Aug 25, 2020


The Tuesday Knee Jerk Reaction: AFL Round Thirteen


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.


Gold Coast (27) v Carlton (60)

This was a tough watch.

And listen. The commentary oscillated between telling us it was hot in Darwin every few minutes (hot in Darwin? Really? How interesting) and making out the people in the crowd had never seen footy before.

While the commentary was relentless, Gold Coast were not. They didn’t even score a goal until halfway through the second half.

While the Carlton defence was miserly, against disorganised attacking, Carlton’s forwards were the Suns best defenders, booting 7.18.

Harry McKay’s 2.4 deserves special mention, but he was hardly alone in a goalkicking display that would have mattered against a better opponent.

But a Carlton win is still a rare enough thing that their fans would have just been happy to get the victory.

After the match, during the singing of the song was the most Carlton moment, they went into the wrong room to sing the song, meaning the Channel Seven cameras didn’t catch it, but Carlton’s own Instagram account posted it.

It showed Michael Gibbons touching the bottom of an Amazon filmmaker repeatedly, who was there making a documentary.

Whatever you think of the recent spate of groping incidents in the AFL, you have to admit that doing it now shows a spectacular lack of judgement and thinking.

It’s not hard to remember a fairly simple rule, don’t grope someone at work, at least it seems simple, but a lot of people seem to really struggle with it.


Western Bulldogs (80) v Melbourne (52)

It was a result as predictable as it was disappointing for the Demons. Three wins in a row against bad and/or depleted teams gave them that eternal sense of false confidence which is the closest thing to a ‘brand’ they have.

The big difference in this was simply work rate.

The signs were there early on, with the Bulldogs out running and out-competing the Dees at clearances, but Melbourne hung in there until the half.

Then, as is their way, the Dees decided to opt-out of playing the third quarter, which I believe was a tactical mistake.

The Bulldogs gathered 42 more uncontested possessions in the third term, which was due to them being the only team interested in the game.

The result means the Bulldogs take the Dees spot in the eight, and having watched this, they certainly deserve it.

Simon Goodwin looked in the post-match media conference like a man who had just seen Inception and had no clue what to make of it.

Port Adelaide (68) v Hawthorn (58)

“At least we didn’t lose, at least we didn’t lose,” was the mantra Power supporters rocked themselves to sleep to with after this performance.

The Hawks, a heady combination of youth, injuries and not being very good, managed to take one of the top teams in the league right to the edge.

Hawthorn’s performance was very much in the ‘gallant’ category, while Port’s was in the ‘phoning it in’ category.

Last week, the Hawks got a lot of criticism for being overly friendly to their opponents, so this week they were all frowns and angry stares, and it seemed to work somewhat.

The unsociable Hawks is a tag often used, but they’re not elite when it comes to being unsociable.

I mean, I know unsociable, and if you’re truly unsociable, you don’t join a team.

The best thing you can say about Port Adelaide is they won despite playing well below their best.

Sometimes in life, just enough is good enough, but you don’t want to make a habit of it.

Essendon (61) v Richmond (73)

Dreamtime in Darwin certainly gave this game a sense of occasion and Richmond’s inaccuracy even kept the game sort-of-but-not-really close.

Given the Bombers have more injuries than the Pamplona running of the bulls, they did well to stick around in this.

The Bombers weren’t helped by Richmond putting on an Olympic diving contest during the game, with both Dylan Grimes and Nick Vlastuin fined for staging.

The AFL is right to try and stamp out staging by players, it makes umpiring almost impossible, and that’s the AFL’s job.

I don’t know any footy fan who isn’t against staging, even when it’s your own team it annoys and embarrasses you.

This being said, I don’t think calling for players who stage to kill themselves or sending them death threats is a proportionate response.

Probably the best response is to say ‘hey, you seem like a great person and we all make mistakes, and I think staging is one you’ve made and I’m really backing you to not make that same mistake again. Love your work and I hope great things happen for you.’

I also firmly believe that issuing a death threat for staging cheapens death threats. I mean where are you going to go if staging gets one? Save it up for something really worth it.

Like George Lucas ruining Star Wars.

Fremantle (50) v Sydney (19)

While painful to watch at times, the times during all four quarters, for Fremantle there were enough positive to believe they are at least on the right track.

