Sharks-Souths conditions the worst ever?
Andrew Voss on why 2015 could be the NRL's closest season yet, the rise of Jake Granville, the latest on Todd Carney, and more.
Is this the closest NRL competition on record?
I say YES!
This is highlighted by the fact that Parramatta is running second-last on the ladder, yet they are actually only two points off fourth!
It is only the for-and-against points differential that separates team eight (the Roosters), all the way down to team 15 (the Eels).
We often stated during last year that 2014 was the closest ever for much of the season, but a quick comparison of tables after seven rounds cements 2015 as the frontrunner now.
While through seven rounds last year we did have four teams level on 10 points at the top, there wasn't quite the same congestion all the way down the ladder.
Just out of interest, five of the top eight from this time last year are now in the bottom eight after seven rounds in 2015 (Tigers, Sea Eagles, Titans, Eels and Panthers).
Do the conditions for the Sharks v Rabbitohs game rank with the worst ever?
They certainly get at the very least an honourable mention.
Obviously we've had some huge storms hit games, and the Tigers v Raiders snow classic in 2000, but the fact that the gale force wind and rain didn't let up for a minute makes the Remondis clash one to remember on the weather scale.
In my opinion though, Monday night's conditions were topped by a match I attended at the 2000 World Cup in the UK.
It was New Zealand's opening game of the tournament against Lebanon in Gloucester. The temperature hovered around the zero mark with the wind chill factor thrown in. The rain hit like bullets, and the gusts of wind were so strong it played havoc with the broadcast. All cameras had to be stationed at ground level because it was too dangerous to have them up a scaffold.
A number of players suffered hypothermia. The Kiwis won the game 64-0. I vividly recall later that night the UK recorded its worst storm in 100 years. No one who attended that World Cup saw the sun again until the day of the final!
Where has Jake Granville been?
Just waiting to be given a chance.
Followers of the Intrust Super Cup in Queensland have been well aware of his ability for many years going back particularly to 2011 when he won everything.
As the Paul Green-coached Wynnum Manly side won the grand final, Granville took man-of-the-match honours to go with his Player of the Year award.
His role was an interesting one as he hovered most games between hooker and fullback.
And let Granville's effort for the Cowboys be fair warning that the Raiders have a similar player on their books now in Kurt Baptiste.
I think he's a fantastic player based on what I have seen in the Intrust Super Cup, but like Granville has never been given decent game time in the NRL.
Baptiste played an excellent cameo in Canberra's win last Sunday against the Tigers. He's a footballer with plenty to offer.
What is the pick of the games this weekend?
It's another superb round of footy coming up folks, but obviously the Roosters v Dragons clash will be enormous.
A team with five straight wins against one on the back of three straight losses, yet still the betting market on the game is close.
They will both rise to the occasion with another classic on the way.
However I also believe Saturday night's match in Brisbane will be huge. The Broncos are a little bruised and battered after last week's loss to the Dragons but will have the benefit of an eight-day turnaround.
That luxury hasn't been afforded to Parramatta who ground their way to a win over Newcastle last Sunday. However, at least it was a victory on the road for Brad Arthur's men who have a rather embarrassing away record.
Buoyed by that breakthrough, I have a feeling the Eels are going to aim up in a big way in what will be yet another very special Anzac Day occasion. Suncorp Stadium is likely to boast the day's biggest crowd. What a privilege for players, fans, and indeed commentators such as myself, to share the moment.
What's happened to Todd Carney?
I can report he has returned to training this week with the Catalans Dragons.
It's been a frustrating time in Super League for the former Dally M Medal winner. Having missed the start of the season due to injury, just three games into his career with the French club Carney suffered broken ribs as a result of a late tackle by another former NRL player, Lama Tasi.
That was back on March 20.
His team is now positioned outside the all-important top eight and need a victory. However if he does make his comeback this weekend, he will find himself up against the likes of Terry Campese and Albert Kelly in Catalans' game against Hull KR.
NRL clubs such as Manly will be monitoring his form closely on return.
A reminder, you can catch the Super League action each week in Australia on Fox Sports, and on Sky Sport in New Zealand.
Lest we forget
This weekend as you watch your rugby league either at the ground or from the couch, whatever the result for your team, appreciate how good we have it in this part of the world.
With Anzac ceremonies scheduled for each game, it is a time to reflect on the enormous contribution of the thousands of men and women who have served in the armed forces.
We often refer to our big matches as battles, but at the end of the day it is just a game.
Lest we forget.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of the NRL or NRL.com.