Voss: Who is most improved in 2016?
Andrew Voss nominates his most improved players of the 2016 Telstra Premiership season so far, gives his thoughts on the Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters, and talks up his chances in the NRL.com Tipping Comp.
Who is the most improved player in the competition this year?
My criteria for this one is looking at players who have been around a while in the NRL, but have really stepped up a notch this season.
I'm sure you all have a number of players in mind, but I want to single out two names.
The first is Wests Tigers centre Kevin Naiqama. He has become a genuinely dangerous player down the Tigers' right side, appearing in every game this season. His success is the result of nothing but hard work and persistence.
The same can be said for the Titans' Agnatius Paasi. He's had a real presence in matches this year right from the Auckland Nines where he was just about the player of the tournament.
Should Tony Williams' "hand of God" have been pulled up?
In my opinion yes, but I understand you can't just write rules on the run.
I've never seen the likes of it in all my time following the game. But be it accidental or deliberate, the ball was propelled forward clear of the defence to the attacker's advantage. And that should mean a halt in play for mine.
The Bulldogs got the try, but please do not let such a bizarre moment surface in the grand final or a State of Origin decider, if the outcome is going to be as it was on Monday.
How good are the Melbourne Storm in 2016?
Very good… and getting better if the last two weeks are anything to go by.
The last time the Storm won the premiership was 2012. They entered Round 15 that year with exactly the same record they have now; 11 wins, 2 losses, 1 bye, 24 points.
By the time the grand final was done in 2012, the Storm had averaged 24 points a game in attack, and conceded 14 points per match in defence.
In 2016, the game averages for those two areas read, 24 points in attack, and an incredibly impressive 10 points in defence.
Over their last six matches, the Storm have conceded just 26 points, while on three occasions have managed to keep their opponent scoreless.
Last year Melbourne managed just one win through the Origin period. They are two from two in 2016.
They can win the NRL Telstra Premiership this year. As a matter of fact, in a few weeks' time they may be favourites with a huge clash against Brisbane scheduled for Suncorp Stadium in Round 17.
Are the Roosters gone for the season?
They are in my book.
Mathematically they can still qualify for the finals if they manage nine wins from their last 11 games.
But a quick look at the draw, and even their most ardent fan would have doubts about winning games against the following: the Sharks in Round 19, the Storm in Round 20, the Broncos in Round 21 and 26, or the Cowboys in Round 23. So to remain in contention, they couldn't afford to lose any more than two of those.
That's not to mention clashes like this Sunday against the Warriors.
It brings me no joy to say, but the Roosters are gone.
Did Eddie Jones have a point?
Former Wallabies and Japan rugby coach and now England mentor Eddie Jones had a few things to say last week in talking up rugby union over rugby league.
"Rugby league is not a skillful game," bleated Mr Jones.
Sorry ol' chap but even if you thought you had a point, I know the sensational entertainment of NRL games such as Manly and Penrith, and the Dragons and Bulldogs last weekend was genuine.
But if Mr Jones does want to take the issue further, let him bring to the table the match statistics from the union Test in Brisbane on Saturday night.
His side won scoring three tries to their opponents' four. England's third try came in the final minute. They kicked six penalty goals.
England ran the ball for the grand total of 311 metres in 80 minutes. They carried the ball just 67 times. England kicked the ball on 23 occasions. They passed the ball only 65 times. They had three offloads. England made 121 tackles and missed 22.
Go ahead. Ignore the above numbers. They are just stats. And maybe Jones is right. Maybe union is more skillful than league.
But how could you be sure when the ball was in play for less than 25 minutes?
Who will be NRL.com's top tipster?
What a race this is. Make sure you check out the NRL.com Tipping Leaderboard here.
There is a five-way tie for first, and only two tips separating the top eight.
I'm really feeling the pressure up alongside the likes of Yvonne "Slugger" Sampson, Paige "Rocks or Diamonds" Hadley, Matt "The Special One" Elliott, and Dominic "The smiling assassin" Brock.
And despite the fact there are only four games scheduled for this weekend, I can't forecast any as having a certain result.
(Even Renee Gartner might get 4 out of 4!!!!)
See you at the footy this weekend. I'm locked in to call the Titans v Sea Eagles game on Fox Sports on Monday night. I have a feeling Manly might just deliver coach Trent Barrett some joy.