You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
The physical, passionate and nailbiting contest between New Zealand and Samoa last week should become a regular rivalry, says Andrew Voss.
Six Again: Four Nations predictions, the downside to slow motion replays, Scotland's Four Nations chance and a new potential annual rivalry.

1) Who will make the Four Nations final?

As was the case last week, I am not 100 per cent sure.

It's been an amazing first four matches of the tournament. I could happily argue the case of the better side losing both games last weekend.

Incredibly, with a little luck Samoa could have been the only unbeaten team, but they haven't been able to defend leads in the closing stages of their games against England and New Zealand.

Dunedin on Saturday shapes as a beauty. The last meeting between the English and New Zealand was an epic battle at Wembley that saw the Kiwis break the home team's hearts with a last-second try from Shaun Johnson.

And come Sunday, it could be that Australia not only has to win, but attempt to record a victory by a certain margin… and that isn't going to be easy.

Without a great deal of confidence, I'll tip a New Zealand/Australia double for this weekend meaning they'll also play in the final in Wellington.

2) Was the Ryan Hall no-try a try?

Not in my book.

But then again, I would have disallowed Michael Jennings' effort in the first half of Australia's win over England based on the replays I saw and the rules as we apply them.

And applying the same guidelines, I don't believe New Zealand's Kieran Foran should have had his try awarded in the first half against Samoa.

So on the basis of the latter two being allowed, maybe England was a tad unlucky.

However my long held opinion is an opposition to the use of extreme super slo-mo replays to determine try verdicts.

By all means, use the slow motion replays for boundaries such as the sideline or touch in goal.

But is a finger on a ball for one frame or 1/75th of a second really "downward pressure"? Likewise if a ball comes away from a player's hands for a couple of frames, does that constitute lost control?

Even a normal replay breaks down a second of play into 25 frames.

For mine, that could be scrutiny going too far.

3) Have we found the New Zealand answer to State of Origin?

Yes we have: it's New Zealand versus Samoa.

This is just my opinion of course, but at the same time New South Wales take on Queensland, a Kiwis/Samoan series should be an annual event.

I have now been lucky enough to commentate two of the three internationals between the nations and both have been memorable.

Last year's battle in Warrington and last Sunday's clash in Whangarei were wonderful contests; incredibly physical, and importantly given plenty of passionate support by the fans.

Be it a two- or three-game series, it may just put an end to players chopping and changing allegiance between nations and make State of Origin a less lucrative option for Kiwi or Samoan eligible players.

The concept could only be considered with the support of the players and fans. Based on last Saturday, we are well placed to take the first steps.

Ideally, schedule Test matches between Australia and the Kiwis and the Samoans to follow Origin, and we could be on a winner.

What do you reckon?

4) Should England make changes for this weekend?

Yes they should.

I can't believe Steve McNamara has named an unchanged side for Saturday's game against the Kiwis in Dunedin, and that's despite the fact their performance wasn't that bad against the Kangaroos.

However, they didn't get the job done, and it was due to an inability to score points when it really counted in the second half.

The fact of the matter is, victory alone might not be enough to qualify England for the final.

To be absolutely certain, they need to beat the Kiwis by at least 10 points. That would place them ahead of New Zealand on points differential, and would take relying on a margin of possible victory for Australia against Samoa out of the equation.

Keeping that in mind, if I was an England selector I couldn't head into the Dunedin game without Leeds fullback Zak Hardaker and Catalans back-rower Elliot Whitehead somewhere in their 17.

Hardaker is a player capable of breaking the line. He could turn a tight match. 

And Whitehead has deserved his chance on the back of a season that included scoring an impressive 19 tries. 

It will be a great shame if neither gets any game time on this tour, even more so if it's in a tournament where England fail to make the final.

5) Should we revert back to neutral referees?

Despite the debate from last weekend, my answer is no.

Some of you may think my thinking is scrambled but I have faith in the referees, so long as they are applying the same interpretation as a group, across all matches of the tournament.

And that obviously goes for video referees too.

If you were to take the pro-neutral officials argument to the 'nth' degree this week we'd be flying in a whole bunch of refs, sideline officials and video referees from France, Papua New Guinea and possibly Russia.

That is because the two finalists may be decided by for-and-against, meaning a referee or video ref call in Australia v Samoa could impact on England's and New Zealand's chances. Every penalty; every point.

So if you really want neutral decision makers, and you believe the officials deliberately make calls to satisfy their home country, that is the set up you would have to enforce this weekend.

The rugby league 'world' is a little small to be writing off the men seen as its best officials based on who is playing.

6) And who will the new team be in the next Four Nations?


2016 is locked in for the UK, and the 4th team spot was sealed last weekend with Ireland coming up just short of Scotland's tally on for-and-against.

France and Wales were the other sides competing for a place.

The Scottish success is a triumph for one of my favourite players in the Super League, Huddersfield's Danny Brough.

The 2013 Man of Steel is a wonderful competitor and very talented. He should be the England halfback, but the circumstances of his omission are old news now.

As he did at last year's World Cup, Brough has given his all for Scotland. Without him, the Four Nations berth would quite simply not have happened.

What a weekend we have coming up. I'll be calling the New Zealand/England game for Australian viewers on GEM, and across New Zealand with Sky Sport.

I love my Test footy.

Giddy Up!

Twitter: @AndrewVossy

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Premier Partner

Media Partners

Major Partners

View All Partners