Voss: What Indigenous Round means to me
Andrew Voss looks back on Rep Round, the chances of the Rabbitohs and reveals two of his favourite Indigenous rugby league players of all time.
What did we learn from Rep Round?
I know I am sounding like a broken record, but can we please put an end to the insulting schedule that only allows our Australian and New Zealand Test sides two training sessions to prepare.
It doesn't matter how good the quality of players on show is, with such limited preparation time, matches like Friday's underwhelming affair in Newcastle are what you will get more often than not.
It's such a shame.
The Pacific Island Tests were terrific. I am always left wanting more. The news that Samoa will host Fiji in a Test in Apia on October 8 is a big step forward. More please!
And Country v City took its place on Sunday, but for mine delivered no firm point either way on why it should or shouldn't be retained in the schedule.
I'm glad the crowd enjoyed it, but it's just not the intensity of a big NRL match. I think the second half try fest confirmed that, so how can it be considered a genuine trial for State Of Origin?
Who gets the 'Player of Rep Round' award?
Well if there was one, I'd find it hard to go past the Gold Coast Titans Papua New Guinea captain David Mead.
What an underrated player he is.
He was an inspiration in attack, but especially in defence, as he led the Kumuls for the first time in their test against Fiji.
I actually called David in action the first time he represented PNG at the 2008 World Cup. He played under the name of David Moore. This was before he had played first grade for the Titans. But even then you knew he was a young player of great potential.
And from my friends in Port Moresby, they tell me David has now been elevated to hero status previously afforded to the likes of Marcus Bai and Adrian Lam.
What should Indigenous Round mean?
It should be a chance to really celebrate the contribution of Indigenous players through the history of premiership rugby league.
But then again, I've been celebrating that contribution ever since I was a young fella.
One of my earliest football heroes was former Balmain winger Larry Corowa. However, as a kid, I never saw the colour of his skin. He was a superstar to me, just as former Souths 'Redfern Express' Terry Fahey was. Their Big League posters were both on my wall, side by side.
In more recent times, among my favourite players have been Matty Bowen and Preston Campbell. They entertained and inspired me just as the likes of James Tedesco and Shaun Johnson do now.
If only the simple views of a child could be carried across all society.
As a fan, and now as a commentator, I only see a player's talent and the colour of his jumper, not the colour of his skin.
Have Manly made a mistake in taking their home game to Brisbane?
What Manly player wouldn't be excited about the prospect of taking on the Broncos in front of a 50,000-strong crowd? What an experience!
And there are stats that support the switch from Brookvale, besides the obvious financial advantage.
The Sea Eagles currently have the lowest home ground crowd average in the NRL.
Brookvale has lost its "fortress" tag over the last 18 months, with Manly winning only one of five home games this year, on the back of five defeats there in 2015.
And then there is the Sea Eagles decent strike rate at Suncorp Stadium to consider, having won eight of 18 previous clashes.
Is this 'it' for the Rabbitohs' 2016 campaign?
Mathematically, obviously not. But wow, what a team under pressure after just one win from their last seven games.
And the cracks in the wall keep appearing, with the drama surrounding Chris Grevsmuhl the latest setback in a rocky season so far.
Friday night they will face a Parramatta side galvanized by off-field scandal. The Rabbitohs just weren't there for the opening 25 minutes of their Round 9 game against Wests Tigers, and paid the price on the scoreboard.
For this week, I don't mind the switch of Greg Inglis to No.6, because I believe Alex Johnston, on his return from injury, can have a bit to offer from fullback.
So back to my first question, is this it?
Well if they lose big, I reckon I'll have plenty of ammunition to dismiss them as a worthy finals contender. Put simply, Souths must at the very least, compete for 80 minutes.
Who have you tipped this week?
I locked in my Round 10 tips for NRL.com, and then realised I'd actually gone for all eight favourites.
So, now I'm worried.
The eight favourites winning in Round 10 of the NRL?
That just doesn't happen.
The games where I am least confident are the Dragons v Raiders clash on Thursday night, the Panthers v Warriors match on Saturday in Christchurch, and Wests Tigers v Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.
I'm excited about a big weekend of calling on Fox Sports with trips to Pirtek Stadium for the Eels v Rabbitohs; a Suncorp Stadium blockbuster between the Storm and the Cowboys, and I'll be at CBus Super Stadium Monday night for the Titans against the Roosters.