Justin Longmuir seems to have an actual system in place, and there’s genuine young talent.

The Swans, injury-ravaged and fielding a team young enough to require chaperones, never really challenged the Dockers.

Their two goals show how much the Swans have missed Buddy Franklin since he retired.

It was a terrible performance for a team that belted the Giants last week. I’m not sure what happened but it seemed like a completely different team out there.

If I weren’t in lockdown, I wouldn’t have even watched this, but I am and it’s wearing thin.

Being a Melbourne supporter, I never expected to be under house arrest. At worst I thought I’d be in a minimal security prison where they’d be day release for wine trips and TED talks every day.

Any tips from Pies supporters would be appreciated.


Adelaide (37) v Geelong (65)

This should have been a lot easier than it was for Geelong.

The Cats seemed surprised, as were all of us, when the Crows decided to put some effort into their performance.

Geelong were wholly unprepared for such a development, and rightly so, it was like waking up one morning to discover the dog can now speak to you.

It took the Cats almost four quarters to get over the shock, but they finally came to terms with the idea that they’d have to get out of first gear to win.

This they eventually did, extending the Crows rather impressive losing streak.

Not winning in over twelve months is hard to do but Adelaide have made it look easy.

When will their losing streak end? It’s hard to say. It’s like the Melbourne lockdown, you know it has to end eventually but some days you don’t believe it will.

Brisbane (50) v St Kilda (48)

There’s no doubt about it, the Lions have severe goalkicking accuracy problems, and it almost cost them this game.

It seems to be a mental problem, even though footballers often seem to lack the necessary equipment to have those.

Time and again, the Lions butchered chances, they could have been five goals up in the first quarter and kept threatening to break away only to miss again and again.

Eric Hipwood turned in another performance where he managed to be spectacular 25 percent of the time and disappointing the other 75 percent.

Lions fans must be tearing their hair out with frustration. Why do their players hate kicking goals? Most people love kicking them.

The Saints hung around, but it was mainly thanks to Brisbane. They were exposed around the ground, seemingly always a step slower than the Lions.

If they’d pulled off the win, it would have been the biggest steal of the season not involving Carlton.

West Coast (61) v Greater Western Sydney (49)

For a moment it seemed like the Giants were going to be blown out of the water in this one, but they steadied and managed to get back on their terms, which these days is a mildly disappointing loss.

Giants players have been quick to defend their coach saying not all the bad performances can be placed at Leon Cameron’s feet and they’re right 

There’s plenty of blame to go around. The fact this team is sitting in eleventh spot is ridiculous. The players are not honouring the long and storied history of the jumper.

The Giants performance was marred by some costly errors, the biggest being their midfielders mistaking Jeremy McGovern for one of their key forwards 

Time and again they delivered the ball perfectly to him, in fact, it was some of the best delivery to a key forward I’ve seen.

Of course, the fact McGovern plays for West Coast takes some of the gloss off the delivery being provided, but if Leon Cameron could just explain to his midfield the difference between a teammate and an opponent, they could really get back on their feet.

The Eagles major problem now is they head back to a Queensland hub and we all know how much they loved that the first time.

Perhaps the club could play booing in the hub 24/7 to make the players feel more at home.


Collingwood (65) v North Melbourne (35)

There were two problems with this game.

The first was the first half, a terrible display of football in which I seriously questioned why I was watching this and not finishing off season two of The Umbrella Academy.

The second problem was the second half, which saw Collingwood doing well, never a pleasant thing to watch.

North started the game off well, and the Pies looked in trouble, providing the only reason to watch the game.

But then, like a player breaking COVID regulations, the Pies got away and the game was over.

The big difference seemed to be Collingwood adopting a ‘just give it to Scott Pendlebury’ approach.

Pendlebury is so good it’s possible he’s still underrated. His use of the ball is a thing of beauty and he just keeps going.

Man, that felt bad to say. Now I need to have a shower.

With us returning to another block of daily games, I’ll be returning to a daily format again. That won’t drive me mad at all.

At the moment I’m barely able to work, so you can help support me in producing this ridiculous nonsense I churn out on a regular basis. It’s greatly appreciated. Find out more here:


David Parsons

Aug 25, 2020


It was all your fault. I could have strangled you when you tipped the Dees. Surely, surely, surely you know by now that even the tiniest jinx is enough....never tip them again! Do what I do - bet against them to take the edge off!

