Voss: Milford should start for Kangaroos
Andrew Voss says Anthony Milford should start at five-eighth alongside Johnathan Thurston for the Kangaroos in the upcoming Test match against New Zealand, and looks at the best utilities in the game, the tripping issue and a contender for try of the year.
Should Anthony Milford be considered for the May 6 Test v New Zealand?
Not only should he be considered, he should be picked and I'd have him as the starting No.6 with Johnathan Thurston at halfback.
Isn't that what representative teams are supposed to be about? Rewarding players for great form?
The old 'incumbents rule' just doesn't apply anymore in my book. Australia playing Tests is so infrequent, and it's been a while since a win in any case.
As for Milford not being considered because of his ban from Queensland Origin contention for 12 months… well that's Queensland's problem.
If we are going to stick to that line, are you telling me Milford has to also sit out the Four Nations at the end of the year?
Bob Fulton once told me that with representative teams, you pick the best players and find them positions. Milford has to be in the Kangaroos 17 come May 6.
Who is the best utility player in the NRL?
Now, I know there are a lot of players who are capable of covering a lot of positions, with the Warriors Tuimoala Lolohea a case in point, but not too many do it as both forward or back on a regular basis.
Just take a look at Brown's season so far for Manly. He was a starting second rower in Round 1 and 2. He played a whole game at centre in Round 4 against the Roosters. And last week, played a terrific game at hooker in the Sea Eagles loss to the Eels.
What's more, Brown has been asked previously to cover these positions in the New Zealand Test side.
Brown is a real rugby league pro, and proving his worth as one of Manly's big name off-season recruits.
Did we see a contender for try of the year on Monday night?
We sure did, but it won't win.
Latrell Mitchell's second-half try for the Roosters against Penrith was quite extraordinary.
By the time we get around to determining the best four-pointers of 2016 it will probably be forgotten the miserable wet conditions the two teams endured on Monday night.
So can we open a new category in advance? Best try in adverse conditions. The Roosters 'hot potato' effort will be hard to top!
What should we do with trippers? (Part 2)
I find myself compelled to revisit my column piece from last week.
The sin bin is a must during play for this offence, after another two players were charged in round 7.
In the case of Melbourne's Nelson Asofa-Solomona, I would have had no problems with him being sent off against the Tigers, and how on earth he only received a grade one offence I haven't the slightest idea.
It was interesting to canvass some of the Fox Sports commentary team during the week about tripping. They all claimed that from their playing experience, it was very rare that a trip wasn't deliberate.
So why do our officials continue to have such a hard time getting tough on this unwanted offence?
Who is the unluckiest player in the NRL?
I should mention, this question has nothing to do with injuries.
The answer is Brayden Williame.
Brayden has again been picked on the wing for Manly following the injury last week to Jorge Taufua.
Williame appeared in the opening two games of the season that the Sea Eagles both lost, bringing his career record to 13 matches without a win, since making his debut with Parramatta in 2013.
Surely he will break the 'curse' on Monday against Newcastle, and he returns to the top grade with some good recent form under his belt including scoring 4 tries two weeks ago in the Intrust Super Premiership.
But as they say, there's always someone worse off. According to league historian David Middleton, University prop James Marks went 34 games before his first career win in 1936. For the record, University won only two games over their last four seasons between 1934 and 1937.
Will we ever see a full strength New Zealand test side?
And speaking of curses, what about the Kiwis?
I'm sure I am correct in saying that in the modern era they have never had a full squad available for the mid-year Test in particular.
If it is not injury that strikes down a key player just before a Test squad is named, then one of their stars usually cops a small suspension.
This time the 'curse' has struck two weeks out with the dreadful knee injury to Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.
The difference in 2016 however is that never before have the Kiwis had the depth they do now. It's a great shame that Tuivasa-Sheck is out, but the likes of Peta Hiku, Tui Lolohea or Josh Hoffman can all fill the void.
And don't be surprised if Canberra's Wellington born Jordan Rapana comes under consideration. He has been one of the standouts for the Raiders this season.
I'll be calling the Bulldogs against the Titans on Saturday and the traditional Anzac day clash between the Dragons and the Roosters for Fox Sports in Round 8. I hope you'll tune in.