Apr 19, 2022


The Tuesday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Five


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.


Brisbane (98) v Collingwood (91)

Collingwood showed once again they are very good at almost winning.

Pies fans would be well over media reports describing them as ‘plucky’ or ‘brave’ or ‘hard working’.

Fans like to hear phrases like ‘got the four points’, ‘constant, almost monotonous winning’ and ‘another percentage boosting victory’ about their team.

Injuries in their forward line posed some difficult questions at match selection for Collingwood, unfortunately, ‘Mason Cox’ was not the correct answer, but Pies fans already knew that; it’s concerning their coach did not.

After starting the season 2-0, the Pies have now lost three in a row and they face Essendon in the Anzac Day clash, and you just know Essendon will try something new in that game, like trying. 

As for Brisbane, they continued on their merry way but didn’t exactly dominate.

Perhaps the most surprising moment was when Harris Andrews got a fifty-metre penalty for gesturing slightly with his arms while standing on the mark.

It was judged he’d demonstrated his displeasure with the umpire. I shouldn’t say it was ‘surprising’ as I’ve watched AFL all my life and weird interpretations of the rules is very on-brand.

Many people are calling for a 25-metre penalty for such instances but be careful what you wish for. Give the AFL a chance to tinker and they’ll take it too far.

Soon we’ll have five-metre penalties, ten-metre penalties and a weird 17-metre penalty.


North Melbourne (71) v Western Bulldogs (139)

The traditional crucifixion of the North Melbourne Football Club occurred on Friday and continued after it.

Calls to strip them of this ‘blockbuster’ slot rang out again with a predictability that’s depressing.

Why shouldn’t North Melbourne get one solitary blockbuster? Are we applying football outcomes for blockbusters now?

How do Essendon, a team as familiar with finals as I am with female companionship get one then?

Melbourne certainly shouldn’t have hung on to the Queen’s birthday clash in the recent past.

That’s not even a complete list. I mean, should Port be allowed to play in the Showdown?

Sure, the big clubs attract bigger crowds, but giving only them the key spots seems to just lock that in, rather than try to grow all the clubs.

Stripping North of the only chance they get to make some cash seems an odd way to get them to improve and despite the views of many, they are a legitimate AFL club.

Plus, if we pull this from North, how are the Bulldogs going to bank an easy four points each year?

West Coast (58) v Sydney (121)

I’m old enough to remember when playing West Coast in Perth was as terrifying as a clown.

Unlike clowns, playing in Perth is no longer scary.

Rushing Luke Shuey, Tim Kelly and Elliot Yeo back into the team didn’t really work, but in fairness, West Coast currently have as many good options as Vladimir Putin.

The Swans were without Lance Franklin and Tom Papley but managed to cover this by playing the Eagles.

Any early concerns over the Swans forward line were put to bed early, when in a rather embarrassing oversight, Sydney booted eight goals before West Coast realised the game had started.

The good news for Eagles fans is that while the first half was horrendous, the second half was ever so slightly less horrendous.


St Kilda (87) v Gold Coast (61)

Brendon Lade filled in for Brett Ratten due to the old health and safety protocols.

I love that they’re called ‘health and safety protocols’.

They could have been just called ‘health protocols’ but you just know someone in the AFL called a two-hour meeting to argue for the addition of ‘safety’ and with a thirty slide PowerPoint presentation as to why it was important.

But it is interesting that the fill-in coaches are five-from-five this season, finally proving my long-held theory that head coaches are completely pointless and are just a job creation program for ex-players.

Coach or no coach, St Kilda have won four in a row and are now third on the ladder.

Saints fans aren’t falling for this trap so early in the season. The ones I’ve spoken to are not taking the bait that this is the real deal, but they’re not unhappy.  

I haven’t spoken to any Suns fans, for obvious reasons, but I imagine they feel like they always do.

Adelaide (101) v Richmond (82)

Trent Cotchin may have kicked Taylor Walker, but highlights were few and far between for the Tigers.

