THE voice of reason, Willie Mason, offers his thoughts on the media coverage of Origin I, in particular the player ratings.
"To all @NSWRL players don't look at bulls--t ratings from f---wits that don't know s--t about the game,but sit in their private box and rate you guys! Unless you've played or been out there shut ya f----n mouth," Mason tweets.
There's no doubt about big Willie. While I've never played in the NRL, I consider myself a good judge of a peanut, and he surely warrants a 9.5 out of 10 rating.
Meanwhile, in a startling development, evidence surfaces that suggests David Klemmer is not made of titanium-reinforced concrete after the NSW front-rower emerges from Origin I with a fractured wrist.
Here's hoping the match-review panel can locate the dirty rotten Cane Toad who managed to sneak a stick of gelignite onto the field.
A TOUCHING cultural exchange between Tom Burgess and Daniel Saifiti is a highlight of Newcastle's 20-12 triumph against the Bunnies at ANZ Stadium.
Burgess extends to Saifiti a warm English welcome, known as a "Liverpool kiss".
Daniel replies with a traditional Fijian greeting often referred to as a "knuckle sandwich".
Caught up in the emotion of the moment, Burgess's brother Sam and Newcastle back-rower Lachlan Fitzgibbon try to replicate one of those Maori-style nose rubs.
It's pleasing to see that, even in the heat of battle, rival players are making the effort to become acquainted with one another.
Mind you, it's all sadly overshadowed by a post-match comment from the losing coach.
"We're playing a man's game," the Old Fox declares. "Bit of frustration both sides. One guy throws a punch, the other guy responds."
Actually Wayne, it's also played by women, and little kids, in case you hadn't noticed.
IT'S one of those feelgood stories that bring a tear to the eye.
Sarina Crocodiles junior Reuben Cotter, having fought back from two knee reconstructions that threatened to end his NRL career before it has even kicked off, runs out to make his top-grade debut for the Cows against Manly.
Within a minute of taking the field, the 20-year-old has flashed over the tryline, as TV cameras capture jubilant friends and family celebrating in the crowd.
Does it get any better?
But wait ... the video-referee killjoys decide to stick their beak in.
There has been a minor obstruction in the lead-up play, and the big screen flashes up a "no-try" ruling.
A rugby league fairytale disappears down the S-bend. Nice one guys. Some of your best work.
NSW coach Brad Fittler reveals that he has complained to the powers-that-be about an incident in Origin I, when Cane Toads hooker Ben Hunt threw a boot belonging to Blues skipper Boyd Cordner into the Suncorp Stadium crowd.
The boot failed to return, and Cordner spent six minutes running around in a sock - even putting in a clearing kick at one point - before NSW staffers could find a replacement.
Freddy is apparently happy for his players to walk around barefoot after training, soaking up the minerals and nutrients, but on game day he prefers they wear the appropriate footwear.
"You just can't have people slipping around on the field and you can't have people throwing boots off into the crowd," he says.
"Simple as that."
Freddy warns the fair-play police that unless they immediately crack down on such dubious tactics: "I'm going to now coach my players to do it."
Critics might suggest that would at least mean Freddy's Blues have some semblance of a game plan in Origin II.
IN the countdown to Origin I, there was unanimous agreement that the Blues could not possibly pick James Maloney.
Now, after the series-opening loss and Penrith's 19-10 win against the Chooks, there is unanimous agreement that NSW should rush him back in.
At least then we'd know who to blame if the Blues get beaten.
NRL head of football Graham Annesley explains the decision to fine Josh McGuire $3400 rather than suspend him for his "facial" on fellow grub Dylan Walker.
It's the second time this year McGuire has offended, but Annesley maintains the Queensland lock is merely an eye-gouge impersonator, not the real deal.
"There is a difference between a facial and poking around in the eyes of an opponent, and what we would traditionally call eye-gouging," Annesley says.
"The match-review committee have to rely on the evidence that is available to them, which is video evidence."
Alternatively, they can wait until McGuire removes a bloodied eyeball from its socket, and catch him red-handed.
I NOTE with interest an interview with the young lady who made a name for herself by invading the pitch during the recent European Champions League soccer final between Liverpool and Tottenham.
"By the time I'm 30 I plan on making enough money to retire, and streaking at the Champions League will only help me achieve that," Kinsey Wolanski says.
"I plan to do a lot more streaking to raise my profile."
Strikes me as a heaven-sent marketing opportunity for the NRL.
Maybe they could sign her up for the grand final? I was thinking for Origin II, but you wouldn't want Dylan "Big Papi" Napa getting too excited.