1. Penrith Panthers
Last week: 2nd
When you beat a team one spot in the power rankings above you, and they’re only one win ahead of you, you know what that means – we have a new leader!
2. St George Illawarra Dragons
Last week: 1st
Unfortunately, the St. George Illawarra Dragons chose the worst time possible to lose their number one spot in the rankings given they have no game this week with which to win it back.
Next week, they’ll also have to cope with their ranks having being raided thanks to State of Origin. Keep it together guys.
3. South Sydney Rabbitohs
Last week: 3rd
The South Sydney Rabbitohs are another of very few teams moving in a positive direction this week after a highly convincing win at the Warriors.
They tackle an interesting matchup this week with the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, where we get to see where their most important player in the lineup lies.
4. Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
Last week: 4th
We’ve been tracking Matt Moylan’s development as a five-eighth quite keenly in these power rankings, and last Sunday was his best game yet.
The Sharks initially targeted the long-term when they decided to swap James Maloney for Matt Moylan, but it looks like the returns of that trade may come far sooner than expected.
5. Melbourne Storm
Last week: 6th
It wasn’t convincing, but in large part due to the Warriors’ heavy loss at home to South Sydney, the Melbourne Storm jump one spot ahead this week after their field goal-win over the North Queensland Cowboys.
Given recent evidence, Melbourne are quite lucky Cameron Smith isn’t involved in Origin this series.
6. New Zealand Warriors
Last week: 5th
The Warriors are a weekly mystery.
We’re still not quite sure whether they’re like Wests, and still settling into where they belong in the standings, or are more like every other season’s incarnation of the Warriors, where they win when and only when they feel up to it, and end up finishing in ninth.
7. Brisbane Broncos
Last week: 7th
Nine.com.au reported today that Wayne Bennett was recently told, in an interview he had called, that he was not wanted beyond 2018, and that the Brisbane Broncos were already planning for next season.
Whether Neil Breen’s reports are completely true or not, Brisbane’s roster looks increasingly unappealing with every game they play. It may take a bucket load of money paid to Storm Head Coach Craig Bellamy that saves this franchise.
8. Wests Tigers
Last week: 8th
The Wests Tigers struck with a two-pronged sword when they announced they had signed Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs fullback Moses Mbye for 2019 and beyond.
Not only has Mbye been one of the Bulldogs’ few bright spots this season, but the embattled club will be paying out almost $300,000 to Mbye for the next two seasons to play against them – something they said it would never do again only recently.
9. Sydney Roosters
Last week: 9th
After parading their way down Old South Head Road in the offseason with the signings of Cooper Cronk for 2018 and Angus Crichton for 2019, the Sydney Roosters have been suspiciously quiet ever since, both on and off the field, and Polly no like that cracker.
Although the club should make the finals on talent alone, there is almost no point if they’re going to get bounced in the opening round, and with every week Trent Robinson shows no clue how to use his new signing, our river of hope for this team runs dry.
10. Canberra Raiders
Last week: 11th
The Canberra Raiders and Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles swap spots this week after the former team fell over the line at home against the latter in an enthralling battle for the right to finish two or three wins outside the eight.
One wonders how much this team is missing Josh Hodgson, but you pretty quickly remember they’re coached by Ricky Stuart.
11. Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
Last week: 10th
The Sea Eagles face an interesting and rare opponent this week in the North Queensland Cowboys – one of the NRL’s strugglers, yet a team decimated by State of Origin.
While the Eagles will also be missing the Trbojevic brothers, they mercifully hang on to Captain Daly Cherry-Evans, which should be enough to get them over the line.
12. Gold Coast Titans
Last week: 12th
This week, the Gold Coast Titans will be without Jai Arrow, who will be making his Origin debut.
However, they will hang onto Captain Ryan James, who was robbed of a New South Wales jersey after David Klemmer muscled him out of one with a strong performance against the Tigers.
13. Newcastle Knights
Last week: 13th
Speaking of Origin, could the Newcastle Knights return former NSW prop Aaron Woods to his best?
That’s the suggestion midweek, with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs “superstar signing” potentially on his way to the Hunter Valley next season to cure cap concerns.
14. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Last week: 14th
It’s been a tough week for this team. If a four-point loss to Wests wasn’t bad enough, their fullback Moses Mbye, one of their best players, opted to join that club for next season.
To compound the fans’ pleasure, the club will be paying half his salary, which is probably not going to endear ‘Dogs fans any further to the big cats, who gifted them Aaron Woods, last offseason.
15. North Queensland Cowboys
Last week: 15th
It’s hard to see how this depleted North Queensland side can challenge the Sea Eagles this week, but they’ve tried almost everything. Maybe missing half their players to State of Origin will be the wake-up call the club so desperately needs.
16. Parramatta Eels
Last week: 16th
Another great performance from the Parramatta Eels sees them remain anchored to the bottom of the power rankings and the NRL standings.
Of course, this is Parramatta we’re talking about, and when it rains, it pours. This week, the thunderbolt of a $20,000 fine hit playmaker Corey Norman for drinking while injured. Who in their right mind would sign with the Eels?
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