Andrew Voss predicts the Maroons will win Game Two and looks at Manly's woes, Radradra, the Titans' form and the importance of a huge Round 16 of the NRL Telstra Premiership.
Who wins Origin II?
I reckon Queensland is ready to paint the town maroon… again!
New South Wales will be battling more than just 17 players in Queensland jerseys on Wednesday night. History tells us, Suncorp Stadium/Lang Park has proven a tough place for the Blues to win the second game of a series.
It’s a feat they have achieved only twice since 1982 (1998, 2000).
I think it is safe to dismiss memories of the Game Three smashing from last year, but not the ability of Queensland to post points on their home track.
If Queensland make a good start; then I don’t believe the Blues will be able to chase points.
I'm tipping a 24-12 win to the Maroons. I think Johnathan Thurston will claim man-of-the-match honours in his 35th consecutive Origin game. And I'll take a stab at Corey Oates snaring the opening try.
Enjoy the night!
Has Manly hit rock bottom?
Sadly for Sea Eagles fans, I think the answer is no. Monday night in Townsville might get them there though.
When you look at the club across three grades this year, it doesn't paint a great picture. They have managed just four wins in the NRL. Their NYC team is running last after only one victory in 15 rounds, and in the Intrust Super Premiership, Manly is sitting second last with four wins in 2016.
Injuries are now biting hard, but there were signs the ‘rot’ had begun to set before they became a major factor.
I am sure everyone at the club is feeling the pressure. The next big call for Trent Barrett might be what to do with Brett Stewart.
Brett is averaging just 43 running metres a game this year. One of the game’s most prolific try-scorers has only one four pointer in 2016. He is on the longest try drought of his career, unable to score in his past nine matches. If Tom Trbojevic is fit, I believe Barrett has to give him the No.1 jersey. What happens to Brett can only be dictated by form rather than reputation in a side struggling to find momentum.
Manly is at the mercy of the Cowboys on Monday night. Meantime, a club great in Brett Stewart might be playing for his career.
What will happen with Semi Radradra?
What I hope is that he returns to the Parramatta Eels and plays in Round 17 against the Sharks.
Slightly cynically, I'll say I hope he'll come back and try his best to retain his spot in the Australian side for the Four Nations tournament at the end of the season. I mean, that Kangaroos jersey must mean something in all of this?
But I am not in Semi's shoes. If he walks out, we all know he isn't the first.
But the perception of most of the fans I've spoken to is that the chief factor in all of this is money. The rumoured French rugby deal is worth more than double what Radradra is being paid per season at the Eels.
To have come from nothing not so long ago, and suddenly have the chance to earn an income of over half a million dollars in less than a year would be quite a dilemma.
Let's be blunt: Radradra has no reason to leave Parramatta, break his contract, and head across the globe other than for more money. End of story.
Should the Roosters have been awarded a penalty try on Sunday?
And it would have made for an interesting stat for Roosters winger Joseph Manu. A penalty try on debut! When has that ever happened?
But seriously, what a contradiction it is on the officials' own key indicators that Manu wasn't awarded a penalty try due to the illegal interference of Warriors winger Ken Maumalo. In every other try referral, we are told the officials only need "sufficient evidence" to confirm or overturn a decision. Not 100 per cent reasoning or proof. But in the case of a penalty try, that 'logic' goes out the door.
I don't get it.
How good are the Gold Coast Titans?
Let me repeat my last line of commentary in the Titans' win over Manly on Fox Sports from Monday night.
The Titans aren't just a competitive side or a team with plenty of spirit. They are a really good footy side.
The manner in which they scored their three first-half tries against the Sea Eagles was proof of a well-coached team. Set play try through the middle. Try in the right corner. Beautifully executed play then for another try, but this time in the left corner.
And time for an honesty session. Who out there had the Titans winning the wooden spoon this year?
If you have a spare towel can you send it my way. I have a little bit of egg to clean up!
How important is Round 16 this weekend?
I'm tagging this one the benchmark round!
I see a number of games where teams can make bold statements.
Is there any life still in South Sydney premiership challenge? We will get our answer on Friday night against Penrith.
Are the Warriors really on a serious roll towards finals football? Well, lets gauge how good they are against the Sharks on Saturday night.
Are the Bulldogs a genuine top four contender? They can prove it by beating the Broncos at ANZ Stadium.
How much have the Wests Tigers improved after three wins from their last four? A game against the Storm in Melbourne is a fair place to make a judgement.
And who are the stronger finals contenders out of the Raiders and the Titans? Let's see them go toe-to-toe on Sunday and then make a verdict.
I'll be at ANZ on Saturday night to call the Dogs-Broncos blockbuster on Fox Sports. Can't wait.