You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Shaun Johnson after New Zealand's shock World Cup loss to Fiji. columnist Andrew Voss looks ahead to the World Cup semi-finals, disseminates the Kiwis' shock exit and asks if anyone can stop the Jillaroos.

What happens in semi-final No.1?

The run of the 'giant slayers' will come to an end but I am confident this Fijian side will perform better against Australia than any previously.

They should be tremendously proud at reaching the semi-finals for a third straight time, however the raw stats on the history between the nations does not read well for Mick Potter's team.

I was at Wembley in 2013 for the World Cup semi-final, won by the Kangaroos 66-nil. I had called the pool game earlier in the tournament at a wet and cold St Helens. Australia won that 34-2. In the 2008 Cup semi final in Sydney it was 52-nil.

I won't bother going back any further but that alone is a combined 152 to 2 tally from their last three world cup meetings.

We've had some upsets the last few weeks but if Fiji was to win this it would be the Big Daddy of them all.

Who wins semi-final No.2?

This is almost too tight to call.

I reckon both teams are in good shape with a month of football under their belts, however it has to be some advantage to Tonga how little travel they've had to do in comparison to England.

Since arriving in Australia, Wayne Bennett's team have gone to Melbourne, then Sydney, then across to Perth, back to Melbourne, and now onto Auckland. Now factor in the 'home' support for Tonga. Try finding any more flags of theirs to buy this week in Auckland!

Despite plenty of dropped ball, I still saw some encouraging signs for the England attack last Sunday. The move of Gareth Widdop to fullback has worked best for the team. They look more dangerous now than back in their tournament opener against Australia.

Can't wait to watch this one. England by six.

What do New Zealand do next?

It's back to square one. I am still in shock on what has unfolded for them. At halftime against Tonga the previous week when they led 16-2 I had them challenging Australia for Cup favourites.

If I'm at the Kiwis, I'm making a decision before kick-off to the NRL season on whether David Kidwell and his coaching staff remain. I'm then canvassing all eligible players on who wants to represent New Zealand in 2018 with a tour to the UK in October/November.

They move on. They rebuild. The only way is up.

Can the Jillaroos be beaten?

They were certainly impressive last Sunday in disposing of England despite a gallant effort by their opponents.

However New Zealand is also putting some serious form on the board. There won't be any upsets here, it is absolutely a race in two.

With a few more games to go, I'm already anticipating the December 2 final in Brisbane to be the biggest night we've ever had for women's rugby league. If you are planning to go on the night, lock it in to get there early.

And the New South Wales coach is…

Arise Sir Freddie.

Brad Fittler is the man, even allowing for the excellent credentials of who appears as the only other candidate still in the running, Michael Maguire.

I think all the signs are there that Freddie is a better coach now than when he took the reins at the Roosters. Best of all though from a media and fans' point of view is that he hasn't altered his personality.

I know it won't come into calculations of those deciding the New South Wales top job, but win, lose or draw, a Fittler coaching era at the Blues is going to be good entertainment.

Will the dust settle at the Roosters?

I'm fairly torn by the whole Mitchell Pearce exit story.

Three times club player of the year. Premiership winner. At 28 he should be in the prime of his career. The 'business' of football these days is ruthless. But strong football clubs aren't just all about business in my opinion.

In terms of loyalty, this was savage for Pearce, and I can totally understand him wanting to prove himself elsewhere once the Roosters signed Cooper Cronk.

I hope it works out for all parties, but as a result of these post-season events it is the Roosters as a club under more pressure to perform in 2018 than it is Mitchell.

There is just no let up for rugby league news.

Giddy Up!

Twitter: @AndrewVossy


Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Premier Partner

Media Partners

Major Partners

View All Partners