Michael Burgess covers off six NRL topics in "Set of Six".
Shaun Johnson backs Kiwis colleague
Shaun Johnson has come to the support of Kodi Nikorima, who is under increasing pressure at the Broncos after five defeats in six games to start the season.
Some pundits have suggested Nikorima should be shifted to hooker or a utility role, but Johnson, who will face his Kiwis teammate on Saturday night, says Nikorima is a natural No.7.
"I know him pretty well and [after] working with him every day [on the Kiwis tour], he's a halfback and the people who know him know who he is," Johnson told Australian media.
"It's up to him to shut out that external noise. That doesn't mean anything and he'll continue in that role."
Nikorima has played 40 of his 85 NRL matches at halfback, with 43 off the interchange bench and two at fullback.
Cleary rebuffs Gould rumours
Penrith coach Ivan Cleary has down played suggestions of a rift with Phil Gould, denying he has had a falling out with the outgoing Panthers General manager.
Gould announced this week he was leaving the Western Sydney club, which has led to speculation over his relationship with Cleary.
However Cleary said on Thursday that 'Gus' Gould had simply decided his time was up, after eight years in the all consuming role.
"There's no falling out, no blow-ups — I've never had a blow-up with Gus in my life," said Cleary in his weekly media session. "I know it seems like a nice narrative but Gus made the decision and I respect that decision."
Props grab the glory
Members of the front row club are stealing the limelight in an unprecedented way this season.
Renowned for their far from glamorous role in the engine room, props have been scoring tries at an impressive rate this year.
According to NRL.com, props have contributed 23 touchdowns across the first quarter of the season.
It continues an upward trend since 2015, when the heavyweights of the pack crossed for only eight tries in the first six matches of that season.
Halligan remains kicking gun for hire
Almost two decades since his playing retirement, former Bears and Bulldogs winger Daryl Halligan is still in hot demand as a goal kicking coach.
Halligan, renowned as a sharp shooter in an NRL career that garnered 2032 points, is assisting the kickers at four clubs this year.
He does his specialist work at the Panthers, Warriors and Raiders, as well as the Bulldogs.
"It's not that complicated," said Halligan. "It's working on the mechanics of their kick, as well as their confidence. Belief is a big one for kickers."
Ayshford resigned to forward role.
Blake Ayshford feels he is destined to finish his league career in the forwards, despite a rare cameo at centre tonight against the Storm.
Ayshford turned up in the Warriors backline at AAMI Park — for the first time since the 2017 season — after a series of injuries.
But the 31-year-old says any more NRL appearances will likely be in the back row.
"It's a bit like [former Tigers teammate] Chris Lawrence, who switched from the centres to the pack," said Ayshford. "It's something that has been on the horizon for a while."
Greece and Norway fight for World Cup prize
From our international desk, Greece and Norway have named their squads for a crucial 2021 World Cup qualifying match next month in London.
The match will determine the winners of the European Championship 'C'.
The victors will then face Scotland (home) and Russia (away), in a battle for the final European spot at the 2021 tournament in England.