NRL Power Rankings: Round 7

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Updated: April 19, 2017

We are seven rounds into the NRL season and we are getting 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.

 

1st Storm (Last Week: 1st)

After a low scoring and downtrodden match against Cronulla, Melbourne’s attention shifted to attack on the weekend and as a result their once impenetrable defence looked shaky. In the first 6 rounds Melbourne on average had scored 17.9 points per game and conceded only 9 a game, while they got the win, the 30-26 scoreline against Manly is very un-Melbourne-like.  

2nd Sharks (Last Week: 3rd)

The last time Cronulla held a team tryless for two consecutive weeks was 23 years ago in 1994 however it’s another feat from the 90’s that the Sharks could possibly achieve if they keep up this sort of form; Back-to-back titles. Written off at the start of the year, some predicted that Cronulla may not even make finals but so far they look nothing short of a top four team.

3rd Raiders (Last Week: 2nd)

You wouldn’t think that a match with two very good attacking sides in it would produce a low scoring game with some of the best defensive efforts you’ll see all season but that’s what we got as the Raiders beat the Warriors for their third straight win.  

4th Dragons (Last Week: 4th)

Did very well against the weakened Cowboys in the first half however they were held scoreless in the second. The Dragons have been on fire so far this season however you could argue they have played teams who were at their worst/most vulnerable, the next three rounds should give us a fairer idea of the real Dragons team we will see as they take on the Roosters, Storm and Sharks.

The Dragons next 3 games are huge.

5th Broncos (Last Week: 6th)

Looked in big trouble early on however it was the ex-Titans James Roberts and David Mead that saved the day (well night, Brisbane don’t play in the day) for the Broncos. Kodi Nikorima did a fine job filling in for Ben Hunt despite the news of Jack Bird’s arrival in 2018 ensuring that Nikorima will remain only a second string player at Brisbane.  

6th Roosters (Last Week: 5th)

It wasn’t exactly pretty but after two straight losses the Roosters have steered the ship back on course with a win over the Knights. They face a great test in their annual Anzac Day match with St George-Illawarra who are in all sorts of good form. A call that may seem a tad early at only round 8 however with Melbourne, Cronulla and Canberra seemingly destined for top four, it’s left for the Roosters and Dragons to duke it out for the last spot.

Roosters get back on track.

7th Warriors (Last Week: 10th)

Despite the loss, the Warriors continue to build towards their first finals appearance since 2011. Some remarkable defence by the Raiders kept the Warriors out however they could have executed better in the final moments before crossing the line. Ben Matulino isn’t too far away in what should be another welcome boost for New Zealand.  

8th Sea Eagles (Last Week: 8th)

They tried their hearts out but couldn’t pull out a win against the Storm and have fallen to a second straight loss and out of the eight, despite the admirable fight back it was the lapses of concentration that let Manly down, particularly in the first 20 minutes. On aggregate, Manly’s opening 20 minutes in the last 3 rounds is 6-46, it’s an alarming stat for Trent Barrett who will want his defenses on their game early when they take on the Raiders in Canberra on Friday night.  

9th Cowboys (Last Week: 8th)

Did better than the doomsday sayers (myself included) thought they would however they let themselves down in the first half against with too many handling errors and it was the experienced trio of Morgan, O’Neill and Feldt that let in the Dragons four tries. A match-up with the Knights in Townsville should keep the Cowboys in the eight for another week at least.     

10th Eels (Last Week: 12th)

Didn’t play their best and while at times were staring down the barrell of their fifth straight loss somehow performed an easter miracle and got a much needed win. A huge crunch match awaits Parramatta when they take on the Panthers who are also out of sorts at the moment and desperate for a win.  

11th Bulldogs (Last Week: 11th)

Josh Reynolds game style is one that can tear apart defensive lines but one that can also produce a lot of mistakes, on Good Friday Reynolds didn’t make many errors and almost single-handedly beat the Souths himself in a performance that will surely have Des Hasler and the Bulldogs rethink their plans for the five-eighth. After a dour start the Bulldogs could incredibly notch up their fourth straight win this weekend when they face the Tigers on Sunday afternoon.

12th Panthers (Last Week: 7th)

Things are not looking good at Penrith, tipped by some at the start of the season to make the grand final, the Panthers couldn’t be further from a grand final let alone making the finals at all at this stage. The Panthers probably tried to do too much at every opportunity and it created a lot of turnovers while opposition teams have worked out how to defend their very simplistic attack. Penrith face a crunch match against Parramatta who are also trying to save their season, Panthers need to win this game or they’ll be 2-6 and finals will become a pipe dream.

The Panthers need wins urgently.

13th Rabbitohs (Last Week: 13th)

The Souths weren’t terrible against the Bulldogs but it’s obvious something is lacking at Redfern, while they have plenty of drive and desire, they don’t seem to have the attacking spark required to win them games and without Inglis, Gray and Hunt, their backline is in shambles both in attack and defence.

14th Titans (Last Week: 16th)

Easily the Titans best performance of the season but they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory no thanks to ex-Titans James Roberts and David Mead. Despite some players coming back from injury, the list doesn’t get any better with captain Ryan James, Grevshmul and Copley all going down with an injury of sorts. Further pain for the Gold Coast franchise this week as it’s revealed that half a million of the salary cap is being paid to five ex-players including former winger Kevin Gordon who hasn’t played in two years.   

Another week, another Titan injured.

15th Tigers (Last Week: 14th)

Improvement is there but it wasn’t enough as the Tigers couldn’t hold onto their lead as the Eels scored three unanswered tries. James Tedesco was in everything and almost single-handedly carried the Tigers over the line in a performance that will have sewn up his chances for the Blues No.1 jersey. The Tigers forward pack is in trouble when they come up against the Bulldogs hunting for their fourth win in a row on Sunday afternoon.  

16th Knights (Last Week: 15th)

Tried hard but ultimately not good enough to grab the win. It’s the 2017 season motto for Newcastle but at least it’s better than losing 40-0 each week. Jamie Buhrer is a huge loss and a big reason for the Knights improvement from last season, the Knights forward pack did well without him against the Roosters but remains to be seen how well they can handle his absence over the next eight weeks. Newcastle have a real chance to grab their second win of the season against the Cowboys up in Townsville but it won’t be easy. 

 

Written By Mitchell McGuinness

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