Merrin the weak link
Extensive video analysis by Queensland has identified Blues interchange forward Trent Merrin as NSW's potential weak link in Wednesday night's State of Origin opener. Mal Meninga's staff have compiled video dossiers on all 17 Blues players and hours of painstaking research have come up with Merrin as the player the Maroons will target. The stats show Merrin has missed 20 tackles this season - well ahead of the NRL average of 11.7. And Merrin has made around seven errors per match, again much more than the average across the board in the NRL of 4.5. There is no doubt that Merrin is a talented footballer and with seven Origins to his name, is an experienced player at this level. But he plays a game that is risky at times, pushing passes, and can be forced into error. In his defence, the fact he is playing in a Dragons side that has lost six of their last seven games has not helped his stats - but the fact remains, he will be in Queensland's sights once he comes off the bench on Wednesday night.
Race for Proctor down to two
The battle for in-demand Storm forward Kevin Proctor continues to twist and turn. Earlier this week, the Raiders' bid for Proctor was more than $100,000 a season ahead of the next bidder and the lanky back-rower looked Canberra bound. But the desperate Dragons have upped their offer and are now right back in the hunt. It appears to be a two-horse race at this stage, with the Storm unable to come up with the money under the salary cap to retain the Kiwi Test forward. The Roosters were also in the race but have dropped out - although they may come back with a late bid.
Asotasi struggling in England
Former Bulldogs and Souths star Roy Asotasi has been a major flop in his stint in England. The ex-Kiwi test star took big dollars to go to Warrington but has struggled with injury and form - and still has 12 months left on his contract. The situation is a clear reminder to British clubs of the dangers of signing players at the tail end of their careers. Asotasi is now 32 years old and while he is a great influence off the field, his best days on it are clearly behind him.