Andrew Voss tackles six big issues heading into Round 6 of the NRL season.
1) Which is the safer job: firewalker or NRL coach?
In relation to the Warriors coaching position I think you have to lock in firewalker!
It really doesn't matter in the case of Matt Elliott whether he resigned, was pushed, or straight-out axed from the Warriors.
The fact is, just six weeks into the season, he's not coaching the side he was employed to, and Andrew McFadden has been thrown into the 'bed of hot coals'.
I remember a quote from Daniel Anderson after Parramatta's amazing run to the 2009 grand final where he quite honestly admitted that he didn't know the reasons behind his side's sensational form reversal that almost ended in premiership glory.
And the way I see it, that is the problem with the Warriors.
There is just no explanation for their good or bad performances. They are the Olympic gold medal winners when it comes to running hot or cold!
Elliott has every right to feel shattered, but with hindsight he probably realises his head was done in last year when the Warriors went from winning just two of their first 10 matches, to taking seven of their next eight, including victories over Melbourne, Manly and the Roosters. The tap was then turned off, and they won only two of their last six.
It must be incredibly frustrating for all attached to the club to know there is just so much talent in their roster and seemingly so much natural ability embedded in every young player coming through the ranks, but that this can't be turned into consistent results.
2) What's a good weekly score at the moment in an NRL tipping comp?
Four. That's right, four. If you've tipped at 50% so far this year, you're probably not too badly placed in the office tipping competition, whereas in previous seasons that sort of average would have you lucky to be anywhere the top half of the ladder.
It is a sad indictment on us all when in the official rugby league program, Big League Magazine, some fictitious character called "Footyhead" is showing the way with a score of 21 out of a possible 40.
In the words of Derryn Hinch, "Shame, shame, shame".
(For the record, the writer of this column has picked a paltry 18 out of 40 in 2014.)
3) Are the Melbourne Storm the force they once were?
No. But that's not to say they won't be playing finals football yet again come September.
However, closer scrutiny of their results so far this year suggests things could have been far worse, but for a couple of points. As a matter of fact we could have been looking at a competition table after round five with the Storm running equal last.
They produced a miraculous comeback from 20 points down to win in golden point in round one against Manly, and then scraped past Penrith by a point in round two.
They've conceded 88 points in the last three weeks and have lost back-to-back games.
Looking further ahead, between Origin I and II this year they play the Cowboys in Townsville, then the Roosters, and then a game against the Titans without the services of Slater, Cronk and Smith.
I've learnt many times never to knock a champion… but if I'm posting a premiership betting market, I'd be prepared to take them on.
4) What are we going to do about lifting tackles?
We need solid debate in my opinion. And if it's time we need for this to happen, can we perhaps organise a summit of sorts in the representative round weekend for some of the game's experts, coaches, players and officials to get together and discuss the issue?
I do not want to see some hastily rewritten rule, but could we at least in the short term increase the penalty points at the judiciary for such tackles to act as a greater deterrent?
5) What's the best story so far of the 2014 season?
There have been plenty, but can I go outside of the NRL and nominate the PNG Hunters for their efforts in the Intrust Super Cup.
With three wins and a draw from their six games, the new boys on the block have exceeded expectations. They have brought a real passion, energy and flamboyance to the competition.
I encourage fans across Queensland to look out for when the Hunters come to town and attempt to watch them live.
6) Is Leichhardt Oval really the eighth wonder of the world?
No. That's because I've actually got it in my top seven and have relegated Machu Picchu.
I love the place. It was the ground I went to more often than any other as a young fella. I particularly had many a happy night spent on a Wednesday watching the old midweek cup.
The heart would beat just a little faster as the bus drove over Iron Cove Bridge and you looked over and saw the glow of the lights. Then on the big match days as you walked down the tiny streets towards the ground, you would hear the roar of the crowd when a break was made or points were scored.
The ground was again alive and kicking last Sunday. The spirit of Laurie Nicholls lives on.
If ever the NRL introduces a big stadia policy across the board, can we insert a clause that says Leichhardt is the exception?
Enjoy the weekend of footy folks. I'm off to Eden Park for what is a huge game for the embattled Warriors against the in form Bulldogs.
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