Maroons to take out Origin II: Voss
Andrew Voss's Origin prediction, why it's a crucial time for the Eels and Raiders, and one of the great try-saving tackles.
Who wins Origin II?
Queensland, but not by many.
I think for there to be an absolute epic State of Origin game at the MCG, Queensland need to lead going into the second half by 10 or more points.
This will force New South Wales to open up and have a red hot go.
Don't be let down if both teams go into Origin II with an attitude of grinding out a win, knowing that a one-point margin would be sufficient to wrap up a series victory for the Maroons, or take the series to a decider for the Blues.
Lock me in for Johnathan Thurston for Man of the Match and Greg Inglis to bounce back to form and nab the first try.
Maroons by 6.
How great was the try-saving tackle by Moses Mbye?
As good as it gets.
Obviously there have been greater occasions, bigger crowds, and more at stake when similar memorable tackles have been performed.
However no one chase and tackle could actually be described as any better in my opinion than what Mbye pulled off against the Titans on Sunday at Cbus Super Stadium.
And to think it all came from one of the best defensive sets you could hope for, as the Titans played the ball on tackle five, just five metres out from their own line.
So feel free to put Mbye alongside Scott Sattler on Todd Byrne in '03, Darren Albert on Matt Seers in '97, and Keith Barnes on Billy Boston at Lang Park in '62.
Which club has the best young forwards?
The Roosters can put in quite a formidable nomination.
How good were some of their tyros against the Warriors last Saturday?
Siosiua Taukeiaho, in just his 14th NRL game, was sensational. In the second half, it was like Sonny Bill Williams at his best.
Dylan Napa, age 22, gets better and better, as does Kane Evans. They are all young giants and give me the impression they will be established members of the Roosters pack for many years to come.
For the Warriors, I again liked the work of prop Albert Vete. Ditto how long he is going to be around on the NRL scene.
Is the countdown on for a shot clock?
It can't come quick enough in my book.
Todd Greenberg revealed on NRL HQ last week that trialling a shot clock will be done later in the season in the under-20s.
For mine, it's just a matter of getting the technology in place for it to work seamlessly on-ground for players and fans to see, and for the television broadcaster to be able to display the facility to their audience.
The system passed with flying colours at the Auckland Nines.
Forget an under-20s trial. There's the clock – you've got 30 seconds to pack this scrum or take this line drop-out, or suffer the penalty consequences. Trial over.
The Roosters' James Maloney pushed the envelope with the time he took to take a number of line drop-outs against the Warriors, with his side under big defensive pressure.
The shot clock fixes that in one quick hit.
The same goes for scrums where referees are just talking to themselves in attempting to get the two teams to pack.
What's to trial?
How's the week been at Parramatta?
Like an elevator – up and down!
From last Monday week's capitulation against the Cowboys, through the Chris Sandow controversy, their CEO walking, to a win over the Storm where they still managed to make two handling errors in the final two minutes and survive a video ref try referral.
These are interesting times to follow the blue and gold.
The CEO job at the Eels should be one of the best in the league. There is just so much potential that you wonder how things could go wrong.
The statistic highlighted in the media this week that Parramatta has had 13 changes in coach and CEO since 2006 isn't exactly flattering.
Surely this time they can achieve some stability in their front office.
How big is this Saturday’s game for Canberra?
The Raiders have worked hard up to this point, and the reward is they are stationed inside the top eight after 14 rounds. That's higher than nearly all of us predicted at the start of the season.
This Saturday at GIO Stadium their opponents will be joint NRL leaders North Queensland.
A glaring statistic that has developed as a serious block to Ricky Stuart's side achieving all that they aspire is their strike rate at home: the Raiders' home record is the worst in the league with one win from six games in 2015.
This week they face a team that is 5-and-1 on the road and have won their last 10 games. However the Cowboys will also have some key players backing up from Origin, with obvious doubts on all of them being available.
And from the head-to-head records, the Cowboys have only won at the ground four times in 17 visits.
Canberra have a golden chance to make a real statement here.
I'm looking forward to calling the match for Fox Sports.