'Most amazing play I've called in my career': Voss

Andrew Voss brings back the 'Incredible Meter', takes a look at the Warriors' credentials, and tells us how big Cameron Smith's 300 game milestone is.

Where does the Nathan Friend pass rate on the 'Incredible Meter'?

We have a new frontrunner folks.

Nathan's pass is not just the most amazing single piece of play I have called in my commentary career, but it is top of the list in my life of following rugby league.

That it would come from one of the oldest players in the NRL and with the greatest of respect, one of the shortest, only adds to its incredible status.

It all happened so fast that I could barely get the words out. I saw that it was Friendy in his trademark headgear, but in my head I was second guessing myself thinking he couldn't have possibly done that!

And don't sell short just how sensational the play that followed was in the scoring of the try.

Did you see the Shaun Johnson flick pass?

How slick was the ball from Sam Tomkins?

And what about the finish from my rookie of the year favourite, Tui Lolohea?

And it was a try that even got the attention of American sports fans.

Who would have thought Nathan Friend would be the face of the game to take rugby league to the world!

 


So, are the Warriors the real deal?

Well put it this way; there is more to this side than just passages of freakish play that they seem to be able to produce more than most teams in the NRL.

But as good as they are able to attack when they are on song, it is their defence that will determine if they are capable of remaining in the top four.

All of the top eight sides last year averaged less than 20 points in the defensive stats per game, and right at the moment the Warriors are conceding a tick over that through 18 rounds of the 2015 Telstra Premiership.

The Warriors have also failed so far this season to beat the Broncos, Cowboys, Roosters and Rabbitohs.

They face a tough draw over the next eight weeks, but few matches will be more challenging than this Sunday’s against the Roosters at Allianz Stadium.

And while I'm thrilled for Fox Sports that they are able to show such an entertaining side on virtually a weekly basis, it's a shame for rugby league fans in Australia who don't have Pay TV that they see so little of the likes of Shaun Johnson, Manu Vatuvei, Konrad Hurrell and co.

In 2014, Johnson, one of the game's superstars who would be asked to launch this season, featured in an NRL free-to-air match only once. 2015 isn't shaping as much better after the release of the schedule for the final six rounds.

More reason I guess to subscribe to Fox Sports (and yes I do work for Fox and Sky Sport New Zealand). But if I am calling this one wrong, you let me know.

How big is Cameron Smith's 300 game milestone?

Huge. Especially for the player who was once famously described by Storm teammate Matt Geyer as being "the footballer in an accountant's body".

There are a lot of minutes in those 300 games, and not too many matches where you would have been able to say he played poorly.

For mine, he gives hope to all the kids out there who aren't going to be the size of David Klemmer or have the physique of Greg Inglis.

There is still a place for the smart and talented player who weighs well short of the seemingly mandatory 100-kilo mark these days.

Smith is a champion. Full stop.

Are the Dragons now a spent force?

Not while they are still in the top eight they're not, but I stated last week they needed to win two of their next three, and after the loss to the Sharks, that becomes picking up maximum points in the next two rounds.

How fitting they should return to the SCG for what will have a touch of semi-final about it this Saturday night against the Rabbitohs.

You could make excuses for them last Sunday with the under-strength side they fielded, but not this week given the line-up they announced on Tuesday night.

Souths aren't exactly sitting comfortably on the ladder so they will be a tad desperate as well.

I hope both teams return to best form making for a special game at a venue we should never lose a rugby league link to.

Is the future success of the Auckland Nines assured?

That is entirely in the hands of the 16 NRL clubs.

It was great to hear Billy Slater talking the tournament up last weekend on a promotional visit to Auckland to launch ticket sales for the 2016 event.

However, I'll tell it like it is. If the majority of clubs took the attitude of Melbourne to the Nines from its first two years, there is a chance the event wouldn't be back.

The fans won't be sold a lemon. So long as there are a good number of stars spread across all the teams, the Nines will continue to be a great celebration to kick off each season.

Just the mention of Slater taking part had league fans in Auckland excited.

Bring it on!

Have you got another schoolboy player for the little black book, Vossy?

Yes I do.

And this is one for Canberra fans, who I would encourage to tune into the GIO Schoolboy Cup game on Saturday that will be screened on Fox Sports.

In the Erindale College side is an extremely classy fullback, Nick Cotric, who last year represented NSW under 16s.

This young man's playing style is very much like the current NSW Blues Origin fullback and former Raider Josh Dugan.

Erindale has produced some super players over the years. Cotric looks well above average to me.

I'm looking forward to trips to Canberra and Allianz Stadium this weekend in what is shaping as a superb round in the NRL.

See you at the footy.

Giddy Up!

Twitter: @AndrewVossy