NRL Power Rankings: Round 2

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Updated: March 14, 2017

Another new segment here at OTLS NRL, with the power rankings revealed each and every week on Tuesdays. Rather than ranking teams as the ladder stands, the OTLS NRL Power Ranking will take into account current form, potential, injuries and who we think would be the hardest to beat the next week.

 

1st Cowboys (Last Week: 1st)

In another Queensland derby classic, the Cowboys did just enough to get the two points after being pushed all the way to golden point for the second week in a row. The win has come at a cost for the Cowboys however, already light in front rowers; Matthew Scott’s season ending injury is crucially devastating to the Cowboys forward pack. The injuries to Coote and Winterstein should be covered easily enough as North Queensland have plenty of depth in the backs. The Cowboys are back in Townsville on Saturday night to take on Manly and could start the season 3-0 for the first time since 2007.   

2nd Storm  (Last Week: 5th)

Fears that Jesse Bromwich’s injury would decimate the Storm’s forward pack were all but forgotten as Melbourne continue their uncanny ability to find competent replacements for their stars. The rainy weather at Belmore followed them over to Auckland and somehow got worse along the way as Mt Smart stadium copped a drenching, the Storm were well practised to wet weather football from last week and played to the conditions much better than the Warriors did. The Storm face a big test in their first home match of the season when they go up against the Broncos on Thursday night.     

3rd Eels  (Last Week: 6th)

Parramatta are in scintillating form, tearing apart all defences that come before them and are now on top of the NRL ladder for the first time since 2005. Semi Radradra was unstoppable as he scored a career best 4 tries while Corey Norman can do no wrong, leading the Eels attack with strategic brilliance. Parramatta are yet to face a team with serious credentials however and that won’t happen for at least another week when they head up to the Gold Coast to play the Titans on Friday night and could go 3-0 for the first time since 1993.      

4th Roosters  (Last Week: 3rd)

The Roosters rolled on with another victory however the second half slumps continue to be worrying trend. Luke Keary is an early contender for recruit of the year and already has 5 scoring involvements, his partnership with Mitchell Pearce has taken pressure off the halfback and made the Roosters attacking game much more unpredictable. Sydney aren’t higher on this list because they haven’t played any high calibre teams so far, however they’ll meet a bigger challenge in the resurgent Panthers at Pepper Stadium on Saturday night.  

The Roosters have started the season almost perfectly.

5th Broncos  (Last Week: 4th)

If you watched the Queensland derby and had a set of eyes that work, you would know that one of Brisbane tries came off a pass so forward it almost belonged in one of Jarryd Hayne’s NFL dreams; so the Cowboys really should have won it in regulation time instead of golden point. The Broncos forwards haven’t lost their step at all, even with Corey Parker retiring and Matt Gillett being forced from the field due to concussion, they still won the battle in the middle. The Broncos face a huge test against the Storm in Melbourne on Thursday night and while not a “must-win” game, they’ll be desperate not to lose another game so early in the season.    .

6th Sharks  (Last Week: 7th)

Cronulla started the season on shaky grounds however they have redeemed themselves on the back of a second half blitzing against the Raiders. Captain-in-waiting Wade Graham led the way with three tries and setting up another while Jack Bird made a serious claim to make the fullback role his for now. Jayden Brailey produced another quality performance in only his second game of his career, scoring a try and only missed one tackle from his 23 attempts. The Sharks are back at home late Sunday afternoon for their local derby against the Dragons.      

Cronulla’s premiership defence is back on track.

7th Warriors  (Last Week: 8th)

The Warriors played better than they did in their round one win over the Knights however they were outplayed in the torrid conditions and defensively they didn’t adapt well to the rain. New Zealand were hurt early when captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck left in the 28th minute due to concussion and it’s no coincidence momentum shifted to the Storm when he left the field. Kieran Foran will make his long awaited debut for the Warriors when they head to the south island of New Zealand to play the Bulldogs in Dunedin on Friday night.     

8th Panthers  (Last Week: 11th)

Penrith disappointed pretty much everybody except Dragons fans in round one and were eager to prove it was a one off blip on the radar. The Panthers were dominant in their win, capitalising on the Tigers mistakes in a brilliant second half led by none other than Matthew Moylan. The win was a great response to their shock loss to Dragons, the questions over their defence were answered as the Panthers kept the Tigers tryless. The Panthers and their defence will face a real challenge when they take on the Roosters Saturday night.     

