BLOCKER: The NRL coach with the most to lose

A ball hasn't even been kicked in anger yet, but we've already had endless debate about which coaches are under the pump this year.

St George Illawarra's Steve Price and the Wests Tigers' Mick Potter have been the most mentioned before their teams square off on Sunday.

But I reckon Brisbane's Anthony Griffin is the man with the most to lose.

This is the first time since the Broncos came into the comp that I've really thought they've lost their way.

They've dropped the ball big time in the recruitment stakes.

They're going outside the club to purchase players and brought a lot of blokes back to Queensland who slipped through their net in the past.

Bronco Ben Barba will feel the heat from the Bulldogs tonight. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

One of those is former Dally M medallist Ben Barba, who turns out for Brisbane for the first time against his old club in the Bulldogs on Friday night.

I don't buy into any of the remarks the Bulldogs have made about Barba leaving on good terms.

Des Hasler would have been telling his troops all week, 'this bloke has deserted us'. I can guarantee you he'll be hit harder every time he runs the ball.

I reckon the Bulldogs will be filthy with the way he left and they'll let Barba know he's in a contest.

Pace is the secret

The most intriguing aspect of the first weekend of the season for mine is how the new rules are going to affect the game.

I love the potential they have to make the sport a more enjoyable product for the fans. I reckon it’s going to get even faster – maybe even bordering on breakneck speed. But how are they actually going to be implemented?

Outlawing the cannonball tackle is a commonsense addition.

I hate seeing blokes being twisted and buckling at the knees and ankles when the third man comes in and attacks a ball carrier below the knees. They’re cowardly tackles.

How many of you knew, though, that if the third man makes initial contact just above the knee and the tackle slides down to the lower leg it is deemed a legal effort?  This is where it’s going to get very tricky to monitor for the referees.

I love what the quick re-starts are going to bring to the game. Nullifying blokes kicking dead all the time by rewarding the receiving team a zero tackle from the 20-metre restart is an excellent idea.

Having a tap from a 40-20 kick instead of a scrum is also brilliant but are we going to truly reward the attacking team with a quick tap if the defensive line isn’t set?

The worst thing that can happen will be referees allowing the defensive line to take an eternity to set.

We see it time and time again with quick taps and it defeats the purpose.

If the kicking team charges downfield at a million miles an hour and is ready to take the tap, just let them do it. 

Who cares if there’s no defenders set?

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