Toast game. Which has cost the Dogs a top 4 place. Another AFL mistook and they just look the other way......


Aug 23, 2021

Tutus - you have no sensitvity for the English language. Astrazeneka has 5 vowels. Pfizer is a much better nickname for Carlton.


Aug 23, 2021

What is Triple Sec?


Aug 23, 2021

It's an omen for the Dees. West Coast came back from nine goals down midway through the third term against the pussies in 06.


Aug 23, 2021

The fickle hand of fate had a big say in the final wash up for the home and away season. Kardinia Park may be state of the art as stadia in the regions go, but the laundry is strictly hand wash and wringer only. Brad Scott's twin post-match media conference did attempt to put some positive spin on his team's finals chances, but the dirty laundry of Geelong's last quarter comedy capers capitulation won't go away.

The g train

Aug 23, 2021

Yes, the Freo v StK game was the perfect metaphor for working life. When you have all the skills to be able to perform really well, then expectation and pressure often destroys you. But if there’s no pressure and you just play for joy whilst still making sure your employer gets more than their money’s worth, you can deliver really, really good outcomes. So all you stress inducing micro-managers—just stop it! Allow your skilled staff to work with joy and freedom and you’ll get a magnificent outcome.

According to mathematical quantum mechanics, future events can effect the past. So is it still mathematically possible that StK can make the finals? If not, then this will be StK’s earliest exit from an AFL season since 2019.


Aug 23, 2021

Hasn't anyone noticed that if Richmond had scored one more point than Hawthorn they would have finished 9th again ?


Aug 23, 2021

Touk Miller should be a smokey for the Brownlow. #1 on every teams shopping list.

Vic Parkes

Aug 23, 2021

Is it 'led' or is it 'lead'? I know. I can never remember. Except it's 'led' - past tense of the verb to lead. Lead is heavy, grey stuff they make fishing sinkers out of. You're welcome.


Aug 23, 2021

I've never been much of a crows fan but I did like your blokes relegating the pies to 2nd last.

Belinda Adams

Aug 23, 2021

As a bookkeeper Titus, I can say that maths is definitely fun and interesting! Add that I'm a Lions fan and that match made for fun but tense times. Bring on finals!

Kafka’s Ghost

Aug 23, 2021

I can’t wait to try out that Illusion Shaker cocktail. It’ll be just the thing for the long, off-season lockdown weekends.


Aug 23, 2021

Titus,as a Crows supporter I object to your biased Victorian views of my team.However can you tell me how many flags have the dees won in the last 50 years as opposed to how many the Crows have won?

Mac Hawk

Aug 23, 2021

G-Train - love it. Same goes for viral fear I reckon.

Jim Tilbrook's cheque

Aug 23, 2021

Yet another outstanding analysis Titus. Once more, the only sports commentary that stimulates a discussion ranging from string theory one month, to quantum mechanics the next. G train is correct that quantum physics has demonstrated that retrocausality is a thing; future events can affect (not effect) the past. Sadly, the same theoretical construct states that reality does not exist if you are not looking at it, at least at a quantum level. Given that no Melbourne supporters could actually watch Max's final kick did it really occur? Is it possible that watching the replay of the final quarter over and over on Kayo was actually what made it real?

Having said that, there is no branch of science - past present or future - to explain the 'Deliberate Out of Bounds' decision against Brayshaw. But, in an alternate reality, where the correct decision was made, would Jake Lever have got the subsequent 50m penalty? The universe remains a mystery and the AFL does not help resolve it.

Blue boy

Aug 23, 2021

Well, coming from 44 points down to win a home and away game is a brilliant achievement but has there ever been a team amazing enough to overcome a deficit like that in the pressure of a Grand Final? If there was, they’d have to be the greatest team ever to run on to the MCG.

Across the Face

Aug 23, 2021

"The universe remains a mystery and the AFL does not help resolve it."

I'd venture to assert that the AFL remains a mystery and the universe does not help resolve it.!


Aug 23, 2021

I am paying you how much a month to have my side, Adelade, either ignored or ridiculed? By the way, that drink was delicious! I might have it every weekend next season :)


Aug 23, 2021

Aah big fella I said at half time the DEES were still in it.what I didn't see coming was danger taking Dan's 9.oo curfew as gospel he did nothing after 9.00pm . Anyway yes there were some odd decisions like the early one against may for not trying to keep the ball in after he slid into the balls area. There were others that confused me but I am even more confused in lockdown. I have said all year get on the DEES and ENJOY the ride.this is a new season now so the cost of the ride goes up but just hang on and ENJOY THE RIDE.. GO DEES

Pat Connor

Aug 23, 2021

Right on Leon and Croweater, even Titus from his lofty position at the top of the MCG remember Adelaide is just over the border. I will say it now Adelaide will win a premiership before MFC.

