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Maroons veteran Corey Parker is Andrew Voss's tip for Man of the Match in State of Origin III.

How the Origin decider will go down, how good is Semi Radradra, why the Dragons are the club most under pressure now and more.

Who wins the Origin decider?

Well, I am one from two in this year's series, but I am going to tip Queensland in a thriller.

Having said that, I think their best is behind them. The last two seasons have proven they are no sure things in a tight finish, where as they always seemed to come up with the big play when it mattered most in their run of eight-straight series victories.

Probably the last mission for New South Wales to end a Maroon dominated era is to win a series Game Three, with Queensland currently on a five-year run.

The fact is, there is very little between these two sides, and a series that is taken to the final minutes to determine the winner would come as no surprise.

So lock me in for Queensland by two. Corey Parker for Man of the Match, and Justin Hodges for first try in his farewell Origin game.


What next in the Alex Mckinnon/Cameron Smith stand off?

Settle it men.

Now that the story is out in the public domain, I don't believe it serves either man any good for there to be ongoing bitterness.

I respect and admire Alex McKinnon like few others players in our sport. We have all been inspired by the way he has handled his life changing situation. 

Not for one moment can I imagine what it has been like for Alex and his family since that night in Melbourne in March last year.

But I also respect and admire Cameron Smith.

What's done is done, but it need not fester. I hope some form of mediation can take place away from the public eye sooner rather than later.

So much for the NRL being 'irrelevant' during Origin time

Ain't that the truth.

They were four really big wins on the weekend.

For Manly it was season-saving against Cronulla. For the Panthers, it could well be season defining the way they accounted for Souths. The same could be said of the resurgent Eels after their victory against the Tigers. 

And let me hail the Cowboys for their second win of the season without their Origin players, when in previous years they had the worst record in the NRL when their stars were absent.

What's more, both those wins have come away from home in a streak of seven victories on the road. 

The way things are going, we might have half of this year's final series played in Queensland.



How good is Semi Radradra?

Well, lets just hope he continues to improve over the next few years because in rugby league terms he is still very much a rookie.

The five week try scoring blitz has been extraordinary. Eleven tries in a season tally of 16 from 10 games is mightily impressive.

But it reminded me of the try scoring feat of Canberra's Brett Mullins through the same part of the season, 21 years ago.

He also clocked up 11 tries, but did so in just three consecutive games.

Mullins bagged a hat-trick in Round 16 against the Sharks; then went one better with four tries against Souths in Round 17.

But Mullins then iced the cake and ate it with another four slashing tries on a famous night in Newcastle when the Raiders thumped the Knights in Round 18.

There is very little similar in the appearance of Radradra and Mullins, however they have one big thing in common and that's the ability to excite a crowd.

By the way, Semi's next game after the Eels have the bye is against Canterbury on Friday week. What a 'try showdown' that could be with the Bulldogs' Curtis Rona!

Will the Dragons still make the finals?

Let me answer that this way: there are a number of sides below them travelling far better, and some of those aren't even in the top eight.

The Dragons should probably treat the next three weeks like a semi-final dress rehearsal.

If they can beat the Sharks, Rabbitohs and the Storm, they will just about clinch a berth to play in the real thing. 

Win any less than two and I'm prepared to write off Paul McGregor's side for 2015, keeping in mind they are already on a four game losing streak.

The Dragons have stalled, scoring only 54 points across their past four matches.

The way I see it, no side is under more pressure heading into Round 18. What a time for a local derby at Remondis Stadium.

Is it time for the GIO Schoolboy Cup?

Yes it is!

Fox Sports will start broadcasting the 2015 GIO Schoolboy Cup this weekend.

And what a tradition. This is the 41st year of the Cup with Endeavour Sports High the defending champions.

Each game you come across some terrific rugby league stories and this week you'll have the chance to watch an exciting young centre playing for Farrer Memorial Agricultural High against Hunter Sports High.

His name is Dylan Chown and he hails from Wee Waa. This young bloke is blessed with speed.

Back in his home town he also plays alongside his dad in the Group 4 reserve grade competition. What a thrill that must be for the family.

Enjoy your footy this weekend folks.

I'm off to Auckland for what should be a huge battle between the Warriors and the Storm.

Giddy Up!

Twitter: @AndrewVossy



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