SET OF SIX
1 The ARL Commission has got to blow up the refereeing department at the end of the season and start again. The problems obviously run too deep to be fixed with a few changes here and there. We wouldn't be getting the sort of decision we saw from Steve Clark in the video referee's box at the game between Manly and North Queensland if everyone was on the same page. Before the finals we were all worried that a horrible decision on a decoy play would ruin a finals game, but when the catastrophe came it was on what appeared to be a much more straight-forward call. It's now hard to imagine referees' bosses Bill Harrigan and Stuart Raper surviving beyond this season. Could you imagine the ARLC doing its end-of-season review and coming back with a report that said they should remain in charge? That seems unlikely, after this season. It just doesn't work that way in business, and that's what the game is now more than ever since the introduction of the commission.
2 Why is the term ''benefit of the doubt'' used at all when it comes to video refereeing? It adds nothing positive to the process. All it does is add to any doubt. If a video ref looks at six or eight replays and then awards a try citing benefit of the doubt, how is that supposed to make us have any confidence in the decision? Either make it ''try'' or ''no try'', and if you really don't know send it back to the referee and let him make the decision.
3 It wouldn't just be Canterbury fans who are suffering withdrawal symptoms from not being able to get their weekly dose of Ben Barba. I must admit I missed him, with the Bulldogs being out of action at the weekend. He has played in all 25 of their games this season. The good thing about Barba is that he isn't blinded by his own brilliance in attack - he knows he must continue brushing up on defence and taking bombs. ''It's something I really had to fix, and I like to think I've done it pretty well this year,'' Barba said. ''But I've still got to work on it because I'm sure there will be more tackles for me to make and more bombs for me to catch in the next couple of weeks.''
4 The future of Souths co-captain Michael Crocker remains undecided. I'm told the 32-year-old has had an offer sitting on the table from the Rabbitohs for next year for the past six weeks, but is yet to accept it. Whether he is holding out for more money or a longer-term deal, or has another option either here or overseas he is considering, isn't clear.
5 If we ended up with a Canterbury-Melbourne grand final it would be the third time coaches Des Hasler and Craig Bellamy will have met in a decider - but their first legitimate clash. The first two, when Hasler was coaching Manly, were in 2007 and '08, and Melbourne were subsequently found to have cheated the salary cap over a five-year period that included those two years. The Storm won 34-8 in 2007, but the Sea Eagles beat them 40-0 in 2008. There was a call from Storm founder John Ribot on the weekend for the 2007 and 2009 premierships that were stripped from Melbourne to be reinstated. Why?
6 Jorge Taufua is a throwback to John Hopoate at his best. He even looks like ''Hoppa''. That was one hell of a game from the Manly winger against North Queensland, thoroughly deserving of the man-of-the-match award. The statistics hammer home how big a factor Taufua was in Manly's win. He ran for 268 metres and had 11 tackle breaks, three line breaks, one try and one try assist. You don't perform that well in a high-pressure finals game unless you're something special. Taufua is only 20 and in his rookie year of first-grade. He is going to be a star.