Why Souths will finally end their drought
Andrew Voss on the grand final, Issac Luke's suspension, why Sam should stay, the headlines you won't read this week and more.
1) Who will win the grand final?
Souths – but my predictions were wrong in both games last weekend!
I firmly believe that if the Rabbitohs play close to their best, the Bulldogs won't have the strike power to match them.
However there can be no guarantee of a team playing its best, and the fact that things don't always go to plan on the big day was highlighted by the Sydney Swans copping a hammering in the AFL grand final.
At the crux of Canterbury's game plan will be the 100-year-old "big match secret", and that's run hard, tackle hard. Des Hasler will have his team ready to rumble.
It's been one hell of a drought for the Rabbitohs – 43 years.
Not every great sporting story has a fairytale ending, but I'm prepared to say this one will.
Rabbitohs by 10.
2) Hey Vossy, didn't you pick a tie for the Dally M?
Yes indeed. Well every dog has to have its day.
In this very column after Round 26 I wrote about the real chance of matching the result of the Rothmans Medal 25 years ago.
In 1989 it was Cronulla's Gavin Miller and Newcastle's Mark Sargent sharing the honours.
Like Thurston, Miller played in the finals but didn't make the grand final, while like Hayne, Sargent's team failed to make the playoffs.
All in all, I was satisfied with the tie. Both have had super seasons.
The positional awards were a different issue but it is always a subjective matter.
I couldn't fathom the centre of the year going to Jamie Lyon given that I am yet to find a Manly fan that doesn't believe Steve Matai had the better season.
What I do know: there has never been an awards presentation with total agreement from fans about the award-winners in rugby league history, and 2014 was no different.
3) Did the judiciary get it right with Issac Luke?
In my opinion, no.
I don't believe Luke should have been charged.
And at risk of sounding like a broken record, I am not a fan of the current structure of the points system, I detest loading and carry-over points, and I can't follow what was supposed to be a crackdown on lifting tackles.
Luke's ban consisting of 125 points for being found guilty of a dangerous tackle plus 25 points loading plus 50 carry-over points means he will not only sit out the grand final, but the Four Nations opener between New Zealand and Australia as well.
At the very least, loading for non-similar offences shouldn't exist. I don't believe there should be any carry-over points. If an act is deemed illegal, it either warrants a game/s penalty or it doesn't. If you like, substitute carry over-points for a fine. Fines could all go towards the Men of League.
The 50 carry-over points for Luke stemmed from his role in a chicken wing tackle on Manly's Steve Matai.
I would contest that his actions were less dangerous than what Josh Jackson was cleared for the previous week in the Bulldogs game against Manly. But that's another story.
And as for the crackdown on lifting tackles… if another Souths or Canterbury player with no prior record did the same tackle as Luke last weekend, he would have taken the early guilty plea and be playing in the grand final.
So what message would that have sent out about the league getting tough on lifting tackles?
4) Should Sam Burgess be switching to rugby union?
No, no, no, no, no.
I know I have written about it before, but I thought I would take one last crack.
Sam. If you're reading this. Send Bath an email that you were a bit sick at the time when you agreed to the deal. You can also write an email to the English Rugby Football Union saying that the All Blacks are certainties for the union World Cup next year, so what's the point?
Rugby league is Sam Burgess's calling. How will he possibly get the same enjoyment from rugby that he gets from games like last Friday night where he made 33 tackles and ran the ball 26 times?
If come this Sunday night he has a premiership ring on his finger and maybe even a Clive Churchill medal around his neck, I'd love to know what his heart is really saying.
Stay with league mate. Captain England at the Rugby League Four Nations with your brothers at your side. No amount of money could match that.
5) Is there perhaps a bigger fairytale in rugby league on the other side of the world?
Yes. On Friday morning our time the Catalan Dragons will be looking to make the Super League grand final.
Only Nathan Brown's St Helens side stand in their way.
For those of you not aware, the Dragons lost their opening five games of the season, but still managed to recover and scramble their way into the playoffs.
I can't think of too many sides in our competition to have started so poorly and still make a grand final. What about you?
The Warriors lost their opening three in 2011 and still reached the decider. In the Intrust Super Cup in 2011, Paul Green's Wynnum Manly side were without a win in their first six games and won the premiership. But those two examples are very much the exception.
6) What are the headlines we won't read in Grand Final Week?
Here's a few…
Madge's selection shock: Piggins named at hooker!
Des Hasler arrested: Charged with selling dodgy radars!
Adam Reynolds buys prosthetic arm to fit 'Premiers 2014' tattoo!
Thankyou, you've been a great audience.
Goodnight. And GIDDY UP!