Soward's Power Rankings: Rabbitohs on the move
The Dragons answered another challenge, the Raiders and Rabbitohs are rolling, and the Cowboys hope they've turned the corner. Then there's the teams who don't seem to know whether they're coming or going. Check out where NRL.com expert Jamie Soward has your team in this week's Power Rankings.
1. St George Illawarra Dragons (last week: 1)
Still at No.1, the Dragons are THE benchmark of the competition. They don't complicate things and they're playing with tremendous confidence. If we're looking for negatives I'd like to see their kicking game improve, but in terms of defending and playing for one another, they keep turning up.
2. Melbourne Storm (2)
I didn't see anything I didn't like from Melbourne. They conceded some soft tries but they're still easily one of the benchmarks of the competition. They've come back in the past month and rescued a poor start to the year and would've learned more from losing to the Dragons than winning, as funny as that sounds.
3. South Sydney Rabbitohs (7)
The biggest movers in this week's Power Rankings. They were dynamite. The Rabbitohs are really attacking well. I know they'd like to tighten up their defensive ruck and not leak as many metres, but in terms of their attack, they're easily one of the top two teams to watch in the competition. A big game ahead this week.
4. New Zealand Warriors (5)
They did everything they could to bounce back and did it well. I wasn't surprised their attack worried the Tigers. Shaun Johnson looked good before the injury and Issac Luke is so important to that side. He gets them going north-south instead of east-west in their attack. The Warriors played really well.
5. Cronulla Sharks (8)
After a really gritty performance the previous week against the Titans, they backed it up with some nice attack at Shark Park. They've had their injuries but they've been able to tread water and Shane Flanagan would be pretty proud of his men beating a Parramatta side that was starting to get the ball rolling.
6. Penrith Panthers (3)
A bit of a controversial one, but they picked up another three injuries on the weekend and it's not trending well for the Panthers. I worry about their depth because they're so far into their stocks now. I possibly could've dropped them just one or two spots but the teams above them performed better.
7. Canberra Raiders (9)
Had a tough start to the year but are showing glimpses of what they can be. They like playing at home and that's exactly how it looked against the Titans. They've been able to capitalise on an easier part of the draw the last couple of weeks and now I'm just looking for some consistency from them.
8. Wests Tigers (4)
A big drop for the Tigers. I've got a concern over the points they've leaked the last three weeks now. They started the year with the best defensive record and in the last three games they've conceded over 60 points. They look off the boil a bit and are making silly errors at the moment.
9. Newcastle Knights (6)
For everything good the Knights do and the excitement over Kalyn Ponga being a once-in-a-generation talent, they concede points in batches. Their for-and-against is -76, and that's concerning if you want to make the top eight. It's a worrying trend that when they concede points, they concede a lot.
10. Brisbane Broncos (10)
The Broncos definitely got lucky against the Bulldogs so there's no change to their spot. Sometimes you make your own luck and put yourself in the right place at the right time, and the Broncos were able to do that, but we've had nine rounds and I still can't get a read on this team.
11. Sydney Roosters (11)
They won on Sunday but I can't put them any higher. The 10 teams above them have been more consistent and that has to be rewarded in the Power Rankings. They scraped home against a Manly side they should've dominated. With the week Manly had, the Roosters failed to smell the blood in the water.
12. North Queensland Cowboys (13)
A really impressive effort on the weekend, but they're one of these teams that I need to see it for longer to be really convinced that they're back. They started really well and shouldn't have let Penrith back in that game, but they hung on for a very important win in the context of their season.
13. Parramatta Eels (12)
Parra drop a spot this week. You can't let a side jump out that far and try and run it down at the end. They lacked attention to detail at times and made errors against the Sharks, and defensively they seemed a bit off compared to what they produced in the previous two weeks.
14. Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs (14)
The Dogs really competed well against Brisbane but they just can't seem to find a balance between their ad-lib play and being structured. One week they'll be structured and the next they go back to their old ways, and Dean Pay is really trying hard to get that out of them.
15. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles (16)
The Sea Eagles were much better on the weekend but there's still no real signs that they're going to be potentially competitive this year with everything they've gone through with injuries. They're basically in the same boat as the Titans in that their hamstrung by injuries.
16. Gold Coast Titans (15)
Injury was always going to be a problem for the Titans and their depth is being tested right now. They haven't solved the problem in the halves between Bryce Cartwright and Ash Taylor and it's a worrying trend for this team.