Walker booted five goals, in a display that shows a six-match racism ban can do you a world of good and may be considered by other veterans.

It wasn’t all good news for the Crows, with Rory Sloane going off with an ACL injury.

Sloane said afterwards, “for me at 32 doing a knee is not ideal.”

Now that’s underselling it. For me, ‘not ideal’ is when I make a cup of tea, then sit down on the couch, then realise I left it in the kitchen.

As for Richmond, they struggled to defend. Gone are the days when they would choke a team. Now at best it’s some occasional light smothering.

I still think there’s the core of a good side there, but it’s time for some tough decisions to be made, which sounds exhausting.

Melbourne (120) v Greater Western Sydney (53)

Toby Greene is going to have to do an awful lot upon his return to turn around the Giants.

Against Melbourne, the surprising thing was the ease at which the Giants were left behind when Melbourne decided it was time to pull away.

The ten-goal third quarter was like watching a Ferrari drag race a kid on a tricycle.

The only thing left to talk about for the Giants is who will coach them next year? It’s a big decision for the AFL, I mean ‘the Giants Board’.

For Dees fans, there’s still so much novelty in watching a side that is really, really good.

Even executing basic things well still surprises me, and then you have momentary moments of brilliance and I have to pinch myself this is not a dream.

I can say to anyone whose team is struggling, hang in there, when it comes together it’s worth it.


Carlton (94) v Port Adelaide (91)

I’ve never barracked for Port Adelaide before.

It was a strange experience and has required several showers since, but the humour value of Carlton giving up a 49-point lead during the Comedy Festival was just too high.

It really seemed like it was going to happen too, and Blues fans weren’t surprised, they’re now used to their team blowing sizable leads, what they’re less used to is their team still winning.

A Carlton side that wins regularly is like waking up to find someone staring at you, it’s creepy, unnatural and leaves you disconcerted for the next week.

Port Adelaide should be applauded for their fight back, but at the same time, they played the first half like, well, they didn’t play the first half.

Just imagine though, if they had won, they would be now sitting on 1-4. Oh, that’s not good either.

Ken Hinkley says he’s still bullish on Port Adelaide’s finals hopes. He must be on more drugs than all the people at Coachella combined. 

Essendon (59) v Fremantle (107)

It was in the third quarter you could hear the crowd turn. I know that sound, it’s the sound I get when I show up at an event. It’s frustration leading to outright anger.

And you can understand why.

As the Bombers faithful watched on, their team rolled over like a puppy wanting a rub on its belly.

A six goals to zero third quarter left the Essendon fans with that horrible realisation that the James Hird era was the highpoint of the past two decades.

Perhaps at the top of the list of Essendon’s problems is the fact their defence is not a defence but more a welcoming committee for the opposition’s forwards.

Matt Taberner enjoyed his stay immensely in Essendon’s defence, helping himself to seven goals.

Essendon’s poor showing shouldn’t take away from Fremantle’s performance. They are a rock-solid team in a league with not many of them.

Seeing Melbourne and Fremantle occupy the top two spots on the ladder is like seeing a Yeti, so rare no one will believe you.


Hawthorn (92) v Geelong (80)

The Easter Monday game always produces a good game, regardless of where the two teams are on the ladder.

Geelong would be not thrilled by this.

Last week, Hawthorn were destroyed by St Kilda on the MCG, in a manner so brutal even UFC fans averted their eyes.

This week they beat Geelong to just mess with everyone’s tips.

Again, we had another 50-meter penalty for umpire dissent after Tom Mitchell and Jack Gunston raised their arms in protest.

All this arm raising is out of control.

It’s weird that the AFL have stuffed up the implementation of a new rule, they’re usually so slick with this kind of stuff.

And then we had Tom Hawkins, launch himself into the air like a ballerina to get a free kick for a push in the back that wasn’t there.

There are astronauts who haven’t travelled as far as Hawkins did.