9th Raiders  (Last Week: 2nd)

Whatever good form they had, the Raiders left it behind at the Townsville airport as they were ambushed by the Sharks in front of their Canberra home crowd. Like last week, the Raiders kept coming up with errors that let their opponent have the lion share of the ball, though this time Canberra’s defence wasn’t up to the task and were smashed all through the middle. Tipped by many to be heavy contenders for the premiership, the Raiders season hasn’t started well at all and their upcoming match against the Tigers on Sunday afternoon shapes up as a must win for the men in green.      

10th Rabbitohs  (Last Week: 16th)

Panic stations have been averted as the Souths win their first match in ten attempts without captain and star fullback Greg Inglis. It wasn’t the best start however conceding three early tries, but the Souths climbed back in the game thanks to the halves combination of Cody Walker and Adam Reynolds. Alex Johnston made the move to fullback and proved he can do a fine job for the rest of the season as he picked up a double while Robert Jennings had a strong debut in the centres. The Souths season can continue to kick on when they head up to Newcastle to take on the Knights on Saturday afternoon.   

The Souths finals chances aren’t over just yet.

11th Tigers  (Last Week: 9th)

The Tigers were woeful against the Panthers as they spluttered and blundered their way to a 34 point loss. Bombing two chances at scoring, the Tigers made a whopping 16 errors that only gave them a completion rate of 63%, they weren’t any better in defence either as they missed 42 tackles and conceded 9 line breaks. The Tigers are a talented team but the inconsistency is their biggest problem, they face another team that will desperate for a win when they come up against the Raiders on Sunday afternoon at Canberra.  

12th Dragons  (Last Week: 10th)

After a dream start to the season, the Dragons were sent crashing back to reality as they played much more similar to our pre-season expectations. A knock-on by Russell Packer on the very first hit up set the tone for the rest of the match as the Eels ran rampant over the Dragons. Tyson Frizell was forced off the field when he failed a concussion test early in the second half and the Dragons will hope he can return in time for Sunday’s twilight match in the local derby against the Sharks.

13th Bulldogs  (Last Week: 13th)

Played much better than last week despite being hit hard with injuries mid game that wreaked havoc on the Canterbury backline. Kerrod Holland’s injury was costly in particular as Moses Mbye missed three crucial conversions in the four point loss. The Bulldogs attack improved in the drier conditions compared to heavy rain they faced last week however their defence still leaves something to be desired. The Bulldogs will need to make a couple of forced changes as they head over to Dunedin, New Zealand for a “home” game against the Warriors on Friday night.      

14th Sea Eagles  (Last Week: 12th)

Despite a strong start scoring the match’s first three tries, the Sea Eagles were eventually run down and overtaken by the Souths. Blake Green’s sin binning turned the match and the tough defence from the week before was a distant memory as the Souths ran in to score twice while Green was absent. The Sea Eagles forwards have been ravaged by injury, which only made Martin Taupau’s suspension unnecessarily worse, while seasoned veteran Nate Myles could probably do more to lead the younger guys around him. The poor start to the season won’t get much better for Manly this weekend as they head up to Townsville to take on the Cowboys on Saturday night.   

15th Knights  (Last Week: 15th)

After 20 games and 336 days, Newcastle have finally found themselves back in the winners circle with an inspiring eight point victory over the Titans. Statistically the Knights did everything right, winning all the key performance indicators in a real team effort that consolidated the vision of this young Newcastle team’s eventual rise up the ladder. With the monkey off their back and losing streak put to bed, the challenge for the Knights is how they respond next week, is the one solitary win good for now or are they hungry for more ? The Knights haven’t won consecutive games since round 23-24 in 2015, but they’ll get their chance against the Rabbitohs on Saturday afternoon.       

Wild times for Knights fans over the weekend.

16th Titans  (Last Week: 14th)

To be fair, we don’t think the Titans are terrible but they are having a horrible season thus far and by default sit at the bottom of our power rankings. Jarryd Hayne is estimated to miss the next 4-6 weeks (just in time to miss his return match against the Eels) and with Nathan Peats also missing with injury, things might get ugly for them over the next month. A rampaging Parramatta Eels is next up for the Gold Coast on Friday night.

 

Written By Mitchell McGuinness

 

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