Set of Six

Buzzing Broncos: Todd Lowrie celebrates with Corey Parker (left) after scoring against the Dragons on Friday night.

Buzzing Broncos: Todd Lowrie celebrates with Corey Parker (left) after scoring against the Dragons on Friday night. Photo: Getty Images

1. Broncos and Sea Eagles look the business

Usually after one month of a season, we can neatly (though not always accurately) divide the competition into contenders and pretenders. But the topsy-turvy results so far this year provide us with very little clarity. Brisbane and Manly will, in all likelihood, have strong seasons. Sydney Roosters, Melbourne, Canterbury and North Queensland probably will too - based as much on what they did last year as anything so far in 2014. St George-Illawarra, Penrith and Parramatta will at least improve. The rest? How the hell can we know yet?

2. Speaking up for free speech

We've been critical of the NRL here for muddying the waters when it comes to sanctions against players and coaches for criticism of referees. So credit where it's due for getting the policy back on track by not (so far) fining Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson or Wests Tigers captain Robbie Farah over their weekend comments. If you're not questioning anyone's integrity, it should be fair game. Restricting free speech kills the goose that laid our golden egg. Rugby league was built on discord - and that's not a plug for the other column you can read midweek on LeagueHQ.com.au.

3. Return of the wedgie

The ‘‘wedgie’’ had gone out of fashion since Jason Stevens retired but it appears to have returned after Canberra fullback Anthony Milford told referee Jared Maxwell that he had been a victim of the tactic by an unidentified Souths player at ANZ Stadium on Sunday. Milford complained while Jarrod Croker was preparing to convert Reece Robinson’s 18th minute try. Maxwell promised to keep a close eye on future tackles and said: ‘‘They really don’t need to do that.’’

4. Let's see players' salaries

Set Of Six supports former Sydney Roosters CEO Burnie Gurr in his call for players' salaries to be made public. If the NRL is paying the value of the salary cap, then they should pay the players directly and publish the figures. The players will always say "how would you like it?" but most of us don't work in an artificial economy on which consumer confidence relies almost completely. Currently, we are asked to be believe in the salary cap without much evidence of its existence, the way our parents once ordered that we believe in the tooth fairy. (PS: Years ago I put my salary in a column like this in response to the players' ubiquitous response. It was cut out. My editor must have been embarrassed at the pittance he was paying me).

5. We pay to watch them risk it all

Recent debate about concussion and other serious injuries has cast Set Of Six back to the 1975 film Rollerball, in which the globe watches as men on skates and bikes play an increasingly violent game which has the purpose of distracting us from the real ills and evils of the world. You won't be expecting to read this in the sports pages but we are all paying to be amused by athletes risking life and limb every weekend. Sure, there is skill and courage but there is also danger. At some point, our collective guilt in being entertained by the potential misfortune of others will prove to be too much.

6. Vale Ian Frykberg

One of the leading figures in the Super League war, Ian Frykberg, died at the weekend. Frykberg was a key negotiator for Super League and was heavily involved in the peace deal with the ARL that led to the formation of the NRL in 1998. He was also behind the establishment of the Super Rugby competition – a move that prevented the warring league factions from plundering the rival code and has ultimately given the likes of Jason Robinson, Sonny Bill Williams and Israel Folau another career option.