Gutsy Souths win as good as it gets
1) How good was the Rabbitohs' victory in Perth?
As good as any in the NRL this year.
Obviously there have been bigger upsets, and there have been some decent comebacks and dramatic finishes, but the overcoming of the odds by Souths in this one was enormous.
For those who missed seeing the game, you need to realise that some of the Warriors' performance was as good as they have produced.
Andrew McFadden's side had taken the advantage through a defence that conceded just one try in the opening 40 minutes despite the Rabbitohs having 24 tackles inside their 20-metre zone.
On the back of that – and a mounting injury toll for Souths which saw Greg Inglis and Bryson Goodwin ruled out, and Dylan Walker battle on with a broken thumb – the Warriors booted clear to lead 14-6 with 23 minutes to go.
Souths were on the rack.
What happened next was just inspiring. Souths simply stunned their opponents with their spirit. It was shades of legend from the club's history books.
The Burgess brothers were magnificent. Walker was sensational. Isaac Luke dynamic. Back-rowers Kyle Turner and Chris McQueen were superb, forced to play right centre and right wing respectively.
And the result was five tries in that final 23 minutes in another wonderful promotion for rugby league in Perth.
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2) What's wrong with the Cowboys?
I don't believe anyone knows.
I expected North Queensland to be a top four side this year, and maybe they still will, but I believe they have again under achieved this season.
Six wins and seven losses at the halfway mark is an unflattering record for a side that boasts the roster they have.
Quite frankly, their away record has become an embarrassment. Their 18-16 loss to Parramatta at Pirtek Stadium made it six straight defeats on the road this year.
A 'positive' perhaps is that at the same time in 2013 they sat second last on the table on just eight competition points, and still managed to scramble their way into the finals.
3) Will the rugby league 'gods' shine on Origin?
I hope so, and I'm talking here about having Greg Inglis, Billy Slater and Daly Cherry Evans fit to play.
Am I taking too much license to suggest that even the long-suffering Blues fans want them there too?
If NSW is to end the Maroons run, would it not be better without any possible 'asterisk' on the triumph? (As in, *They won but Queensland didn't have Inglis, Slater or Cronk.)
Besides all that, I just love watching the best players, play on the Origin stage.
Bring it on!
4) Will the Panthers maintain their charge?
I can't find a reason why not.
I was interested to see how they would go on the Gold Coast last Saturday night after a week of media coverage about the club and its players that was shades of their last premiership-winning year in 2003.
Without a hint of complacency, they put away the Titans 36-12 with something in reserve, and this Saturday they're back on home soil against the Dragons.
Two key players that have developed for Ivan Cleary's team are James Segeyaro and Tyrone Peachey.
This pair alone is worth tuning in to see in action on the Fox Sports coverage. Better still, get to Sportingbet Stadium to see them first hand.
5) Should we be getting excited about the Four Nations?
Yes! And tickets have gone on sale.
I know the focus is State of Origin at the moment, but true league fans should be checking their travel plans for later in the year.
We all know that Australia will be strong and New Zealand their usual threat, but it is the possible England team that is getting me excited.
As I have written previously, what a shame Sam Burgess is leaving the code. Give me an English pack that includes Sam, George and Thomas Burgess, James Graham, and Brett Ferres and then throw into the side the likes of Sam Tomkins, Gareth Widdop, Ryan Hall and Zak Hardaker, and you're starting to talk a real good footy team.
For the record, England will play Samoa at Suncorp on October 25; Australia at AAMI Park on November 2; and New Zealand in Dunedin on November 9.
The Four Nations final is set down for November 15 in Wellington.
6) Hey Vossy, do you know you're getting old?
That fact was rammed home this week when I went to watch some matches in the GIO Schoolboy Cup.
I have loved this competition since I was a young fella listening to John Brennan call the then-named Amco Shield on Channel Ten. It has been one of my proudest career achievements to be given the opportunity to call so many young stars over the years, and I am delighted to be involved again in 2014.
But at Campbelltown this week, the name O'Meley bobbed up for Hunter Sports High. 16-year-old Nicholas is the son of former Origin and international Mark, who hasn't even retired yet!
And on the wing for Hunter was the famous name of Niszczot. Now I unashamedly admit Ziggy Niszczot, the former Souths captain and NSW winger, was one of my favourite players as a kid.
However Ethan Niszczot isn't Ziggy's son… it's his grandson!
Quick, I need a nap.
Enjoy the footy this weekend in the countdown to Origin II.