NRL Power Rankings: Round 8

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Updated: April 28, 2017

We are eight rounds into the NRL season and it’s becoming quite obvious who will be playing finals or at least in the running to and those going on an early holiday 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)

With a win over the Warriors, Melbourne were the only top four team to win over the round and in doing so, regain top spot on the ladder. The Warriors threw everything they had at the Storm but Melbourne were able to repel New Zealand and last the full 80 minutes. Melbourne continue to pull great forwards out of nowhere with rise of Felise Kaufusi while Nelson Asofa-Solomona has lifted to another level this year, it’s scary to think that they still have Tohu Harris to come back in a couple of weeks.

Melbourne’s defence this season is likeable to a purple brick wall.

2nd Raiders  (Last Week: 3rd)

The Raiders were beaten in coaches box with some smart tactics used by Manly and just couldn’t stop the Sea Eagles who seemed possessed to win. The Raiders move up in our rankings not because of their performance but those surrounding them dropping down. Despite a heavy dislike for the Raiders personally, Jordan Rapana is a thrill to watch, scoring a try against Manly that defied physics, it’s a joy to fans every time he gets the ball.   

3rd Sharks  (Last Week: 2nd)

Dropped a very winnable game that could come back and haunt them at seasons end. The Sharks were flat in both attack and defence, unable to penetrate the Titans goal line defence whilst they missed a whopping 38 tackles. Would be disappointed in themselves with the effort especially after how good they’ve been against better opposition recently.  

4th Broncos  (Last Week: 5th)

Let’s be honest here, the refs absolutely handed the Broncos the win on Friday night in what was one of the worst displays of officiating I’ve seen in my time watching sport. Regardless of the referees though, Brisbane were expected to win this game by a big margin and instead got ambushed early by the Souths. The Broncos grabbed the lead back before half time however they still gave the Rabbitohs every opportunity to win in the second half when they should have closed the game much sooner.    

5th Roosters  (Last Week: 6th)

Got the job done in epic circumstances worthy of an ANZAC Day match. Considering the crucial injuries to their opposition, Sydney probably should have iced the game much sooner. Boyd Cordner put in a performance that should have the NSW captaincy all but his for the taking. Sydney play the Warriors, Eels and Bulldogs over the next three rounds, they should hope to win all three and gain another six premiership points before the Origin period hits

6th Warriors  (Last Week: 7th)

Tried their hardest but couldn’t play the full 80 minutes that is required to beat the Storm. Shaun Johnson and Kieran Foran’s halve partnership is still developing and it’s taking time for the rest of the team to adjust to the combination as the Warriors continue to gel and slowly build into the season. New Zealand have done well in 2017 so far considering their usual slow starts, expect them to explode into a good run of form over the next 8-12 weeks.

7th Dragons  (Last Week: 4th)

Losing Gareth Widdop just before half-time and Josh Dugan temporarily to a concussion test was just too much to bear for the Dragons, while they put in a admirable effort to take the game to extra-time, the Dragons lacked Widdop’s game winning ability when it mattered most. Widdop’s injury is a crucial blow to the Dragons, expected to miss six weeks, Widdop will likely miss only four matches with the Representative week and St George-Illawarra’s bye in round 12. Those four matches however consist of the Storm, Sharks, Warriors and Tigers, it’s an unfortunate schedule to be without arguably their best and most influential player.

It could be a rough month coming for the Dragons.

8th Sea Eagles  (Last Week: 8th)

Used a very clever tactic to kick the ball out of play at the end of their sets, it was a ploy that effectively took Canberra’s back three out of the game and it wouldn’t be surprising to see other teams copy it over the next few weeks. Manly are three for three in away games so far and should take that record to four against the Rabbitohs at Allianz on Friday night.  

9th Cowboys  (Last Week: 9th)

The Knights were given an early taste as what to expect when Kalyn Ponga arrives at Newcastle next year as he tore them up with a two try effort that was by far his best performance to date. Michael Morgan seems to be really struggling with the weight of responsibility that he has been shouldered with as the rest of the first choice spine are injured. The Cowboys did enough to beat the Knights but that sort of performance won’t hold up on Friday night against Parramatta.   

10th Eels  (Last Week: 10th)

Despite the constant rotation of five-eighths over the last few weeks, Corey Norman and the Eels have steered their season back on track with two consecutive wins. Parramatta still have plenty of room for improvement in them as they almost let a lacklustre Penrith down on confidence snatch the game from them. A trip to Townsville to face the Cowboys who may get Johnathan Thurston back should test the Eels consistency.  

Parramatta aren’t out of the woods yet.

11th Bulldogs  (Last Week: 11th)

The Bulldogs sailed into a perfect storm against a Tigers team that was bursting with emotion after (another) week of turmoil. Canterbury weren’t bad but they came up with some costly and at times mind boggling errors at crucial times that would have had Des Hasler tearing apart the coaches box. The Bulldogs come up against the Raiders on Saturday afternoon in an enticing clash as two massive forward packs go head to head.   

12th Rabbitohs  (Last Week: 13th)

Souths fans will say they were robbed, and rightly so however the Rabbitohs had more than enough chances to win the game themselves, they tried hard but lacked any cohesion or direction in attack.  It seems the Bunnies chances of winning games lives or dies with Adam Reynolds availability. Siosifa Talaki needs to either move into the second row or back to NSW Cup because his lack of pace and mobility is costing South Sydney points on his edge in defence.

13th Titans  (Last Week: 14th)

The Titans have performed very well over the last two weeks and were rewarded with a well deserved win over the Sharks in Cronulla. Jarryd Hayne returned a week too late to make Jesus-Easter-Savior comparisons but he was otherwise instrumental in the win with a man of the match performance. The Titans absolutely must come away with a win against the Knights at Robina before the NRL goes on a mid-season break if they are going to make a push for finals.      

14th Panthers  (Last Week: 12th)

We’re officially into panic mode at Penrith. Fans and pundits alike are waiting for this talented squad to come together and start winning however for whatever reason it’s not happening. While the Panthers may still come into a good run of form, by the time it comes, it may be too late. The Panthers are in dire need of a win but it won’t come easy against the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium.

15th Tigers  (Last Week: 15th)

Funnily enough it was the “Big Four” that got the win for the Tigers, with each member making a positive contribution to the game. After the week the Tigers had, they could have easily been forgiven for taking the easy way out and not showing up in another heavy loss however instead they decided to dig in and get a much needed win.

Ivan Cleary is making a positive mark on the Tigers.

16th Knights  (Last Week: 16th)

(Insert same reasons as the last four weeks here)

 

Written By Mitchell McGuinness

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