Pie Man

Aug 25, 2020

I'm a Pies supporter, you came close to a Death Threat.
Lucky you did the running with the bulls joke that made me forget.

The Ghost of Obi-Wan Kenobi

Aug 25, 2020

Titus, you know that George Lucas didn't ruin Star Wars - from a certain point of view.

Snag Cleaver

Aug 25, 2020

Season two of the Umbrella Academy is worth it just for the cars.
And the marvellously anachronistic soundtrack.


Aug 25, 2020

Perhaps if GWS made their forwards wear Jeremy McGovern masks and just do what they did this week they could be really successful? Having said that I'm a Hawthorn supporter and we also seemed to mistake McGovern and Barrass as teammates for most of the game...


Aug 25, 2020

I like the Dees strategy to not play the 3rd quarter, it keeps them fresh for the last quarter. But, the strategy to not play any quarter beggars belief. You don't win a match by winning the toss.

The whole nine

Aug 25, 2020

Exactly the right advice David Parsons. I did that and (incredibly) got $2.40 for the dogs and it brightened up the whole day. Always back against your team, it make losing that much easier to take.

Peter Lake

Aug 25, 2020

Ease up on the Collingwood slagging big fella. I love reading your work but I love Collingwood more. We all know we are not travelling well but things are now on the up and up. I am supremely confident that we will be in a Grand Final soon....... Oh, hang on we are still in 2020 aren't we. So around 2022 should see us there.


Aug 25, 2020

'It seems to be a mental problem, even though footballers often seem to lack the necessary equipment to have those.' Well that's extremely unfair on Wayne 'the toilet duck' Carey.

Oh, and booing is for sooks. Freo should make it a point of pride not to boo just to show how pathetic eagles supporters are.

p.s. I love watching Pendlebury and I'm a richmond supporter. Such a cool, classy player.

The g train

Aug 25, 2020

I used to feel that a bad game of footy was still better than a good episode of Beecham. But now it’s a close call. Seven dreary low scoring games and one fairly good low scoring game. The current coaching philosophy is that he who concedes the lesser number of goals wins. The Malcolm Blight philosophy was always he who scores the greater number of goals wins. So my solution to the lack of scoring is to make Malcolm Blight the coach of all 18 AFL teams. There’d be a few minor issues to iron out first—such as what happens when two teams play each other? And would Malcolm be prepared to take on such a demanding role? But I think it could work.

Pinghan Chua

Aug 25, 2020

'Like George Lucas ruining Star Wars' - haven't belly-laughed in a long time, thanks Titus!

Bruce Munday

Aug 25, 2020

Titus, can you explain what happened to that half-acre in the centre of Adel Oval - is it COVID quarantined? No-one was prepared to go near it, instead the game was played in that narrow strip just in reach of the boundary umps throws. This is an alarming development as the umps can barely throw it over their heads these days with the result the game (is that the word?) is becoming a rolling maul punctuated by throw-ins (just) and throw-ups,


Aug 25, 2020

'There’s no doubt about it, the Lions have severe goalkicking accuracy problems, and it almost cost them this game.

It seems to be a mental problem, even though footballers often seem to lack the necessary equipment to have those.'

On the days where I need a laugh, you deliver. Thanks Titus.

Pope Paul VII

Aug 25, 2020

Hey Titz. When you say "touching the bottom of an Amazon filmmaker" do you mean someone from the Amazon, A mythical warrior woman or someone from the organisation that owns and sells everything? Or all three?


Aug 25, 2020

'They didn’t even score a goal until halfway through the second half' .... wouldn't that be the 3/4 time break?

andrew hodder

Aug 26, 2020

I'm with you Peter Lake:
"Ease up on the Collingwood slagging big fella. I love reading your work but I love Collingwood more."
I mean what's not to love? Admittedly a few decades ago there was some isolated racial abuse...Nicky Winmar, Robbie Muir, et al. But that was in the dark ages under the likes of Allen McAllister. Since then, Collingwood have been transformational under the racially liberating tutelage of Eddie M. On and off the field, they continue to set new benchmarks.

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