NRL.com columnist Andrew Voss on the Storm's title credentials, the Hayne-Henry saga, the Cowboys' injury crisis, the NRL's return to Perth and more.
Can any one beat Melbourne?
With three rounds to go, the Storm deserve to be premiers.
But as we know it doesn’t always work that way.
Of their four losses this year, one was without their Origin stars before Game Three. They then lost after the decider in golden point to the Roosters.
They lost to the Sharks way back in Round 6, which makes their 38-36 loss to the Titans in Round 10 as arguably the most stunning result of the year.
I’m declaring them. I don’t think they’ll lose again this season. Good luck Craig Bellamy. Beat the Voss mock!
How are you tipping?
When five of the top eight sides lose just a month out from the finals and among the winners of those games are the bottom two, its probably time to ‘grab a Bex and take a lie down.’
When I lodged my tips this week, turns out I picked the eight favourites.
So how is it that I just know there is zero chance of me tipping the perfect round?
Of the upsets, I reckon the Panthers and maybe even the Tigers might be the best chances.
Good luck punters!
What do the Titans do next?
I don’t know. What a sad state of affairs.
I can remember saying earlier in the year during commentary of a Titans game on Fox League that there wasn’t a side I admired more in the competition for tenacity and grit.
That carried them a long way towards the finals last year, and kept them in matches this season despite plenty of injuries.
But all of that seems just a distant memory. It proves again that winning covers over most problems. Losing leaves them exposed and makes them fester.
Look at Newcastle. A month ago Nathan Brown’s job was in jeopardy. Three wins and despite the Knights still running last he’s receiving praise left, right and centre.
And what about the Tigers? I’m sure I heard plenty of their fans boo Aaron Woods not so long ago. Last Sunday he could have signed autographs post game for an hour.
Had the Titans not suffered such a poor three-game stretch where they have been outpointed 122-20, methinks this drama would not be happening.
Where are you Cowboy fans?
Tag this a call to arms on behalf of the North Queensland Cowboys.
They need a full house and a ‘hostile’ reception for Cronulla on Saturday night, to possibly keep their finals hopes alive.
With players dropping like flies to injury, these are tough times. It hasn’t helped playing top eight opposition every week in their current run of three straight losses.
However, may I say for effort, I don’t know that any side has tried harder this year than the Cowboys did against Penrith. Perhaps if the game was played in Townsville, it might have provided them with the edge.
It’d be great for the club’s sake to put the theory to the test against the Sharks.
I’ll see you there!
How soon does the NRL return to Perth?
From here on, if it was up to me, get used to plenty more matches in the west.
I’m not saying the NRL has to come out and announce tomorrow the entry date of a Perth team now that Super Rugby’s Western Force have been kicked out.
However, what I am pushing though is that the NRL open dialogue with the clubs about a match being played once a month there beginning next season until we do inevitably base a team across in Western Australia again.
Build up the appetite for rugby league, and treat the fans based there with respect. WA must become part of the NRL in this capacity in my opinion.
Where were you when…?
The Suliasi Vunivalu moment of madness is something from a rugby league game you will remember for your life and it’s one he’ll struggle to live down.
It was as bizarre as it was unbelievable… A bit like Nathan Friend and his upside down pass between his legs for the Warriors against Melbourne in 2015.
But here’s a question for you to ponder that was asked of me in relation to Vunivalu’s 'kung-fu' feat against the Roosters.
If the defenders had of both gone low, and he jumped right over the top of them, would he have been charged?
Oh how I love a rugby league hypothetical!
I’m on the Queensland double for Fox League this week and I can’t wait. Friday night in Brisbane followed by Saturday night in Townsville. It really is the best job in the world.