The NRL's next superstar
We may have just witnessed the most amazing play of the year, the most embarrassing play of the year, and the emergence of a new superstar in the NRL.
1) So, who are the premiership favourites now?
I honestly don't know.
What a race for the title.
Just when I was getting more confident about a successful defence from the Roosters, they lose back to back.
Then I talk up Manly, and Des Hasler's Bulldogs knock them off in Round 17 and follow that up with a magnificent hard-fought win in Melbourne.
The Panthers, Rabbitohs, Warriors, Broncos and Storm are all thereabouts.
And on the fringe of the eight are a number of sides that can cause more than just a few headaches if they string together a run of victories.
Eight rounds to go folks … Roll up, roll up …This is going to be fun!
2) Did we see a contender for most amazing play of the year in Round 18?
Yes we did, and it belonged to the Titans' Dave Taylor.
This bloke is the size of a small island, yet the reflexes and the agility, then the speed he displayed in the 21st minute against the Raiders to snatch a Canberra kick from his bootlaces and sprint 70 metres was incredible.
There are a few enigmatic players in the NRL, but none more so in my opinion than big Dave.
Just imagine if he ever realises his potential.
3) …And did we see a contender for the most embarrassing play of 2014 last weekend?
Alas we did, and it was the Warriors' push on the Parramatta scrum 10 metres out from the Eels line that provided a win against the feed and a try for Sam Tomkins.
I would like to have seen the reaction to the Eels 'pack' being splattered from someone like former international Noel Kelly. To be honest, he may have shed a tear.
How does a prop the size of Fuifui Moimoi get squeezed out sideways? Poor Isaac De Gois was almost trampled like he was in the running of the bulls in Pamplona!
Good luck to the Warriors for pulling it off, but it was as embarrassing as it gets for the game that we have allowed the scrum to degenerate to this stage.
I suppose the players only have themselves to blame. If they are too lazy to at least bind in the scrum, then you have the potential for Saturday's 'massacre' to happen. And if teams continue to put any player from any position in a scrum, then they also are going to get their just desserts.
It is not the first time the Warriors have done this. Go back and read about it if you like in my column leading into Round 12.
They pulled it off against the Titans in Round 11 at Cbus Super Stadium. On that occasion they forced an error at the scrumbase from their opponents.
By the way, the referee on both occasions was Henry Perenara. I pointed this out to the Warriors camp but they said that was just a coincidence.
However, maybe Henry has a better feel for the game than some in allowing the push to be a goer.
4) How good did Sam Tomkins play against the Eels?
His first half was superstar quality.
The likes of Billy Slater, Greg Inglis and Jarryd Hayne couldn't have done much better.
Tomkins was flawless. He was brilliant. And he was everywhere.
It's not that he hasn't played good matches previously for the Warriors, but mark Round 18 down as the time that he really 'arrived' on the NRL landscape.
If he can bring that sort of display to most matches between now and the end of the season, then the in-form Warriors just got a little scarier for their rivals.
And here's one more fact you need to know about Sam that may surprise you, (besides that he has a chihauhau called Keith). Shaun Johnson told me he is the quickest player at the club.
5) Is rugby league dead in London?
Well it would have to be described as gravely ill.
If you haven't caught up with the news, confirmation came last weekend that the London Broncos would be relegated from the Super League for 2015.
They have endured another wretched season in terms of results. It has been revealed that only eight of the players on their books will be with the club next year.
And while they are talking about re-establishing themselves in the grade below, the chances of them ever again being a viable club in the top flight must be in serious doubt.
The grand plans of expansion for the Super League have come undone. London, Paris, and a side from Wales haven't been able to be sustained over the years against the strength that is the north of England.
The Catalan Dragons remain now as the 'lone wolf', with the most likely teams to be candidates for promotion in the near future all being other club sides from the north in the UK.
6) How big is the weekend of footy coming up?
For starters it's the first weekend since Round 13 that all 16 teams have been in action.
There isn't a single game that doesn't have a big impact on where we might be headed in the race for the finals.
It'll start with Friday night and four fairly desperate sides. Yes even Souths, who have lost their last two.
I reckon Fox Sports need a few more adjectives tacked on to their Super Saturday title this week. Three must-see games starting from 3 o'clock with the Roosters against the Panthers.
Right across the weekend we will RiseForAlex, so Sunday at Hunter Stadium will be big, as will the Tigers against the Bulldogs.
And on form, Monday night might be the best game of the round when the Dragons face off against Manly.
How good is all that!
Get to a match this weekend … support your team … and unite to assist an inspiring young man.