Why the Titans have a big future
Andrew Voss is back for 2015 with verdicts on the Titans' struggles, the World Club Series, South Sydney's chances of going back-to-back and more. Here are six big questions answered from the NRL pre-season.
1. Are ownership changes at the Titans the beginning of the end?
Look; without question these are tough times for the Titans.
However the NRL has gone on the front foot by terminating the club's license and taking control.
They have decided a Gold Coast-based club is part of the long-term plan and for that to be rock solid, they have stepped in.
Interesting that this news should come on the same day the Australian Financial Review revealed the AFL had tipped in more than $38 million to the GWS Giants over the past two years.
The AFL granted the Gold Coast Suns in excess of $33 million over the same period.
That's serious coin!
Maybe the Titans' plight might not be so bleak as some fear, compared to where the Giants and Suns would be without the financial support of their sport's governing body.
2. Were the World Club Series games in the UK a success?
In my opinion, yes.
As a matter of fact, as a fan I've really enjoyed the build-up to season 2015. The Auckland Nines was a success again. We then had a couple of televised trials and the All Stars game in the following two weekends to keep the anticipation levels increasing, and then three mornings of league from the north of England.
Obviously it is quite an exercise to fly three teams to the other side of the globe as part of their pre-season, but welcome to the world of modern professional sport. I can only see the concept expanding.
However, I hope it is not at the expense of the international league calendar that features only one Test involving the Kangaroos in 2015. For mine, that's just not enough.
3. Is the rugby league player merry-go-round good business?
Probably not, but it's the way things are... and I can't see anything changing any time soon.
For the past month, all the potential player movements reported in the media are seemingly those for 2016.
I'll be honest; photos of Daly Cherry-Evans arriving at Cronulla Leagues club just over a week out from the start of his season with Manly isn't a great look.
I'm sure many Dragons fans are similarly unimpressed to be reading about star player Trent Merrin's plans to play elsewhere beyond this year.
There are a number of others being 'shopped around'.
Good or bad – it's just business. It doesn't destroy the integrity of the game, but it sure doesn't add anything to it.
4. Will South Sydney be a better team in 2015?
I was adamant the answer was no, but after watching their hugely successful pre-season I'm not so sure.
I don't believe they have adequately replaced Sam Burgess, and Ben Teo's role as enforcer also appears to have remained unfilled, but in what we have seen from the Bunnies post-premiership, there is still a lot to be impressed by.
The form of Adam Reynolds, with a grand final win under his belt, has been sensational. Give him the Blues No.7 right now!
It's obvious Greg Inglis is at the peak of his career and now carries the captaincy at the Rabbitohs. He will revel in it.
George Burgess appears primed to become the NRL's best front-rower.
How improved the likes of young guns Dylan Walker, Luke Keary and Alex Johnston are is an exciting proposition for Souths fans.
They waited 43 years for another premiership. Waiting 12 months for the next would feel like a coffee break. It's not out of the question.
5. Who is rugby league's best supporter?
I'm sure every club has a host of nominations.
I'd like to put forward Roosters fan Alan Katzmann as an absolute gem.
For as long as I can remember Alan hasn't just limited himself to following the Roosters first-grade boys, but he's a regular at the lower grades and the junior rep fixtures as well. If you want to know anything about anyone who has worn the Tricolours strip, he can tell you.
He's a great analyst of the game with some very clear thoughts on where the sport should be headed, and can often be heard on talkback radio in Sydney.
I received word that on Thursday night at the Roosters football club annual general meeting, Alan will be up for life membership.
What a well-deserved honour. He will become only the second non-player and non-official to be recognised in such a manner.
Alan Katzmann is proof that great footy clubs are the sum of many parts, not just the athletes who wear the jumper.
6. How big will the TV coverage of the NRL be this year?
I can't speak for every media outlet, but I know that the team at Fox Sports and their counterparts across the Tasman at Sky Sport NZ will deliver a bigger and better coverage this season.
I was privy to hear the ideas of the people who work behind the scenes at Fox this week, and it's exciting to learn the plans for an expanded pre- and post-match game coverage, not to mention an increase in shows during the week.
Sky NZ are also promising plenty more around all the Warriors games, both home and away.
And of course, free-to-air broadcaster Channel Nine has also added live Sunday league to its schedule for its Australian viewers, so there is plenty to look forward to.
Not many sleeps to go and NRL 2015 will be underway.
Follow Andrew Voss on Twitter: @AndrewVossy
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of the NRL or NRL.com.