Rabbitohs remain at No.1, Tigers roar

Before we get down to business, I want to clarify a few things for  Power Rankings readers. 

There's always conjecture about where teams are ranked but it's based on a lot of things - how the team is trending, who they played, how they played, how they played the previous week and who they play next week.

That's how the rankings are determined. It's not about throwing darts at a dartboard and seeing where they land.

Now for this week's Power Rankings - the Rabbitohs and Storm flexed some muscle, the Tigers and Eels made it two from two, while the Bulldogs and Sea Eagles remained winless.

1. South Sydney Rabbitohs (last week: 1)

They led 6-0 pretty easily and seemed to relax a bit against the Dragons. Defensively the right edge of Greg Inglis and Dane Gagai wasn't up to scratch but they fixed that at half-time and put together a damaging 20-minute burst. Wayne Bennett will remind them they can't rely on 20-minute points avalanches against better teams but the Rabbitohs look good and Cam Murray is an absolute star.

2. Melbourne Storm (2)

A very impressive win against the Raiders. Their attack hasn't skipped a beat. Cam Smith's pulling all the right strings, Munster was outstanding, they're just all doing their job. The width of Smith's passing is really causing teams trouble. Opponents haven't picked it up that he's actually going two passes wide with one pass.

3. Sydney Roosters (3)

A fantastic win against Manly. Luke Keary will play Origin this year. It's always a sign of a good team when key players are out and other guys step up. Lachy Lam was outstanding on debut. Trent Robinson probably has some concerns about the cheap ball they're turning over. He'd expect a bit better from the premiers.

4. Brisbane Broncos (7)

The Broncos were the highlight of the weekend and they make a big jump in the Power Rankings. The only question mark is over Anthony Milford because he just looked like he was trying too hard and wasn't in sync with Kodi Nikorima. That cost them last year in the finals and it could cost them again this year if he doesn't get on the same page as Nikorimay.

5. Cronulla Sharks (6)

We saw some signs of what we're going to see this year from the Sharks with their free-flowing attack, but when they lead a team 20-0 they should be able to come out and put the game to bed. The Titans made them work hard for it but I like the Sharks - they're a real smoky.

6. Penrith Panthers (8)

A really scrappy win and Ivan Cleary will be happy they hung in there and won a tight one in enemy territory. Panthers fans would've been happy with the start. But the Panthers know they have to get 10 times better if they're going to be a title threat. A big challenge in Bathurst this week against Melbourne.

7. North Queensland Cowboys (4)

A pretty big drop in the Power Rankings after they were blown off the park by Tevita Pangai jnr. The question for the Cowboys is whether they can score points or not. They do a decent job of marching up the field but they still struggle to find some finesse in their outside backs. No Taumalolo for at least six weeks is a big loss.

8. Newcastle Knights (5)

They would've expected two wins from two home games but didn't have a great start against Penrith and were in and out all game. The Kalyn Ponga question keeps popping up - that switch is going to take time. Nathan Brown will probably look at it for six weeks and decide if it needs to change.

9. Wests Tigers (11)

Robbie Farah wound back the clock against the Warriors. He's just a real smart footballer who was able to take opportunities and steer the team around. It was Cameron Smith-esque in the way he had a hand in everything. The Tigers don't have any big names in the forwards but as far as working hard for each other they're in the top two or three.

10. Parramatta Eels (13)

Could've had them higher in the Power Rankings but we need to see how they go against a premiership threat. The Eels were great against the Bulldogs and Blake Ferguson's been fantastic, a real physical and spiritual leader for his side. Dylan Brown was also outstanding. Parra had to start the season well and they have.

11. Canberra Raiders (10)

Tried really hard but were caught on the hop a bit with some of their defensive reads and didn't get their numbers right. I was wrong about Jack Wighton because he's been pretty good at five-eighth, but they lack a real leader in the halves because when Josh Hodgson is taken out of the game they don't have anyone they can go to.

12. St George Illawarra Dragons (9)

No construction or cohesion in their attack at all and their last-play options continue to suffer. They look like they're forcing this move with Widdop, Norman and Hunt, and Norman is the only one who looks comfortable with it. Defensively they're not good through the middle but it's the spine that's causing all the talk around the Dragons.

The Dragons are winless after two rounds.
The Dragons are winless after two rounds. ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

13. New Zealand Warriors (12)

A lot of hype after their first-round win and about their season and then they come out on Sunday and put in a stinker in against the Wests Tigers. They'll be looking to bounce back this week against a Manly side that are desperate for a win.

14. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles (15)

Up a spot from last week based purely on what we saw from them in that second half. That potentially could be the Manly side with Tom Trbojevic back in and I liked how Manase Fainu came on and added something different. Daly Cherry-Evans had a disappointing game but was better at the back end of the second half.

15. Gold Coast Titans (14)

They're missing their halves but they've been very disappointing. It took three halves of football to score a point and I really expected them to be better this season. Jai Arrow's been a shining light but there's not much else to get excited about at the moment.

16. Canterbury Bulldogs (16)

Real dramas for the Dogs, they're in trouble. Started well against Parra but just don't look like they've got the depth. They need to move some guys around, Rhyse Martin needs to come in and Josh Jackson can play lock, but the reality is that the Bulldogs just don't look good enough this year.

 

The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARLC, NRL clubs or state associations.