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Methodical Melbourne grabbed top spot, the Dragons and Eels made big jumps, while the Cowboys and Warriors are on the slide.

Here are this week's Power Rankings after the first three rounds of the competition.

1. Melbourne Storm (Last week: 2)

An absolutely outstanding performance. Travelled to a freezing Bathurst to play the Panthers, absorbed all that early pressure defensively and just turned it around and turned it on with their enthusiasm and kick-chase. They won all the big moments and Cameron Munster is the best player in the comp at the moment. He plays eyes-up footy and he's put the rest of the competition on notice that he may be the best in the world.

2. Sydney Roosters (3)

They just continue to find ways to win. No Cooper Cronk and they lose Jake Friend, but Luke Keary calmly and cleverly steers the ship around so they're in good hands. A lot will hinge on Jared Waerea-Hargreaves playing. They can't afford to lose him for any length of time because he's so vital to their chances in 2019.

Soward’s Power Rankings explained

3. South Sydney Rabbitohs (1)

Drop from top spot simply because the teams above them had very good weekends. I understand playing the Titans on a Sunday night probably didn't get their juices flowing but defensively they seemed to put the cue in the rack very early. I'm not worried about the Rabbitohs but the Roosters and Storm played better.

Match Highlights: Rabbitohs v Titans

4. Cronulla Sharks (5)

I think the premiership will come down to three teams, but the Sharks are certainly the one team that can be a serious threat to those three. They've got a hard-working forward pack, guys that can take you on at the line and Chad Townsend steers the ship perfectly. They've shown they've got firepower out wide and they're probably one of the most well-rounded teams in the competition.

5. Brisbane Broncos (4)

A bit of Jekyll and Hyde with the Broncos - you're not sure what you'll get each week. They should've rolled through the Dragons comfortably but they had a slow start and didn't adjust the game plan on the run. Had too many silly errors and didn't get in done when the game was on the line in crunch time.

6. Parramatta Eels (10)

I know they lost but they jump up four spots because I really love the signs with the Eels. They had some terrific periods of play against the Roosters and they're just still learning how to be a good team again. They've unleashed a beast on the wing in Maika Sivo and the Eels will learn a lot from that game.

7. Canberra Raiders (11)

What a surprise to see the Raiders win a tight game! Well done Sam Williams for being patient and persistent. His control around the rucks was integral, he understands the game and kicks to the corners. He needs to be the halfback of this team moving forward.

Match Highlights: Raiders v Knights

8. St George Illawarra Dragons (12)

One of the big movers in the Power Rankings after that very impressive performance against Brisbane. Very gutsy to hang in there after losing their captain and give themselves a chance to set up a game-winning field goal. Corey Norman looks to have found his spot at fullback and that allows Ben Hunt to control things.

9. Newcastle Knights (8)

A tough loss and they're still trying to figure out the Kalyn Ponga experiment. Whether that goes another month or he goes back to fullback this week, they need to do something very quickly or their season can slip away from them. I think we'll see Ponga back in the No.1 jersey.

10. Penrith Panthers (6)

When you're playing teams that give you nothing you need to take your opportunities when they come and Penrith didn't do that against Melbourne. I would have Sione Katoa starting and Jarome Luai off the bench, and also move DWZ to fullback and Dylan Edwards to the wing.

James Maloney and the Panthers were thrashed by Melbourne.
James Maloney and the Panthers were thrashed by Melbourne. ©Robb Cox/NRL Photos

11. Wests Tigers (9)

A disappointing performance against the Bulldogs. It looked like they didn't respect the opposition and thought it was just going to be two points in the bag in front of a packed house at Campbelltown. The Tigers now have three straight on the road and it'll test them to find that week to week consistency.

12. North Queensland Cowboys (7)

A big drop in the Power Rankings and I've got some worries about the Cowboys. Their season basically hinges on this next month and if they go winless over the next four weeks they're done, which is possible because they'll struggle without Taumalolo. To lead 10-6 against Cronulla and lose 42-16, that's just not good enough in the NRL.

13. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles (14)

Tom Trbojevic was everywhere, DCE looked excited to play - this is the Manly we saw in the second half against the Roosters and they carried that over with an outstanding performance against the Warriors. A good win under tough emotional circumstances in Christchurch.

14. Canterbury Bulldogs (16)

A game the Dogs really needed to win otherwise the wooden spoon was probably between them and the Warriors. This is the team we thought we'd see in round one and I'm still baffled why it took three rounds to see guys like Nick Meaney and others get a game.

Match Highlights: Wests Tigers v Bulldogs

15. New Zealand Warriors (13)

A promising start in week one and they've since let in 80 points, and this is why I was cautious about pumping them up in the Power Rankings in previous weeks. Maybe it was the emotion of the game being in Christchurch, but they looked fatigued.

16. Gold Coast Titans (15)

It was a great fightback against Souths but they started badly and looked off the pace when they let Cam Murray make a line break on the first set of the game. Overall they were disappointing and desperately need Ash Taylor back.

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

Acknowledgement of Country

Canberra Raiders respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.