NRL Power Rankings: Round 6
No change at the top of the NRL power rankings, but there have been some significant moves in the chasing pack and at the bottom of the ladder, with the Roosters and Knights both notching their first win of the season.
1. Broncos (1)
Smashed the Dragons 26-0 to remain the team to beat in 2016. They're on cruise control at the moment and weren't great for much of the Dragons game, but their defence held firm and a few pieces of magic from Ben Hunt and Anthony Milford late in the contest sealed another comfortable victory.
2. Cowboys (2)
Did enough to get past Penrith 23-18 on Saturday with help from a field goal from former Panther Lachlan Coote and a late try from grand final hero Kyle Feldt. Like the Broncos, they're doing enough to get the wins right now but you sense they'll ramp up their game when we get to the business end.
3. Sharks (3)
Made a great start against the Titans then held off a late fightback to secure their fourth win over the season and their third straight. And they did it with key players James Maloney, Luke Lewis and Andrew Fifita all in the casualty ward by full-time, with Maloney and Lewis having been sidelined with concussion during the first half.
4. Eels (5)
Kieran Foran's best game for the Eels – including a Brad Fittler-esque solo try featuring a couple of big steps to split the defensive line and beat the fullback – was just one of many positive signs in Parramatta's 30-point thumping of a strong Raiders side on Saturday. Fellow recruit Michael Jennings also shone with a quickfire double, while the Eels' impressive defensive run continued with just one try conceded against one of the NRL's most potent attacking outfits.
5. Bulldogs (8)
The Bulldogs continued their great recent record against the Storm, winning their sixth on the trot against Melbourne on Monday night. They scrambled well in defence and appear to have unearthed a potential future star in Kerrod Holland, who has scored the match-winning points in both his NRL games to date. After going loss-win-loss-win in the past month, finding some consistency is the next step for Des Hasler's side.
6. Storm (4)
Melbourne have been struggling for the past three weeks, a stretch that has resulted in two defeats and a close-run four-point win over the struggling Newcastle Knights. For all the talk of five-day turnarounds, the Storm's two defeats have come after eight and nine-day breaks between games. They have the talent and experience to get things back on track but execution in attack remains and issue.
7. Raiders (6)
The Raiders were ambushed at Pirtek Stadium on Saturday afternoon, conceding four converted tries in the first half hour to essentially be out of the contest by half-time. The size of the defeat was a shock considering Canberra's strong start to the season – their only previous loss had come via a stunning last-minute try to the Titans in Round 4 – and you can expect Ricky Stuart to lay down the law this week ahead of a crunch game against the Sharks in Canberra on Sunday.
8. Sea Eagles (9)
Manly produced their best performance of the season to down the Warriors in Auckland, winning the forward battle and controlling possession well to grab an early lead and hold it against one of the league's most dangerous attacking teams. Trent Barrett's new-look side is starting to come together, with wins right now a bonus considering makeshift halves pairing Dylan Walker and Apisai Koroisau were both playing different positions (at different clubs) last season.
9. Rabbitohs (7)
Souths looked ordinary against the Roosters on Friday night and the return of halfback Adam Reynolds can't come soon enough. They started the season with two thumping victories (against the teams who hold the bottom two places on the ladder) but since then have lost three of their past four, and now face the daunting task of back-to-back away games against North Queensland and Brisbane.
10. Panthers (10)
Another close game decided by less than a converted try, this time against the premiers, shows Penrith can mix it with anybody – but by the same token another loss means they're still fighting to get out of the bottom half of the ladder. They lead the league for both offloads and missed tackles, a couple of stats that reflect why they've struggled to string together consistent wins.
11. Titans (11)
Once again impressive in defeat, the Gold Coast may have started slow but they didn't let the Sharks out of their sight and were well in the contest up until the final whistle. They have now uncovered two very promising rookie halves with Ash Taylor joined by Cameron Cullen on Sunday, and with the fight they're showing this year there are promising signs for the future.
12. Wests Tigers (12)
Their super start to the season is starting to fade in the memory with Wests now slumping to a fourth straight loss, this time to the previously winless Newcastle Knights. James Tedesco continues to impress (and score tries) but the loss of skipper Aaron Woods to injury could make it tough for the Tigers to snap their losing streak.
13. Roosters (15)
It's taken a while by the Roosters are on the board for 2016, avenging their Round 1 loss to rivals Souths with a 17-10 victory against the same outfit. Jackson Hastings has learnt how to take control of a contest while Dylan Napa is becoming a leader of the pack with a dominant display up front. The return of big guns Pearce, Cordner and Waerea-Hargreaves in a few weeks plus the added experience earned by the youngsters in their tough start to the campaign could make the Roosters a force to be reckoned with – but will it be too late for them to make a finals charge?
14. Warriors (13)
The pressure is mounting on coach Andrew McFadden after his team's 34-18 home loss to a Sea Eagles side that has been scratchy this season and was missing star halfback Daly Cherry-Evans. Superstar signings Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Issac Luke have helped the Warriors to the second-best attacking record in the league so far this year but they haven't been able to fix the club's ongoing defensive problems.
15. Knights (16)
A win at last! After drawing with the Raiders and going close against the Storm the Knights finally have a victory to their name in 2016, shading the Tigers by two at Hunter Stadium. We've given them a bump in the rankings to celebrate the occasion, but a lot more improvement will be needed if they are to go close to matching the Broncos in Brisbane this weekend.
16. Dragons (14)
After being shut out by Brisbane this week the Dragons have scored only 40 points in the first six games of the season and none in the past fortnight, and are struggling badly just as the other teams at the foot of the ladder are starting to improve. Their scrambling defence remains strong but their attack is so poor that they now have the worst for-and-against in the league. They've also made more errors than any other club. The Dragons have a relatively easy run of games coming up against the Titans, Roosters and Warriors, but their opponents will be on home turf in all three and there's no guarantee the Dragons will win any of them on current form.