Voss: Queensland to win Origin I
Andrew Voss on the Holden State of Origin series opener, the NRL top tryscorer race, the league's worst actor and more.
Who wins the State of Origin opener?
Lock me in for a Queensland win – but not by many. One point was the difference in the ANZ Stadium game last year. A similar margin tonight would not surprise.
Crunching the numbers that matter: 25 times in Origin history, the side winning the opening match has gone on to win the series. It's been the case in six of the past seven series.
In the 14 Origin openers played in Sydney, 13 of the matches have been decided by eight points or less.
So I think you get the picture.
I'll go Queensland by two. Greg Inglis to score the first try and Matt Gillett for man of the match.
Who will be the leading NRL tryscorer this year?
How good is this race? It could be the tightest ever.
In case you're not aware, just two tries separate the top 13 tryscorers in the NRL through 12 rounds.
At the same time last year, two tries separated a clear cut top three.
We have Jordan Rapana, Valentine Holmes and Anthony Milford showing the way with 10 tries, followed by Semi Radradra, Corey Oates and James Tedesco on nine.
The exciting newcomer on the list is Melbourne's Suliasi Vunivalu who has posted eight tries in just five matches. That tally consists of an incredible four doubles.
I'll take a stab and back Corey Oates to top the tally this year.
Should Josh Morris have been allowed to play for the Bulldogs last Sunday after being called up for NSW?
Yes he should have.
These were exceptional circumstances given the Sunday morning withdrawal of Josh Dugan from the NSW side. It required more thought than a black-and-white ruling.
At the very least, Josh Morris should have been given the option to fulfill his club commitments just a few hours later.
The circumstances were that the Dugan withdrawal news came mid-morning. It was an away game for Canterbury. To get a player to Canberra was always going to be a 3-4 hour operation. Their Intrust Super premiership side had played on Saturday afternoon. They did not have a standby outside back.
It's not a case of an NRL game taking priority or the clubs trying to run the game, it's actually just a case of doing what was fair and commonsense in my opinion.
Who is the best/worst actor in the NRL?
Sorry Kenny Edwards, but you take the cake – or even a Logie.
Edwards' leg cramp, which was then cured moments later, followed by cramps again, in the final minute of the Eels' match against Newcastle on Monday night was comical bordering on embarrassing.
A message to Kenny: if you're going to have a cramp, make sure you decide which leg you need to grab, because I swear you swapped both times between when you were trying to get up, and then the leg you actually rubbed.
I appreciate the fact that time wasting and gamesmanship has been going on for decades, if not since 1908. But Kenny Edwards' performance in Newcastle ranks with the worst I've seen.
As a result, I am also left to wonder, as many other observers still are, the actions of Parramatta and Edwards late in the Round 11 game against Souths when the side was under interchange pressure.
I believe a further investigation is needed to determine if the Eels bent the rules for their advantage.
Will the Panthers stamp their premiership credentials this weekend?
Saturday night is a massive game for Penrith at AAMI Park In Melbourne.
This weekend marks the halfway mark in the season, and Anthony Griffin's side is yet to win more than two games in a row, a feat they've achieved only once.
The Panthers are promising plenty. They look a potentially top-four side. But the time has come to string a series of victories together, and what a place to start.
You know what you're going to get from Melbourne, who impressively remain the only side in the NRL this year to have not conceded at least 20 points in a single game.
Over to you Jamie Soward and co.
Can't wait to call this one on Fox Sports Super Saturday!
Is the GIO Schoolboy Cup on again this year?
You bet it is!
I'm delighted to be in the commentary seat again in 2016 for this fabulous competition entering its 41st year.
The first of the matches that will eventually be televised on Fox Sports will actually be played on Thursday in Cessnock.
It's the clash of St Francis Xavier's College against Victorian side Hallam College.
And if you're keen to catch a big game of schoolboy footy next week in Sydney, head to historic Holy Cross College at Ryde on Tuesday night for a battle with St Gregs of Campbelltown.
I'm pretty sure the respective school bands will be up and running plus the student population of both colleges in the crowd, ensuring a unique atmosphere. It's a 7pm kick off.