Justis Kamu looks at six issues in the NRL this week, including why a little TLC could have seen Krisnan Inu produce better performances for the Warriors.
1. Inu needed time
It took just 80 minutes on Monday night for Krisnan Nevada Inu to remind the 'Warrior Nation' of the special talent their club had decided to release. Claiming man of the match honours against the Roosters, new Bulldogs recruit Inu scored twice, kicked three goals and threw a freakish no-look pass to assist for Frank Pritchard's try.
With Jerome Ropati out injured, and no cover for the wingers in the squad, it comes as a surprise that they cut him so early. His footballing skills were sorely undervalued by an impatient Warriors organisation, which prefers to use backrowers in the centre position.
Des Hasler's lastest acquisition is a master-stroke, understanding that Inu needed a bit of TLC to make him tick. Had Bluey McClennan made the same effort with him as he has with Manu Vatuvei, Inu would be shining on this side of the Tasman.
2. Cleary stamping his foot down at Penrith
You've got to take your hat off to former Warriors coach Ivan Cleary for shaking up the order of house at the Penrith Panthers. Three weeks ago he cut star player Michael Jennings for his lacklustre displays in first grade. And this week removed the captaincy from Luke Lewis in favour of hooker Kevin Kingston.
Cleary has recognised that he has to establish his regime quickly, and that the old guard or the marquee player won't interfere with his rule. He made similar moves at the Warriors, dropping Reuben Wiki in 2008 and handed the captaincy to Simon Mannering (from Steve Price) in 2009.
In the past three weeks (without Jennings) the Panthers have found their best form with two victories including an upset over the champion Sea Eagles. His methods may not be well liked at his new club, but Cleary certainly knows how to get the best of his players when their backs are against the wall.
3. Tigers on the up
The Wests Tigers are making a strong charge up the competition ladder after clinching their fifth straight win over the North Queensland Cowboys. The side kicked off the season with the tag of 'premiership favourites', yet struggled to play cohesively with captain Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah failing to fire both on and off-the field.
The pair were rumoured to have clashed in training, but a lot of water has since passed under the bridge and the club's fortunes have transformed accordingly. Climbing to eighth on the ladder, big off-season acquisition Adam Blair, has slowly found the form to justify his $500,000 a season pay packet. With the Marshall and Farah bromance back on, and forwards Gareth Ellis and Liam Fulton to return from injury, Tigers fans will be confident that an NRL title is still within reach.
4. Barba for Queensland
How good is Bulldogs fullback Ben Barba? Barba has been in exhilarating form for the Doggies this season. What the diminutive fullback lacks in stature he makes up for in heart, a will to win and his blazing speed. He's been a rock at the back for the Bulldogs with his defensive work no longer a weakness, and his attacking game on par with Billy Slater and Greg Inglis.
Barba is a certainty for a Maroons jumper, and the Indigenous All Star would provide the perfect mix on a forwards heavy Queensland bench. Mal Meninga should look at giving Barba a run this series, imagine the spark he could provide running off the big forwards and working next to Cooper Cronk and Jonathan Thurston.
5. All eyes on Manu
Bluey McClennan's backing of big Manu Vatuvei needs to pay off sooner rather than later, with his winger's bumbling performances an eye-sore for Warriors faithful. Vatuvei will suit up this weekend knowing that all eyes will be firmly fixed on him against the Melbourne Storm.
After a 14-day rest, the beast is craving Sunday's match as an opportunity to earn the confidence of his teammates and the fans. No doubt the Storm will test the error-ridden winger with a few bombs and attacking moves down his left wing. All kicks aimed his way will have fans on the edge of their seats. If any side can expose a player's weakness its Melbourne's finest, Vatuvei will need to rise to the challenge or face the growing scrutiny over his rugby league abilities.
6. Knights amour losing its shine
How bad can the Knights be? They have a master coach, recruited well in the off season but have struggled to play with any conviction this season. Despite sitting 11th on the NRL ladder at the halfway point of the season, they have managed just three wins and fell to their seventh defeat this season.
Against the Titans on the weekend the Knights hit a new low with a demoralising defeat and were booed off the pitch by the home crowd at fulltime. Darius Boyd scored twice in Queensland's victory last weekend, but his shocking form for his club side continued as he knocked on in front of his own goal-line.
With the Knights set to face the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium this weekend, Wayne Bennett will be praying for his side's revival at his old stomping ground.
NRL Team of the week - round 12
1. Fullback - Greg Inglis (Rabbitohs)
2. Wing - Josh Mansour (Panthers)
3. Centre - Beau Ryan (Tigers)
4. Centre - Tim Lafai (Bulldogs)
5. Wing - Krisnan Inu (Bulldogs)
6. Five-eighth - Aidan Sezer (Titans)
7. Halfback - Benji Marshall (Tigers)
8. Prop - Tim Grant (Panthers)
9. Hooker - Kevin Kingston ( Panthers)
10. Prop -Aaron Woods (Tigers)
11. Secondrow - Ryan Hoffman (Storm)
12. Secondrow - Sam Burgess (Rabbitohs)
13. Lock - Luke Lewis (Panthers)
Coach: John Cartwright