1. St. George Illawarra Dragons
Last week: 1st
Undisputed at the top of the power rankings.
They’ll get to prove their worthiness this week when they travel across the ditch to play the Warriors, who are coming off a home loss to the Brisbane Broncos.
2. Wests Tigers
Last week: 3rd
With the Warriors’ loss, the Wests Tigers jump into 2nd place with a more than convincing win against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at an admittedly tough place to win.
They’ve been playing better football than the Warriors all year, and they’ve rightly stepped above them in the rankings.
3. Penrith Panthers
Last week: 4th
A convincing win over the Gold Coast Titans sees the Penrith Panthers take advantage of the Warriors’ loss by jumping up a spot into 3rd.
Looking like one of very few conclusive teams thus far, it may be that the time is now for this club to strike for the premiership – and they still have Nathan Cleary yet to return.
4. Melbourne Storm
Last week: 6th
The Melbourne Storm have been up and down like a yo-yo in recent weeks, but they’re back in the win column this week with a victory over the sorry Newcastle Knights.
Called up from Queensland Cup, Ryley Jacks provided a far greater deal of stability in the halves than Brodie Croft, who will now face an uphill battle to win his spot back after he was perhaps too eagerly named Cooper Cronk’s replacement.
5. New Zealand Warriors
Last week: 2nd
We’ve all been waiting for the Warriors to falter, and they did so ungracefully this season, with a loss at Mt. Smart Stadium to an out-of-sorts Brisbane team.
They were meant to be going into this week’s contest against the St. George Illawarra Dragons with a perfect record, fighting for top spot in the League standings; it’s not to be, but they can still deal their rivals some damage by holding the fort at home.
6. Brisbane Broncos
Last week: 8th
Another half who may find it hard to regain his spot in the side is Kodi Nikorima. His absence from the Brisbane team this week put the ball in Anthony Milford’s hands at halfback far more, and the club benefited.
They may still lack an effective kicking game from the six and seven jerseys, but never doubt Wayne Bennett to make something work.
7. Sydney Roosters
Last week: 5th
The Sydney Roosters are a lot like a poor man’s Melbourne – each week has been akin to Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, although I’m less certain this team will be capable of a late-season recovery if it’s required of them.
This week, they face a resurgent Bulldogs, which will be a challenging game to say the least. Both teams will be desperate to prove to themselves and the NRL they’re heading in the right direction, both for different reasons.
8. Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
Last week: 7th
The Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks are one of a number of completely unpredictable teams destined to ruin your tipping each week, which is reflected in their position in the power rankings.
While a win over Penrith will do wonders for their confidence and position in these rankings, they could very easily back it up the week after with a loss to the Gold Coast Titans.
9. South Sydney Rabbitohs
Last week: 12th
They won the one game they care about winning all season, and they gave Angus Crichton a fair amount to think about – they’re the South Sydney Rabbitohs, and they’re in 9th this week.
Anthony Seibold has overhauled how his team attacks – he even has John Sutton threatening the line. I predicted before the season Souths would threaten Finals, and if they notch another in a row this week against Canberra, they’ll take a step towards it.
10. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Last week: 15th
Jumping five spots this week reflects both the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs’ improvement, as well as how thin the NRL is at the bottom.
As mentioned earlier, they play in what is arguably this week’s biggest game against the Roosters, which if they win, will prove Dean Pay is on the right track with his team.
11. North Queensland Cowboys
Last week: 9th
North Queensland are free-falling at an alarming rate – 1300Smiles Stadium used to be a fortress for the Cowboys, but in 2018, they are failing to defend it against teams such as the ‘Dogs.
Unfortunately, this week’s game against Gold Coast is not a “show me” game either, it’s a must win, and if they don’t, they may fall to frightening depths in both the League and these rankings. So much for the Paul Green re-signing.
12. Gold Coast Titans
Last week: 10th
While most would say the Titans have not been “impressive” this year, given their roster, you could argue they have. Garth Brennan is in this for the long haul, and there have been positive signs thus far.
The North Queensland Cowboys this week present an opportunity to notch a mature win to prove to the rest of the competition they are not to be taken lightly in 2018.
13. Canberra Raiders
Last week: 14th
The Canberra Raiders have managed a second win in a row, but as is being proven, it’s a long way back to the top.
Beat South Sydney this week away from home, then come back to me and we’ll talk.
14. Newcastle Knights
Last week: 11th
What a shame for Newcastle Knights fans the season isn’t two weeks long. This team has been massively disappointing the past few weeks, especially given the veteran presence they spent a hefty amount of the salary cap bringing in during the offseason.
Their job is to help the younger members of the team through times like this – let’s see how they do over the next month.
15. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
Last week: 13th
Wests are certainly a good team, but Fortress Brookvale was almost all the Sea Eagles had left, and that was shattered open last weekend.
It’s going to be tough days this time next week between themselves or the Parramatta Eels pending the outcome of their matchup this week.
16. Parramatta Eels
Last week: 16th
One wonders where it’s all gone wrong for Parramatta, and who will survive this horror season the club has begun to embark upon.
Do you agree with our updated Power Rankings? Let us know in the comments below.