Andy Maher is still a fraud

Aug 23, 2021

Thanks for a few laughs this season Titus.
"Carlton said goodbye to Eddie Betts in their traditional way, by losing"
And the last game at Princes Park
And Marc Murphy's last game.
Bluesman here, but keep sending them up.
Funny stuff, the idiots deserve it!
Maybe the new president can cheer us up, he did a good job a couple of months ago.


Aug 23, 2021

No kind words Daniel Talia, Tom Lynch or David McKay, huh? Shame.

Those blokes deserved better treatment than the Crows gave them and now you can't be bothered either. Not that I believe they know who you are, but all this wanking over Buddy and Dangerfield who will both be back next season, your hard on for Bachar Houli, David Astbury and Eddie Betts, but no mention of Crows players.

Stay Klazzy, Titus.

Robin Aukett

Aug 23, 2021

You write good about bits of the footy Titus, but just like Mick Molloy you lose interest before you get to the Crows. If we ever let you into South Australia again (unlikekely), don’t come.


Aug 23, 2021

I love miraculous comebacks. That’s what makes this game great


Aug 23, 2021

Titus, thanks for another fantastic home and away season of scintillating repartee! The last round reminds me of 1987, when all positions in the final five (remember that?) remained up for grabs - with dying minute goals to the Hawks denying the Cats (at Kardinia Park!), the Demons beating the Dogs at the Kennel (no I wont remind you about the Preliminary Final), but the Blues pinched top spot with a last minute goal (which likely handed them the Premiership). Could the same thing have happened 34 years later?
I must admit I have hated Melbourne for technically voting themselves out of existence in 1996 just to put a Hawks symbol on the Demons jumper (yeah, right - how long would that have lasted), in what was clearly a takeover. As such, I have enjoyed the pain and suffering of the Demons supporters, However, Titus, you have given me a reason, for the first time in my life, to yell GO DEES!


Aug 23, 2021

It’s interesting how people judge Port Adelaide and continually say they can’t beat a top 4 side. Melbourne finished just 2 points in front of Port Adelaide to finish top. This after 22 home and away games. Now the slate is clean. Bring on the finals.


Aug 23, 2021

Doc, since the Dogs slid to 5th, Port Adelaide still haven't beaten a top 4 side :)
I know you can only beat who you are drawn against, but with double up games against StKilda (10th), Carlton (13th), Adelaide (15th) and Collingwood (17th) and a 2 point victory against the rapidly fading Dogs, you can see why people are still questioning whether Port are the real deal.
Good luck for proving the doubters wrong!


Aug 23, 2021

Q: What’s the difference between Melbourne and Richmond?
A: Geelong choke against Richmond in finals.


Aug 23, 2021

Early Crow Maybe?!
Another good wrap Titus. But don't forget, the Demons are capable of two consecutive losses during the pressure of finals. You may end up using that cocktail recipe yourself! Enjoy the ride.

Dee charlay

Aug 23, 2021

Blueboy, I'll go beyond your subtlety - in 1970 that great demon Ron Barassi told the then blueboys to handball handball handball like their lives depended on it, and they did - came fron 44 points down to crunch Collingwood in a superb grand final.

aaron ward

Aug 24, 2021

and I’ll never forgive the fake Geelong crowd for drowning out Max Gawn’s post-match interview. Just couldn't believe that they ran the crowd noise over the interview, so like the Geelong supports in the box.

Running Dog

Aug 24, 2021

Gonna make an Illusion Shaker, to help get over my rage sulking at why the Dogs started tanking so late. What is 'rage sulking' anyway, another febrile moral panic animating post-moderns, like 'fat shaming', or 'culturally appropriating'? Maybe the triple sec will inspire a few double entendres. More likely that a double triple sec is why I'm single and can't count my drinks. At least alcohol makes maths more exciting.

Jacqui Parry

Aug 24, 2021

I love our Big Hearted Steven May for his words to Max Gawn as he lined up for the post siren shot at goal and glory “What ever happens Max, we will still love you “. What a wonderful thing to say to your Skipper- Maysy is a legend. I was wondering what Greg Stafford was thinking at the time- I think we should ask him!!

But surely there would have been some amongst us zoning our inner Harry “Breaker” Morant?? Max has probably never heard of The Breaker - being a Kiwiphile - and all apologies to Sandra because Max was definitely born in wedlock- but you get my drift.

Can’t wait to see what else happens in the finals series- as Max has acknowledged- the youngsters have an incredible will to win!!

Floreat Pica

Aug 24, 2021

Plenty of salt in the Crows fans' diet, I see.
@Vic, its poor form to end a sentence with a preposition. You're welcome.
Thanks for the season Titus, and yes, damage control issues about all one can wish for as a Pies supporter.