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Who is the NRL's most underrated player?

Who is the NRL's most underrated player?
Ryan Hinchcliffe is underrated by everyone but the Melbourne Storm, according to Andrew Voss. Credit: Brett Crockford. Copyright: NRL Photos.
Time to rethink the sin bin, the NRL's most underrated player, the lesson from the World Cup and who will win this week's grand final rematch.

1) Is it time for the five-minute sin bin to return?

Definitely… and maybe even a shorter stint.

In truth it should have been back in the game years ago, and I can't find anyone to give me a valid reason why it has consistently been shunned when we've tweaked the rules over the past decade.

But now it is an absolute must, and it is primarily because of the ugly melees that have crept into the game as a consequence of the punching ban.

With the fists down, players now resort to choke holds, crash tackling opponents, pushes to the head and chest… none of which in isolation warrant a stern penalty. At least, certainly not 10 minutes off the field.

But if the referee had the option of a shorter minute 'cooling off period' to deal with these ugly and prolonged scuffles, perhaps we would have a sufficient deterrent.

And totally out of left field…why not four- and eight-minute sin bins in preference to five and 10?

Please don't tell me it's because of a referee's signal using 10 fingers. A quarter of one half of football is too big of a penalty in the modern game, as again was proven last week with Nate Myles' exit against the Dragons.

2) What can we learn from the football World Cup?

Respect for referees.

What a disgrace it is on the biggest stage in sport in Brazil, in the so-called 'beautiful game', that you have players repeatedly carry on like pork chops getting in the face of the referee and disputing decisions.

And it seemingly goes without punishment. We all know the diving in football is a joke, but the ill disciplined bullying of referees in soccer is inexcusable.

I support 100% any crackdown on player dissent towards referees in rugby league. A couple of players were dealt with last weekend, and some prominent others like Paul Gallen are pushing the envelope in the way they address referees.

So, be warned by the poor example set in the World Cup, and don't complain later if our referees are strong enough to take action.
3) Is Peter Sharp to blame for Cronulla's plight in 2014?

I am sure he would take some responsibility because the Peter Sharp I know is a rugby league man from head to toe and accepts his role as part of a team – players and coaching staff are in it together.

How on earth Sharp can be blamed though for a lengthy injury toll that has seen only two players in their squad play every match this year, and the effects of the ongoing cloud of the ASADA investigation over the Sharks, is beyond me.

It's my job to call it as I see it. Cronulla is looking like a basket case after the latest drama at the weekend, and that's not taking into account the unwanted record of going scoreless in three straight matches.

4) Can we do more to make the NRL draw user friendly?

Yes.

I wrote about this topic at the start of the season where I think an obvious blunder was made in scheduling seven games in Sydney for the opening round.

I am confident that same mistake won't be made again.

However just over the last couple of weeks I have fielded a number of complaints from Warriors fans, and I think they have a strong case.

The New Zealand television market is a tough one for rugby league as it takes on the giant force that is rugby union and the pulling power of the All Blacks.

Put simply, they need all the help they can get to maximise support for league.

This didn't happen in Round 13 when the Warriors' blockbuster game against South Sydney in Perth was scheduled for an 11.30pm start New Zealand time.

And then last week, the Warriors' clash with Brisbane kicked off at exactly the same time as the All Blacks Test against England in Hamilton.

Not the smartest play I would suggest.

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5) Who is the most underrated player in the NRL?

Ryan Hinchcliffe.

I know he's not underrated by his club – Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy loves the bloke for what he brings to the side, not just in every game but in every training session.

Hinchcliffe is a rock.

But in the bigger picture he's underrated because I don't know how far down the pecking order he is in representative calculations. 

In my opinion he wouldn't look out of place in a Blues jumper.

6) Who wins the grand final rematch?

Lock in the Roosters Eddie!

What a match we have to kick off Round 16 on Friday night at Brookvale Oval.

Fortress Brookvale will be rocking as two of the competition heavyweights go toe to toe.

However my feeling is it will be Trent Robinson's side ready to turn in their best performance of the season, and come up with the same result as last year's decider.

But it's not the only headline game we have this weekend. The Cowboys v Rabbitohs battle deserves a big crowd in Townsville, while the game I'm heading across to call in Auckland between the Warriors and the Panthers isn't half bad either.

Enjoy your footy!

Giddy up!

Twitter: @AndrewVoss9


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