NRL Power Rankings: Round 13
Half the league had the week off but there were still some crucial wins for teams battling for top-eight spots as the State of Origin period began. Here's the unofficial form guide for all 16 NRL clubs after this week's matches.
1. Storm (Last week: 1)
Enjoyed their first bye of the season with another two competition points added to their impressive tally.
2. Sharks (Last week: 3)
It's becoming a cliché but the Sharks just know how to get things done, and while they're not winning comfortably they are still winning. The margins have been getting narrower lately – a six-point win over Wests following but four-point victories over the Dragons and Cowboys – and the trend continued with a nail-biting one-point effort against the Bulldogs. Paul Gallen was inspirational for the Origin-hit Sharks and they've earned a bye after nine wins from 12 games, with the best defensive record in the league.
3. Broncos (Last week: 2)
They were beaten by the Warriors in Auckland but there were still some bright signs for Brisbane. James Roberts remains in good touch with a couple of tries – even Benji Marshall showed flashes of his old self in setting up one of them – and while the Broncos were without six Maroons stars it was the only time this season that will be the case, with the club to enjoy byes ahead of both Origin II and III.
4. Roosters (Last week: 4)
If it's possible, the Roosters actually look an even stronger premiership contender despite losing to the Raiders on Sunday. Despite being without Origin stars Mitchell Pearce, Boyd Cordner, Blake Ferguson, Dylan Napa and Aidan Guerra the Roosters kept pace with the near full-strength Green Machine in Canberra and it wasn't until a last-minute try to the hosts that the game was decided. Their depth will be tested again in Round 18 with the Origin players away but at full strength the Roosters remain a top-four side.
5. Sea Eagles (Last week: 5)
Fresh from the bye and looking to improve a surprisingly poor 1-5 home record this week when they face the Raiders.
6. Dragons (Last week: 6)
Also coming off the bye and should account for the Wests Tigers this week.
7. Cowboys (Last week: 7)
They'll be keen to get Johnathan Thurston and their Origin players back for this week's battle with Queensland rivals the Titans.
8. Titans (Last week: 8)
Another team coming off the bye.
9. Raiders (Last week: 10)
They got the win they wanted but were made to work for it at home against an understrength Roosters outfit, with Jordan Rapana the star on the wing with a couple of tries and plenty of breaks down the right flank. The Raiders still aren't at the level they were last season but they've scraped their way to six wins and six losses and are every chance of working their way up the ladder over the Origin period.
10. Bulldogs (Last week: 9)
Saturday's loss to Cronulla made it three straight defeats, but recent form suggests a win's just around the corner. Canterbury were already without Origin stars Brett Morris, Josh Jackson and David Klemmer and when James Graham left the field injured after only 20 minutes on the field the Bulldogs were always going to be on the back foot but with three minutes left they were still in the contest with scores level. They are more than capable of snapping their losings streak against Penrith on Sunday.
11. Eels (Last week: 11)
After back-to-back losses it was important the Eels got the job done against Souths on Friday night and they did just that, with Mitchell Moses producing an improved performance in his second game in the blue and gold. Parramatta sit outside the top eight but they do have the talent to play finals footy – especially when they get Corey Norman back on deck. They do have the advantage of not losing any players to Origin and could cash in with games against weakened Dragons and Storm sides in the next couple of months.
12. Rabbitohs (Last week: 12)
It's been a frustrating run of form of late for Souths, and not just because they've lost five of their last six. The frustration comes from the fact they've played well enough to compete with some of the league's best teams, only to struggle the following week against mid-level opposition. After going oh-so-close against Brisbane the Rabbitohs were poor the following week against Manly. They then bounced back to beat the Tigers and challenge the Storm in Perth, only to slump to another poor performance against Parramatta. They have the bye this week to iron out some of their flaws ahead a Queensland double against the Broncos and Titans.
13. Warriors (Last week: 14)
The Warriors looked sharp against Brisbane, with Shaun Johnson the star but Issac Luke and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck producing improved performances as well in a match they really needed to win. This is the part of the season when the New Zealand club usually takes a charge up the ladder so Stephen Kearney will be hoping his men can carry on the momentum against the Eels this week.
14. Panthers (Last week: 13)
Had a bye this week.
15. Knights (Last week: 15)
Another two competition points!
16. Wests Tigers (Last week: 16)
After three straight losses there's another tough fortnight coming up for the Tigers with clashes against the Dragons and Roosters, but good news off the field in the meantime with talented utility Tuimoala Lolohea joining the club in a mid-season move from the Warriors.