Soward's Power Rankings: Warriors, Roosters plummet
The Warriors didn't last long at No.1, the new-look Roosters are still getting acquainted and the Cowboys' finals hopes are almost on life support. Check out where NRL.com expert Jamie Soward has your team in this week's Power Rankings.
1. St George Illawarra Dragons (last week: 2)
After a short stay out of top spot, the Dragons go back to No.1. It was a big occasion and question marks lingered over their ability to perform against the top teams, and how they would bounce back after their first loss, but they were absolutely outstanding against the Roosters. This week they get another challenge against Melbourne in what could be a preview of what we see in the grand final.
2. Melbourne Storm (3)
Billy Slater and Cam Smith have really changed the way they play with their halves. Cam Munster was outstanding and everyone knew their role. It looked like the old Melbourne Storm in that first half blitz of the Warriors. They were awesome to watch - the best half of footy we've seen from anyone thus far.
3. Penrith Panthers (6)
They've gone through the wringer in terms of injuries and adversity and people changing positions. They had another slow start which is a concerning pattern. It's not a recipe for success but when you have a guy like James Maloney steering the ship it shows you can overcome adversity. He's easily the buy of the year.
4. Wests Tigers (4)
I saw enough from them on Sunday for the Wests Tigers to hold their place at four. They did make some errors at crucial times, but they were playing against a very desperate team. The thing that worries me about the Tigers is that they've been favourites two weeks in a row and they've lost two tight ones. I'm still buying stocks in them but I'd love to see them capitalise on what's been a great start to the year.
5. New Zealand Warriors (1)
A big drop for the Warriors. That diabolical first half against Melbourne was a good lesson for them. They were really off the pace and it looked like the big Anzac Day stage got to them. They competed in the second half and Stephen Kearney would've been happy that they put some pride back in the jersey.
6. Newcastle Knights (8)
They lose their main playmaker and captain and had every excuse to go down to Manly and roll over, but that performance shows what Nathan Brown has done and it's a real credit to them. Kalyn Ponga was outstanding again and it's great for their young guys to get through that adversity and go to a place like Brookvale and get a good win.
7. South Sydney Rabbitohs (5)
The Rabbitohs should've won that game against the Broncos. They jumped out to a 12-6 lead and everything seemed to be flowing, but they just didn't have that killer instinct they had the week before. They need to be able to get the wins they're expected to get if they're going to be a top-eight side.
8. Cronulla Sharks (9)
Their 10-9 win over the Titans obviously wasn't the prettiest game of the week. The conditions really played down and some of the skill levels in the wet left a lot to be desired, but the Sharks scrapped and you have to credit Shane Flanagan and the medical staff for keeping this gritty team together.
9. Canberra Raiders (10)
An amazing win, their first up there in 10 years. With Josh Hodgson they're a top eight team, and without him they're going to be on the fringe. They need to bottle that performance against the Cowboys after being disappointing against the Bunnies, so I'm looking for some consistency from the Raiders.
10. Brisbane Broncos (11)
Coming down to Sydney, I was sceptical whether they'd be able to get up for a Thursday night clash with the Rabbitohs, but they were great. They fell behind early but competed the whole night and Darius Boyd had his best game of the year in terms of leadership and being involved in everything.
11. Sydney Roosters (7)
A big drop of four spots for the Roosters. It's such a big occasion against the Dragons on Anzac Day and they were totally outplayed. Question marks remain over their attack. Latrell Mitchell hardly touched the ball and they seemed off the pace from the opening kick-off and struggled to capitalise when they had momentum.
12. Parramatta Eels (14)
Got their first win the previous week and carried it on against a courageous Tigers. The Tigers made too many errors in the end and Parra were good enough to capitalise off that. I like the addition of Clint Gutherson and there seems to be a real excitement and togetherness like we saw with the Eels last year.
13. North Queensland Cowboys (12)
I don't know what to say about the Cowboys. They've easily got one of the most talented rosters but it's just not working. Gone are the days when teams went up there and feared playing in front of that crowd. Teams smell blood in the water and are coming for them, and the Raiders did that last week.
14. Canterbury Bulldogs (15)
They go up a spot, only because they scored some points, but they let that game go against Penrith. They really scrapped early and scored some nice tries, but it was disappointing to see them just fall away, which has been the story of their season thus far.
15. Gold Coast Titans (13)
They had a good record up there against the Sharks and I just wonder if they lack that killer instinct. They get themselves in positions and can't seem to cross the line. In a tough game in tough conditions, I was questioning some of their game management.
16. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles (16)
Their off-field dramas have taken a toll. There was no sign of improvement last week, and if you're going to bounce back it's going to be at home against the Newcastle Knights when they're down Mitchell Pearce, but Manly were ordinary.