A few rules from the weekend.
1 Don't say anything too nice about the Warriors
There is a long tradition in New Zealand league, started by the Kiwis and being carried on by the Warriors. These teams win when they are given no chance, and crash when people start praising them. Favouritism and praise just don't work. The best thing about the Warriors' victory in Townsville was the increased enthusiasm levels - among most of the players - compared to the first two rounds. But we're not going overboard here - no sir. In fact, this column would be very surprised if they repeat it again and again.
2 Exception to the rule ... Warriors' forward Feleti Mateo
He still looks half asleep and came up with a contender for the worst play the ball in history, which gave the Cowboys a sniff of a comeback win.
Where has the Mateo magic gone?
3 NRL's video referee rulings
Would surely be more accurate if they were made by judging what happened, rather than judging what the on-field referees have decided in what is often a wild guess. There are a lot of tough 50-50 calls with no outright right or wrong decision. But the reluctance by video refs to overturn the original decision is an unnecessary impediment to getting it right. This occurred with a Glen Fisiiahi try in Townsville, where his knock-on was overlooked.
4 The Chiefs no longer rule
They were tipped over by Super rugby's little battlers in Perth. The Chiefs are overachievers. They have formed a decent squad since Dave Rennie took over, but not one that screams out double title winners. They are a tribute to organisation, spirit and outstanding coaching but it is inevitable that the bare patches show through now and then.
5 Aussie rules
While we are on about the Western Force, a hearty congratulations to this team from an outpost where AFL is an obsession. Perth is miles from anywhere, and certainly any rugby friendly territory. The Force are showing terrific resilience on and off the field.
6 One rule for one
John Kirwan isn't the first coach to indulge in this, and he won't be the last. But Kirwan is the most obvious at the moment. The Blues' boss whinges about refereeing decisions that go against his team, over-emphasising their importance. But when big calls go against his opponents, he dismisses their significance and praises his team. Recent events have knocked off the halo that many prematurely plonked on his head. In other words, Kirwan is just another manipulative coach - and not an overly impressive one at the moment - rather than St John.
7 Running the rule over
This column has long bemoaned the growing trend of TV commentators who regard themselves as salespeople for their sport, typified by generous or non appraisals of poor matches and performances. So for what it's worth, former All Black star Jeff Wilson did a top job of summing up what went on in the Blues' uninspiring victory over the Cheetahs, a match badly hurt by more scrum disasters.
8 Rugby scrum rules
They need another overhaul, sadly. The referees have been given a far too dominant role and are stuffing it up. I've also long believed halfbacks should be allowed to shove the ball into the second row. This would help stabilise the front rows - and make them safer, too - because the possession-hooker can plant both feet. The ridiculous part of the system is the team with the ball is disadvantaged. The team putting the ball in deserve to get it back - the shoving contest would still be important in disrupting the clearance but the ball would be cleared more cleanly and quickly allowing instant attacks to develop. A lot of people have some kind of moral objection to the crooked feed, yet straight feeds make scrums crook.
9 Say it ain't so
Time to rule the Wellington Phoenix out of the A-league title hunt. Injuries to key players have struck the Phoenix down. There is a mathematical chance of making the finals, like there is a mathematical chance of halting global warming. A horrible 5-0 defeat by the Newcastle Jets signals the end of the 2014 dream. Coach Ernie Merrick has achieved a lot, yet at the same time fallen short. It has been an erratic and confusing season. When they are good ... the Phoenix notched one 5-0 victory, but have conceded five on three occasions.
10 Get out the ruler
English soccer star Wayne Rooney scored a fabulous goal from almost the halfway line against West Ham, turning their Spanish goalkeeper Adrian into a stumbling mess. Poor Adrian will be in the highlights reels forever. Rooney's amazing swirling lob at Upton Park was the sporting highlight.