12 hours ago
Off the Wall
This is arguably the most crucial weekend in the premiership, and the finals in particular.
No more "second chances", this is a must win for the four teams that remain in the race to make the grand final. Some great football - and some superb individual performances - last weekend were absolutely swamped by at least one appalling decision by two video referees.
What we the fans need to demand - and it should not really be a demand at all - is that both matches this weekend are decided on the merits of the performances by the four teams, and not by poor decisions by referees and video referees (we can ignore the sideline officials because they don't make any decisions).
Just when we thought the negative publicity following the Sea Eagles v Cowboys match was on the wane (by about yesterday) today we have a poorly timed "confession" by Anthony Watmough that he took Stilnox - but way back in 2005!!!
Did that revelation need to be released now?
There is far too much complacency in the game today. There is simply an explanation that the new TV rights deal will just solve everything.
For example, Telstra has yet to resign as the official sponsor for 2013 onwards. If it does not do so, finding a sponsor prepared to tip in something like $10 million a year won't be easy.
The game needs to kick serious PR goals in the next ten or eleven days. We don't deserve, and we don't need, the distractions of poor decisions, and a finals player revealing something that happened SEVEN years ago!
This weekend we will have the unusual spectacle of sell out, or close to sell out crowds in both finals. And we should have outstanding television ratings.
And if we get through the weekend without appalling and inexcusable blunders by officials we will get the lead in to grand final week we both deserve, and demand!