1.Gold Coast coach John Cartwright still has two years left on his contract and beat South Sydney away just a week ago - but he knows that won't stop people calling for his head. "No doubt they'll be out there in force," he said after the 36-20 defeat to Canberra. "You've got to be numb, though. You can't listen to it. You can't let it affect the way your team sees you or let it affect your approach through the week." Cartwright stopped just short of conceding the finals are out of reach, with the Titans needing to win six from eight. "It's very tough, especially when you look at the draw," he said. "That was a winnable game. You look down with 10 games to go and you put a tick against that one. We wasted a high opportunity.''

 

2.

Milford keen on

Samoan dream

Canberra superstar Anthony Milford says as far as he is concerned, he can play for Samoa in the Four Nations. The Raiders stopped Milford from turning out for Matt Parish's side earlier this year, only for him to end up playing in the curtain-raiser for Queensland under 20s after an approach from the Maroons. Speaking after he blitzed Gold Coast, Milford said: "I'm eligible because I didn't play in the Origin but in saying that I've got to see what the NRL say about switching over." Given Milford's impending departure to Brisbane, one would think Ricky Stuart would be the very epitome of bittersweet at Milford's feats. "No mate," Stuart said. "He's made a decision. We'll move on."

 

3.

Ref bosses undermine credibility

Referees make mistakes and it's doubtful we have ever got through a rugby league season without our match officials being "in crisis". But the real difference this year seems to be transparency and accountability. In England, the whistlers have actually set up a Twitter account, @RLFreferees, and invite fans to ask questions about decisions and interpretations. Compare this with the NRL, where referees' boss Tony Archer has hardly been quoted in the media all season, let alone answered fans' gripes. The approach seems to be: "If we don't admit Wests Tigers were denied a fair try on Friday, it will go away". The philosophy hurts the credibility of match officials and the sport.

 

4.

Clubs push for stand-alone Origin

NRL CEO David Smith has suggested the scheduling around Origin is unlikely to change next year. In researching a story on the future of Origin for Rugby League Week, I was told clubs wanted a summit with broadcasters over the issue. "There is a push for stand-alone Origins and I have never known there to be one as strong as this." Souths CEO Shane Richardson said. "The clubs would really like to sit down with everyone and - rather than pick a fight - talk through all the issues in the hope of coming up with a solution that helps the players, the game, the commission, the clubs and the media partners."

 

5.

Hail the Warriors' push and shove

Fascinating to hear people say the Warriors have "opened a hornet's nest" - by pushing in scrums. Is pushing in scrums going to attract OH&S concerns? The "tactic" worked earlier this year against Gold Coast and again in the 48-0 win over Parramatta at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday. Because halfbacks don't put the ball in the middle anymore, hookers don't hook and packs don't push. The Warriors are making the scrum relevant again - and good on them.

 

6.

Pointing for Alex McKinnon

Was the clock broken at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday? Is that why Warriors players pointed to where their wrist watches should have been each time they scored? No. Five-eighth Chad Townsend tweeted: "We weren't allowed to wear our #RiseForAlex wristbands but if I had mine on here's where it would be." .