I’m not sure what photos Hawkins has of the umpires, but they must be pretty damning.

He gets free kicks for staging and then doesn’t give away free kicks when he infringes.

It didn’t get the Cats across the line though, this wasn’t played in Geelong.

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




Apr 19, 2022

Hey, I don't read this column for thoughtful, fact driven commentary regarding the hysteria around North's Good Friday fixturing. Lift your game Titus.

Doggy Dancer

Apr 19, 2022

"Someone in the AFL called a two-hour meeting to argue for the addition of ‘safety’ and with a thirty slide PowerPoint presentation as to why it was important." Careful Titus... you have almost given away the fact you have an inside mole at AFL house. How else would you get such accurate information on a regular basis.

Dave Clacton

Apr 19, 2022

Hasn't the arts community suffered enough through COVID let alone Hawkins taking up thespian pursuits without paying his equity dues?


Apr 19, 2022

Hawkins has spent too much time near Selwood, and now all the football world's a stage...


Apr 19, 2022

The question yet to be answered is: Which of the 7 teams that are 4-1, or better, will forget to play in the next 10 games and drop out of the 8?

Sorry, I thought this was a serious column for a second. The real question is which of those teams will collapse in a heap and curse the supporters to a living hell? St. Kilda are a good chance, but so are Fremantle and Carlton based on past years. The worst part of that is that Collingwood are the team best poised to take advantage. And that's not good for most of us.


Apr 19, 2022

In addition to doing it to every opponent he has ever "played on" (ie stood behind), has Tom Hawkins now mastered the art of pushing himself in the back?


Apr 19, 2022

We thoroughly enjoyed your commentary Titus.
Re blockbuster matches, I would like to see them shared around because there are some clubs that never get any.

Keith Martine

Apr 19, 2022

Hullo Titus, your usual high standard, thanks. Did you think Walker's push in the back of Tarrant the artistic equivalent of a Hawkins launch?


Apr 19, 2022

Hawkins was given photos by a Kiwi of the umpires' end of season trip across the ditch. BAAAA!

The g train

Apr 19, 2022

StK 2022 is the Melbourne of 2021. I can just feel in my gut. And the gut always knows best. You might say that defeating The Suns by only a handy margin is no big deal, but it’s a different Gold Coast this season.

People bag Gil a lot, but at last his leadership is delivering and responsible for high scoring games. Sure, GWS is doing their bit by abandoning all forms of defence. But give credit where credit is due—Gil has got us there, if only in the nick of time.


Apr 19, 2022

Be nice to West Coast. They did at least show up and ran out onto the ground. Granted they forgot what to do next and only remembered after half time thanks to Simmo saying something. Well they did remember for a quarter.

Running Dog

Apr 19, 2022

I don't understand the concept of being terrified by clowns. The other day I saw a nun jump on the back of Tom 'The Clown' Hawkins, just to be charitable, so he could get a free kick. Far from being scary I thought it was virgin on the ridiculous.

Beau Morris of Beaumaris

Apr 19, 2022

Not sure if the original dive bomber, Matthew Lloyd was on commentary, but even he would be surely impressed with Hawkins’ antics.


Apr 19, 2022

Do the Suns actually have fans? Outside of AwFuL House, that is?


Apr 19, 2022

The Blues are playing like the Dickensian Tale of two Cities.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…
But as a true Blue if we can keep banking 4 points I will go full Oliver Twist, “please sir, can i have some more?”


Apr 19, 2022

Who would want to be an AFL field umpire in this day and age?


Apr 19, 2022

That Hawkins dive was stunning. I wonder if he is proud of himself. I also wonder how the moronic umpires concluded he was pushed in the back when he was flying sideways, makes no sense.
Now Mr Walker of the racist comments is complaining about Cotchin raising his foot in self defense. Walker had just tried to knock Cotchin's head off with his elbow and fell backwards lifting his foot, and Walker reckons he should get a month? So, you are saying self defence is on a par with racism? Shows what he really thinks.

