Andrew Voss tackles six big talking points from the week that was in rugby league.
1. Did Andrew Fifita owe it to Sharks to re-sign?
The big bloke doesn't owe the club a damn thing, and I firmly believe club captain Paul Gallen was out of line with his thoughts on Fifita's impending departure to the Bulldogs next season.
Interviewed on Triple M, Gallen spoke openly about how Andrew had told him the Sharks "had come within $50,000" of matching the Bulldogs' offer.
Seriously … Do you think when Andrew Fifita confided in his captain with this bit of information he expected it to be relayed to the public?
Gallen threw in the line, "Andrew must have wanted to leave the club in my opinion".
It wasn't delivered in a nasty fashion, but I believe it was a fairly petty remark and an off-the-cuff opinion best kept to himself.
Discussing teammates' money in public is a no go. Even if there was just $50,000 difference in offers between Canterbury and Cronulla, over four years that's $200,000. Hardly loose change.
And here are the facts.
Fifita wasn't without a club and desperate when he was traded to the Sharks by the Tigers for the 2012 season. It was part of a deal to take Bryce Gibbs off the Wests Tigers' hands.
He has been superb for Cronulla ever since, appearing in 48 matches.
He's not a local junior. There is nothing, on any level, that needs to be 'repaid' to the Sharks by Fifita.
Business is business. And Fifita will earn $200K more at a traditionally strong club. Good luck to him I say.
2. How good have the 2014 rule changes been?
Captains zipped from arguing with referees. The dangerous 'cannonball' tackle is being weeded out. And what about the consistency we now have with time-outs in the final five minutes?
The success of the new rules was reflected in the final five of last Saturday night's Melbourne/Penrith match. With the clock stopping after points were scored, it mattered not how slow teams walked back to half-way for restarts.
We ended up witnessing three field goals and a penalty shot from Peter Wallace in an absolutely thrilling finish.
Put simply, there just wouldn't have been time for this to happen under the old rules.
3. Is Sam Tomkins going to make it in the NRL?
Yes he will.
But he might have a few more tough days like last Saturday at Eden Park ahead of him if his team continues to misfire.
Talent without desire produces performances like the Warriors' over the opening two rounds.
Tomkins isn't physically big but that didn't stop him scoring 144 tries in the UK.
He could probably play a little more direct, and perhaps a study of his countryman Gareth Widdop's game for the Dragons wouldn't be such a bad idea.
St George Illawarra's defence out wide was just too good for the Warriors and Tomkins' game in attack suffered as a result.
I'll back him to be a matchwinner, but turning the Warriors around at the moment will take more than just one man.
4. How much is Luke Brooks worth?
Put it this way… if he was a company, I'd like to be a shareholder.
Comparisons in style with Andrew Johns after just three NRL games is about as high in praise as you can get.
He's just a kid. But so was Benji Marshall when he first came in to first grade. He was part of a grand final-winning team just over two years later.
More recently, albeit a little older, Daly Cherry-Evans won a premiership in his first year, and didn't miss a game.
Star playmakers are like gold, and in Luke Brooks, the Wests Tigers have their own 'nugget.'
5. What makes a champion?
The answer is so many things.
He did himself, his family, his great club, and the game proud.
Every one in rugby league wishes this young man well for the future.
6. What have we learned most in the opening two rounds?
From a tipping perspective, we have had it reinforced that these days, week-to-week form doesn't mean a great deal.
Case in point: the Tigers' 50-point swing in a week.
South Sydney was the latest club to inform us post-match their attitude wasn't right for last Friday night's game against Manly.
Any chance in all the statistics we have access to these days in the build up to a game, someone can formulate an accurate 'attitude meter'? Might be all us tipsters need in our quest to consistently return high scores.
Enjoy the weekend of footy folks. I'm tipping the clash between the Panthers and the Bulldogs at Sportingbet Stadium to be the match of the round.
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