NRL Power Rankings: Round 5

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Updated: April 3, 2017

After five rounds into the NRL, we are starting to get a better idea of where each team is at and just who might be playing finals or going on holidays in September.  Rather than ranking teams as the ladder stands, the OTLS NRL Power Rankings will take into account current form, potential, injuries and who we think would be the hardest to easiest to beat in the next weekends round.

A stats note for you all. On average in the past 10 seasons, 6 teams who were in the top 8 after 5 rounds have gone on to finish in the top 8 at the end of the season. So finals chances aren’t too bad if you support the Storm, Dragons, Roosters, Cowboys, Sea Eagles, Sharks, Raiders or Panthers.

 

1st Storm (Last Week: 1st)

And then there was one. The Storm remain the only undefeated team left in the competition after 5 rounds. The Storms defence was brilliant against the Panthers, in five matches they have conceded only 8 tries and looks like they will again be the best defensive team in the NRL. The Storm face the Sharks at AAMI Park on Sunday afternoon in a highly anticipated grand final rematch.    

2nd Roosters (Last Week: 2nd)

Sydney fell to their first loss of the season thanks to a determined Sea Eagles outfit. Dylan Napa’s injury put them on the back foot especially as the Roosters carry two utilities on their bench and their forward pack was left shorthanded. A huge clash against the Broncos at Suncorp on Thursday night will test Sydney’s top four credentials.    

3rd Raiders (Last Week: 8th)

Canberra’s slow start to the season is finally gathering steam as the most lethal right edge combination tore apart the Eels. Tipped by many in the preseason as premiership contenders, the Raiders haven’t exactly been the force everyone considered them to be with only a 2-3 record however they should enjoy more success over the next six rounds. First up is a trip to the Gold Coast to take on the injury-ravaged Titans on Saturday afternoon.   

Young rookie Nick Cotric continues to get better by the week.

4th Cowboys (Last Week: 3rd)

Despite the returns of Jason Taumalolo and Lachlan Coote, the Cowboys churned out a by-the-numbers victory. Committing 13 errors and conceding 3 penalties late in sets heaped an unnecessary amount of pressure on the Cowboys however their defence (combined with the Rabbitohs average attack) kept them from any danger of losing the game. Cowboys are at home again and face a lacklustre Tigers for a saturday night training run.       

5th Dragons (Last Week: 7th)

The Dragons continue to impress after many wrote them off before the season began, as a 22 point win over the Tigers puts them in second spot on the ladder. The Dragons heavily scrutinised attack in 2016 has remarkably improved this season as the NRL’s best. The hamstring injury to Josh Dugan could be costly as he is expected to miss the next few weeks, his absence is untimely as ever as the Dragons face the Sea Eagles, Cowboys and Roosters over the next three rounds.   

6th Broncos (Last Week: 4th)

The Broncos struggled in wet conditions that brought them down to the Bulldogs level in a low scoring affair. Jordan Kahu will likely want to have his time again as he gave up a penalty on the Bulldogs goal line that relieved Canterbury of any pressure the Broncos had put on. Brisbane face a crunch match against the Roosters on Thursday night at Suncorp, they’ll be desperate to not let another game slip and risk going 2-4.     

Brisbane might want to start winning games soon.

7th Sharks (Last Week: 6th)

The Sharks had a mountain of possession in the Knights territory but struggled to break through their inspired defence. Cronulla seemed off their game however just like last week they still found a way to win despite not playing their best. They’ll need to improve if they are to beat the Storm next week in a grand final rematch at AAMI park, which hasn’t exactly been a happy hunting ground for Cronulla who have never won there in seven attempts.

8th Panthers (Last Week: 5th)

The Panthers tried hard all night however short of recruiting an actual wrecking ball to the club there was no way they were breaking through Melbourne’s defence. Coach Anthony Griffin in the post match interview said his team’s last play options and execution could have been better however Cleary and Martin will continue to improve as a halves combination.  

9th Sea Eagles (Last Week: 10th)

Manly’s previous two wins could have been written off as easy victories against a Cowboys team ravaged by injury and a Bulldogs team devoid of any footballing ability however the win against the Roosters proves that the Sea Eagles can’t be taken lightly. Dylan Walker was the hero scoring two second half tries including the match winner just two minutes from full time. Another stern tests awaits this week with the similarly unexpected in-form Dragons on Saturday afternoon, both expected to be bottom four teams, the winner could go on to be top four instead.   

Unfortunately for the rest of us, Manly are playing like a finals worthy team.

   

10th Eels (Last Week: 9th)

The joyous highs of Parramatta’s 2-0 start to the season are long gone, now on a three game losing streak, the Eels can’t afford too many more losses here on in. Naturally Parramatta will play the Warriors this week in what could easily end up being 40 points all draw.  

11th Bulldogs (Last Week: 15th)

The wet weather turned the Bulldogs match with Brisbane into a slog which is exactly what they good at. The hard working Canterbury forward pack did well as usual and gave them just their second win of the season. Des Hasler was given a 2 year contract extension yesterday on the back of the win however Hasler staying probably means other personnel will be leaving Belmore, namely those in the key creative positions (Lichaa, Mbye, Reynolds).   

12th Warriors (Last Week: 14th)

The Warriors opening five weeks sparks little hope for the rest of the season, despite only leaving New Zealand once, they’ve recorded just two wins against the lowly Titans and Knights and even then they were chances of losing both of those matches as well. The Warriors defence is shaky at crucial times and it seems opposition teams are always a chance of scoring no matter where on the field they are.

A win is always good but they might just be papering over some very serious cracks at the Warriors.

13th Rabbitohs (Last Week: 11th)

If it wasn’t clear before, it is now, the Souths recruitment of Robbie Farah is a total waste of money. Damien Cook is cheaper, better and far more suited to the Rabbitohs attacking style and should now be their undisputed number one rake.  The Rabbitohs did well on the weekend considering however they couldn’t find a way to score points at critical times and were left found wanting.    

14th Titans (Last Week: 12th)

Considering the sheer amount of injuries and the Jarryd Hayne media circus the Titans have had to deal with, they are actually going along pretty well ! For the fifth week running they have conceded the first try of the game however they took control of the rest of the first half going into the break 22-12. Gold Coast have been running out games quite well this season so it was unfortunate for them that they failed to score a single point in the second half and ultimately lost the game.  

15th Knights (Last Week: 16th)

Newcastle may have lost on the weekend but they won many admirers with a defensive resilience that can only be described as inspirational. The Sharks had 60 percent of the ball, had 7 line breaks and forced 4 drop outs, so it’s no easy feat for a side like Newcastle to limit those stats from the reigning premiers to only 3 tries. The Knights biggest problem was that they couldn’t turn their defence into any attacking pressure, rarely getting down to the Sharks defensive 20, two of Newcastle’s tries were from long range.

16th Tigers (Last Week: 13th)

Every week the “Big Four” turn into something more accurately described as the “Big Joke” as the Tigers continue to squander the sky high potential they possess. Ivan Cleary has been appointed as Head Coach effective immediately that will surely create some stability at the club. Moses Suli is a conundrum, he continually finds himself in scoring opportunities like an elite winger however has bombed at least four certain tries so far.  

 

Written By Mitchell McGuinness

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