Soward's Power Rankings: Eels still last
The Dragons and Warriors remain unbeaten after three games, while the Eels and Raiders still haven't tasted victory. Find out who went up and who went down in NRL.com expert Jamie Soward's Power Rankings heading into round four.
1. St George Illawarra Dragons (1)
When faced with a tough and unfamiliar environment in Toowoomba, they were outstanding. The Dragons are the real deal. They're working for each other, Gareth Widdop and Ben Hunt have got that combination going nicely and Matt Dufty looks promising at the back. Their nine, seven, six and one have gelled quite quickly and that's real positive signs for the Dragons. They will sense this is an opportunity to hang on to a top four spot for a long time.
2. Melbourne Storm (2)
An absolute masterclass from Cameron Smith and Billy Slater. I really like the way they mix up their attack and give teams a variety of looks. Racked up 30 points after getting eight the previous week and I really feel Melbourne are the benchmark when it comes to adjusting from week to week, and that's what has made them successful.
3. Sydney Roosters (4)
A really good performance and played the conditions smartly. Cooper Cronk controlled, Luke Keary was outstanding. This is probably the Roosters team everyone expected to see in round one, but as I've said previously, the way teams are playing now won't be the way they'll be playing at the end of the year. The Roosters showed the upside they have.
4. North Queensland Cowboys (5)
A tough night for the Cowboys in what was a stop-start affair on a Thursday night in Melbourne. I still feel Johnathan Thurston and Michael Morgan are getting that combination going again and it might take a little time for it to be really clicking again. They've still got Te Maire Martin on the bench and they'll work things out.
5. New Zealand Warriors (7)
They've had their struggles in the past winning games in Australia but they went to Canberra and showed character to come from behind and get their second road win of the season. They've started 3-0 for the first time in Warriors history and that's a game they wouldn't have won last year. Blake Green is a good, steady halves partner for Shaun Johnson and allows Johnson to do his thing.
6. Wests Tigers (9)
I love the way they scrapped against the Broncos. They move up the Power Rankings this week purely on the fact they're playing for each other. Their enthusiasm in defence and willingness to get out there and compete is great to watch. Their effort in defence is keeping them in games and their attack will evolve.
7. Newcastle Knights (6)
A disappointing result over the weekend but I feel like I've seen enough evidence from the first few weeks to believe they certainly have the potential to be in and around that top eight. The consistency of some of their younger guys could come into question, but Mitchell Pearce and Kalyn Ponga have been outstanding.
8. Penrith Panthers (2)
Three weeks in a row they've given up 14-nil starts and this time they couldn't get out of jail. They'd be disappointed with themselves letting this one slip and they can't keep coming back after giving up starts because that's the kind of loss that could come back to haunt them later. Losing Nathan Cleary is going to be huge.
9. Brisbane Broncos (10)
Probably the most exciting and unexciting game of the weekend. No tries for the Broncos but I liked their resolve and they've improved from game one on pure effort and that's how they're winning games at the moment.
10. South Sydney Rabbitohs (13)
They looked happy and energetic and were bouncing around from start to finish. They really shredded Manly on the edges. It seems like Cody Walker and Adam Doueihi have got a nice little halves combination going and I'm really happy for the youngster to come out and put some points on the board.
11. Cronulla Sharks (11)
I've still got them to make the eight but they're still working things out in attack. Trent Hodkinson looked good for them and I'm still keen to see Matt Moylan in there somewhere - whether it's at six or one - and it'll be interesting to see how that plays out.
12. Canterbury Bulldogs (15)
One of the surprise packets of last weekend, they really hung in there tough against a Penrith side that's struggling to find consistent form.
The Bulldogs scrapped their way to a win and it was the sort of gritty performance that could kick-start a really good month of football for them.
13. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles (8)
Some inconsistency again for a team that won 54 to nil in round two and let in 34 in round three. You wonder what went wrong. Coach Trent Barrett would've been a bit upset maybe with a few guys reading their own press last week.
14. Canberra Raiders (12)
Some would say unlucky but I would say poor game management. Either way 0-3 is a disastrous start, and while they're not far away, they did have this problem last year and it doesn't seem like they've sorted it out.
15. Gold Coast Titans (14)
They're struggling with inconsistency and coach Garth Brennan would've been very upset with that effort against the Dragons. Playing in Toowoomba where it was almost a home game for them, but they didn't get in there and take their opportunity to grind their way to a win.
16. Parramatta Eels (16)
They remain on the bottom of the Power Rankings this week purely on the fact their attack looks un-energetic and there's no excitement when they have the ball. This is a team that was tipped to be top four and it'd be nice to see them get excited and try some changes of directions in attack.