Maroons to win Origin I: Voss
Andrew Voss says Queensland have the edge in Holden State of Origin I, Sam Tomkins is back for the Warriors, and what's next for Eels halfback Chris Sandow?
Who wins State of Origin One?
I say Queensland.
If there could be such a thing as a neutral observer on Origin night, it would be the opportunity for a rugby league fan to just sit back and enjoy the talents of a superb Queensland line-up. It includes so many champions of the modern game in Slater, Inglis, Smith, Thurston, Cronk and that can't be the case for too many more years, so savour it.
That's not to say NSW can't win. Theirs is a talented squad too, but it doesn't have the superstars of the Maroons.
I believe there is still an Origin series win in the destiny of these fellas, and I think they'll take a big step towards it with a victory on Wednesday night.
18-6 for me in pick the score, and Corey Parker to claim man of the match as he did in game three last year.
Could there be some field goal magic in the Origin opener?
Don't write it off if NSW is going to win.
The most famous field goal in Blues Origin history was landed by Shaun Timmins in the opening game of the 2004 series.
Brett Finch followed that up with a field goal match winner in the first game of the series two years later.
Both have come at ANZ Stadium.
You have been warned!
What happened on Saturday night at Campbelltown?
……. (crickets) …..
As a stats buff I was a bit disappointed the score didn't remain at 2-0. Not since 1965 had there been a premiership game finish that way.
But if that were the case, the scoreline would be all that would be remembered.
The passing statistics from the 80 minutes was a bit of an embarrassment. I appreciate the desperation for the two competition points with both teams minus some key personnel, but it's hard to find too many positive words from an entertainment point of view.
Mind you, the misfire on Pat Richards' last kick off will be hard to beat. I can't recall a short kick off going wider of the mark. And that from the best in the game.
Sort of summed it all up really.
Not every game can be a "silk purse". May 23, 2015 will go down as the quintessential sow's ear!
What next for Chris Sandow?
I'm a fan, so I hope the answer is plenty of first grade playing his exciting, and entertaining best.
But I'm starting to think it can't be at Parramatta meaning when his contract ends this season, he'll be on the look out for a fresh start. However right now I'm not sure which club would be seeking his services.
How things pan out for Daly Cherry-Evans could be a factor. Perhaps the Sharks would be an option. A Super League club might also be a consideration.
I just see pressure building with every loss that Sandow is a part of at the Eels. His future certainly isn't as a fullback and he's too good to be playing NSW Cup.
At just 26 years old and with over 150 NRL games experience you'd like to think Sandow's best years may still be ahead of him. But if he's not thinking that way, then maybe no other club will either.
Is wrestling still a problem in the game?
Yes it is.
However rest assured the NRL isn't sitting idle on the subject.
As Match Review Committee co-ordinator Michael Buettner revealed on NRL HQ this week, his panel has been seeking the assistance of wrestling expert Milton Dymock.
The brother of former international Jim has been advising the committee on what to look out for in an attempt to stay ahead of the game.
Warnings went out last weekend to a couple of players in regards to leg twists that are hard to detect for a referee in the run of play.
However the MRC is on watch and seem prepared to lay charges if they deem the act is blatant enough.
Hear Hear I say!
No fan of the game wants it part of the sport, and if player suspensions are the only way to stamp it out, then so be it.
Can Sam Tomkins make a difference to the Warriors?
Yes, but a role has to be found for Tui Lolohea as well.
It's almost been a case of out of sight, out of mind for Tomkins, who has only appeared in two Telstra Premiership games this year.
But I saw enough in those couple of matches against the Raiders and the Eels (both Warriors victories), that Sam was a better player for having a year in the NRL under his belt and a second off-season of training.
The Warriors are five and five but have the potential to match the top bracket of teams.
For their doubters to be silenced, they have to put sides like Newcastle to the sword this Sunday. And as I see it, their best 17 players must include the talented Lolohea.
I'm off to Canberra on Saturday for what should be a cracking game on Fox Sports between the Raiders and the Broncos.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of the NRL or NRL.com.