Warriors' horrible record: Voss

Did the Titans make the right call on Neil Henry, the alarming and damning end-of-season Warriors stats, the emergence of the brilliant playmaking generation next, the Challenge Cup Final, the race for the top eight and is Vossy getting old? 

What happens from here?

It seems the only thing locked in heading towards the finals in two weeks time is the minor premiership. And I believe Melbourne can continue their march with victories at home over Souths on Saturday, and Canberra on Saturday week.

Incredibly there is the chance that the Cowboys could finish the regular season with six straight losses and hang on for a playoff berth, such have been the results lately.

If the Eels fail to beat Brisbane on Thursday night, it will see the top four end up being Storm, Broncos, Sharks and Roosters.

I would have Parramatta and Penrith next. Manly should get there, with the Cowboys holding off the Dragons and Raiders, provided St George Illawarra lose against Penrith and their bogey team Canterbury in the last round. 

But then again, who is tipping eight out of eight every week? There is still time for a few twists.

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Did the Titans get it right?

There is so much at fault here, but the business of rugby league doesn't have to be fair.

This time last year we all had Neil Henry as a contender for coach of the year as he guided many people's tip for the 2016 wooden spoon, all the way to a finals berth.

At the very least for his efforts, he deserved to see out this season. I can't see any valid reason or advantage for the Gold Coast as to why he should have been given the inglorious cut with two games to play. 

As a result the perception is the Titans have bowed to ‘player power', and now their head office is being questioned. Win or lose in either of their last two games will prove nothing. For Jarryd Hayne, the pressure remains more than ever to perform. He will get his money in 2018, but unless he aims up, that'll be the last of the big pay days in the NRL.

As for Henry's replacement, I couldn't think of a better man than Kevin Walters.

 


Am I getting old?

Well the naming of the sides on Tuesday for round 25 certainly made me feel it.

On Friday night at Campbelltown on Fox League, I will be calling the debut of 20-year-old Bayley Sironen for the Wests Tigers against the Cowboys. This comes five years after his brother Curtis made his NRL debut in the corresponding game of 2012.

What a thrill for one of the greatest Tigers of them all, dad Paul.

And here's where ol' Vossy comes in. I went to the same Primary School as Paul at East Ryde in Sydney's inner west. As a matter of fact I can still vividly recall Paul wearing his New South Wales representative socks to school after playing for the State under-11s at the SCG!

I'll have you know though, Sirro was a year ahead of me!

Is this a rare time for young playmakers?

Get excited.

How good has it been watching the emergence of Nathan Cleary at Penrith? And what a feat in becoming the youngest player in history to notch 200 points in a season?

He is a special young halfback. But so too is Melbourne's Brodie Croft and he proved it again last weekend against the Knights.

And cop this tip. Next off the 'production line' will be a young bloke who has just turned 17 by the name of Tanah Boyd. He is currently in the Broncos system and has played Queensland under 16s and under 18s the last two years.

If you want to see Boyd's talents on show, tune in to the GIO Schoolboy Cup on Sunday morning on Fox League when Keebra Park play their Queensland semi final.

Where do the Warriors' problems start?

Among a few disappointments this season, the Warriors again are close to the top of the list.

With just one more away game to play, their record on the road reads 1 and 10. They take on the Tigers at Leichhardt in Round 26. 

And what about their late season collapses? I examined some season ending numbers this week since they last qualified for the grand final in 2011. In two of the seasons since, they failed to win a game in the final eight rounds. (2012 and 2015). 2017 is a chance to become the third.

Overall, in the last six years since that mighty run of '11, they have recorded just nine wins in 46 matches over the last eight rounds of those seasons. The verdict can only be they drop their bundle… that they are not mentally tough. That record has been compiled under no less than five different coaches.

Like the Bulldogs, the Warriors have plenty of work to do to turn things around.

Who wins the Challenge Cup final?

League fans can catch the Wembley Challenge Cup final between Wigan and Hull FC at midnight on Saturday on Fox League.

There could be as many as 13 players on show across the two teams who have spent some time in the NRL. A few are in the veteran class including Mark Minichiello, Gareth Ellis and Thomas Leuluai.

I'll tip Wigan with young England five-eighth George Williams to star.

I have a feeling I might be calling plenty of tries on Fox League this weekend. It'll start with the Tigers/Cowboys match on Friday night at Campbelltown. On Saturday it's off to Melbourne for the Storm's clash with the Rabbitohs. And on Sunday I have the commentary duties on the Warriors battle with Manly.

Giddy up!

Twitter: @AndrewVossy