Time to be positive: Voss
Andrew Voss believes it is time for the rugby league community to be more positive, that Moses Mbye could be the future of the Bulldogs, that Perth has a strong case for expansion and continues his campaign for scrum penalties.
Is it time to be a little more positive?
Absolutely it is.
Last Saturday I found myself in Perth for Super Saturday on Fox Sports. After I had called the Rabbitohs v Warriors game, it was back to the hotel to watch Panthers v Storm.
Because of the time difference, my Saturday of league was all over by 7.30pm, which meant I had to go in search of sporting alternatives, and caught up with some Super Rugby and the AFL.
The next few hours reinforced for me that rugby league is the best product.
But here's what is really getting to me. Blaming the ref and how we treat our sport.
If the Bulldogs v Dragons match were in Super Rugby it would have been hailed as the match of the season. If it was a soccer game, you would only be hearing praise from most fans about the contest, not the 'free kick' ruling they got wrong. The same would go for AFL.
But to my dismay, having sat through a sensational 80 minutes of rugby league, a large chunk of discussion centered around whether Eto Nabuli had lost the ball in a 50/50 call from the ref, and how a line drop-out was ruled when Josh Dugan was driven and illegally lifted to the in-goal.
I could have compiled a highlights package 30 minutes long, yet these two rulings dominated the post match debate.
Are we serious? How negative have we become?
Referees will make wrong calls, just like players will drop balls, miss tackles and bomb tries.
It's just a shame after such an awesome contest, we're not talking rugby league up more, as it deserves.
Have NSW got selections right for Origin II?
I see changes, but I don't necessarily see a stronger side.
Paul Gallen and Brett Morris will obviously have taken benefit from their return games from injury at the weekend, but I can't be convinced it is enough football to have them at their best in a week's time.
And how the Bulldogs game unfolded on Monday for Trent Hodkinson has surely set one of the greatest tests of character for a player going into a big match that I can remember.
Hodkinson's confidence must have taken a battering after being taken from the field with the match on the line. And what are his Blues teammates around him really thinking about their playmaker?
With the series on the line, I think a place still had to be found for Cronulla's Andrew Fifita. The big fella has an array of skills that, if he has a good night, few could match across either side.
How good is Moses Mbye?
The answer is; very!
Des Hasler is his own man but I can't see how he can possibly leave young Moses out of the Bulldogs starting halves any time in the future.
In just his 20th NRL game, the Sunshine Coast junior was again superb against the Dragons.
Throw in aspects like his speed, which was highlighted by an early tackle count kick-chase in the first half, and then later his poise in nailing a second crucial field goal this year; and you have got a player of serious potential.
Perhaps the decision has already been made. After all, it was Mbye who played the 80 minutes in the Bulldogs halves on Monday.
Are Souths back?
They looked like a heavyweight again to me.
What a wonderful venue and crowd in Perth for such a good performance from the defending premiers. And it was minus star half Adam Reynolds.
The class of Greg Inglis, Dylan Walker, John Sutton and George Burgess really shone through.
The Rabbitohs have conceded a little bit of ground through 13 rounds to the leading bracket of sides, but I don't see their potential of true title contender as any less than the sides above them.
Can Perth support a team again in the NRL?
The impression I get is yes.
That was a significant crowd victory last weekend. The Western Force v ACT Brumbies rugby game at the venue on Friday night drew less than 9,000 as compared to less than 24 hours later, the ground record for Rabbitohs v Warriors.
Importantly, a solid junior structure appears to be in place, and that has been the case despite the demise of the Western Reds in 1997, and the emergence of a provincial rugby franchise.
Shane Richardson, who is heading up the compiling of a blueprint for the NRL's future, has some serious thinking to do. Perth, a second NZ team, and another side out of Queensland all appear attractive options to me for the good of the game.
Didn't you say you weren’t going to talk about scrums any more, Vossy?
Well, I guess I lied.
I feel compelled to mention the Roosters' Mitchell Pearce for maybe taking the scrum to absolute rock bottom in the embarrassing stakes during the first half of last Sunday's game against Cronulla.
It was in the 30th minute that Pearce gave the mandatory feed at right angles to the defending team.
But the ball got stuck between the prop and second row. The backrowers of course had no idea what to do, so Mitchell reached into the scrum and pushed it back with his hand!
The ref blew his whistle for the scrum to be packed again.
I continue my quest for a scrum penalty, that you would only have to blow once or twice to get the message across for the entire season in the areas of players forming the scrum in no more than 30 seconds; having to bind, and stay that way until the ball is out, and that the feeder of the scrum does so with two hands in close enough to a straight line.
How about we give it a try as well where the referee stays quiet. No "in", "out", "shake it all about" calls.
If the players get it wrong, then they pay the consequences. None of the above points are that hard.
Thanks for allowing me to get that off my chest.
I'm off to Auckland on Saturday for what is a big game for the Warriors and the Roosters.