1. St George Illawarra Dragons
Last week: 2nd
ANZAC Day was always going to be an interesting day for these power rankings; the St. George Illawarra Dragons held against the Sydney Roosters, while the Warriors served four double faults in Melbourne. Advantage Dragons.
2. Melbourne Storm
Last week: 5th
The Melbourne Storm we know and love are back, showing the Warriors there’s more to being the best team in the League than being first in the standings – you have to actually believe it. There’s still a sizeable gap between first and second, though.
3. Penrith Panthers
Last week: 4th
Up one spot after a victory over the Bulldogs and the Wests Tigers’ loss, the Penrith Panthers will look to further separate themselves from the chasing pack by putting the hurt on the visiting North Queensland Cowboys this week.
4. Wests Tigers
Last week: 3rd
While a loss to Parramatta does not look nearly as bad as it would have the first time around, it’s still an L, which means Wests are slowly starting to lose grip on the upper echelon of the NRL. A road trip to the Warriors this week will be a big test.
5. New Zealand Warriors
Last week: 1st
Life imitating art was what sprung to mind when, for the first time something was asked of the Warriors all season, they lose 50-10. They have the chance to slightly reverse the damage of bad loss with a good win over the Tigers this week.
6. Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
Last week: 9th
Without many noticing, the Sharks are slowly starting to creep up the pointy end of the rankings – perhaps it’s the unspectacular manner in which they’re doing it (a 1-point win over Gold Coast). A win over the Parramatta this week is compulsory.
7. Newcastle Knights
Last week: 10th
The Newcastle Knights have returned to the friendly side of the ledger with a second win in a row. We all know Mitchell Pearce’s absence will hurt sooner or later, but for now, this ticking time bomb remains unexploded.
8. Brisbane Broncos
Last week: 10th
Just when you begin to wave your red pen over the Brisbane Broncos, Wayne Bennett reaches out and slaps it away, last week doing so with a win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Extra points for debuting monster forward Payne Haas.
9. South Sydney Rabbitohs
Last week: 6th
South Sydney had a chance to make a real statement this week by showing they’re a changed team in taking out Benny’s Broncos. They didn’t, though, and here they are in 9th.
10. Sydney Roosters
Last week: 7th
They may be in the Rabbitohs’ shadow in more ways than one this week, as the two rivals not only share Sydney’s East side, but also the famed “mediocrity spots” on the standings. Fortunately, Easts play the bye this round.
11. Canberra Raiders
Last week: 14th
News surrounding the Canberra Raiders suggests they may lose a fair amount of off-contract talent this offseason, but a forced rebuild might be a necessary pill to swallow. This team looks tired and unmotivated.
12. Parramatta Eels
Last week: 15th
Teams that have not played the Parramatta Eels yet will be cursing their luck they failed to bring them up in the first six weeks of the season. My bet is, more than a few squads on the precipice of finals spots will be nervous about this sudden resurgence.
13. North Queensland Cowboys
Last week: 11th
Greg Alexander may have confirmed his notoriety as the NRL’s best analyst with his call on Johnathan Thurston having played a season too long. Right now, NQ’s offense is problem number one, and number 7 is at the heart of the matter.
14. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Last week: 12th
The important thing to remember about the Bulldogs is, this is not Dean Pay’s team. This roster was assembled for Des Hasler, and Pay may have more than one thing to say about its direction in the offseason. Have hope, ‘Dogs fans
15. Gold Coast Titans
Last week: 13th
This may be unfair on Gold Coast– they’re probably not the second-worst team in the NRL, but there’s precious little on their resume to assess them by. Last week’s field goal loss to the Sharks may prove to be quite the sliding doors moment.
16. Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
Last week: 16th
Mess on the field, mess off it, the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles quite soundly resemble the 2005 Los Angeles Lakers and 2014 Manchester United teams in wishing the cultivator of their success had never left. Come back, Bozo.
Are our Week 8 NRL Power Rankings on the mark? Let us know in the comments below.