Geoff Mostyn

Apr 19, 2022

It is rumoured that NASA are to send rocket experts to attend Geelong matches to study Tomahawk's unique method of propulsion.

Con Cushion

Apr 19, 2022

Turn it up Titus ....... Umpire makes a decision, then looks at the culprit and says "come on give me your best" .... culprit roars at him "you're a f ...... g, wa .... ker who's grandmother wears army boots".. Umpire immediately escorts player 50m down the field for descent, all the time asking culprit how he knows said grandmother. If however said culprit complements the umpire on the decision and requests business card of umpire's optometrist or even beautician, no 50m penalty incurred. AFL determine interchange as positive, social chit chat. Eliminating grey areas is not hard Titus! Con.


Apr 19, 2022

Thanks Titus. As a fellow Dee I suffer from MFCSS. I believe it’s incurable! Over Easter I have heard 17 teams being discussed but the almost complete absence of demon commentary is making me wonder is MFC is a figment of my imagination. One discussion today was on effort. No mention of a certain Tom Sparrow kicking the ball from the backline, following it up and regaining possession in the forward pocket and with a last gasp effort punching it to Spargo for a goal. Oh and I forgot the Dees were 72 points ahead!!!


Apr 19, 2022

Yes, it is time to take the Showdown off Port 😆


Apr 19, 2022

Well said Titus. Thoughtful, fact driven commentary regarding North's Good Friday fixturing needs more air. North haters can go get f...

Phil knight

Apr 19, 2022

Meter American? Metre Australian cheers Titus

Mac Hawk

Apr 19, 2022

I assure you, Titus, unlike Hawkins now, Vladimir Putin has many more cards to play.


Apr 19, 2022

“I imagine they feel like they always do” - surely you can ask both of them?


Apr 19, 2022

Funny how Dave the tiger supporter sees things differently to the match review panel.cotchin tried to kick walker deliberately and was rightly fined for his indiscretion.


Apr 19, 2022

The James Hird era (the first 15 years anyway) was absolutely the highlight! We had no idea at that point how low we could go and how long the drought would be :(


Apr 19, 2022

I still think daniher is the queen of diving,saw it in all its glory on the weekend

Bill FitzGerald

Apr 20, 2022

Entertaining as ever Titus as are the clever responses!!


Apr 20, 2022

BIG FELLA i am with you on the kangas getting a stand alone game because all the people saying take good friday off them want to give the day to powerful clubs like the blues/bombers/tigers/black and white filth.As if those clubs need another handoutjesus it would be like the red cross having to explain where the cash goes ? well the giants did run the game out against the dees and they will get better with toby back (for how long ?)..I too get flustered by all the pundits saying how far behind the dees all the other teams are i am slowly getting used to being called the best team in the league and the reigning premier in the same conversation with THE MIGHTY DEES being spoken about.We are not unbeatable but jesus i am going to enjoy the ride..GO DEES

Bob Dobbalina

Apr 20, 2022

Dave, tell us you're a Richmond supporter without saying you're a Richmond supporter.

Merlin’s Mother

Apr 20, 2022

Dear Patti - RE: “There are some teams that never get any”

It is alleged that there are some blokes that never get any - but who am I to spell that out to the good readers of this column?

I am watching Footy Classifieds - which means I have stayed up way too late for anyone’s good. The footy commentary is pretty ordinary but I do like Caroline’s nice blue dress 👗

Shocked to say I agree with that Collingwood chap - Cotchin was just trying to protect himself- he hasn’t finished having children yet and it would have been disastrous if Big Bad Tex had fallen on the family jewels.

Fascinated by Caros report on AFLW but not as interesting as her frock (am I showing my age or is she).

Back to the Men’s Department- Stephen May is playing the house down- give that man an awesome Coffee Machine - NOW!!!!!!!

Darren J Ray

Apr 20, 2022

You're a gift to our footy weeks, Titus. And some of the comments are fun, too.