Soward's Power Rankings: Rabbitohs on top
The Rabbitohs have cracked top spot for the first time, the Sharks are circling and the Roosters have sounded an ominous warning. Check out NRL.com expert Jamie Soward's thoughts on your team's form in this week's Power Rankings.
1. South Sydney Rabbitohs (last week: 3)
The Bunnies make their debut in the No.1 spot. You have to love how they're just going out and playing footy without over-complicating things. They have a set-play list that they go to but they're allowed to play footy off the back of that, and that's what's making them hard to handle. They play what's in front of them and play with lots of excitement. They targeted this game and built towards it and they were really impressive, and the challenge for the Rabbitohs is to get themselves in a position to have a real crack at the title in 2018.
2. St George Illawarra Dragons (1)
They've been up for a long time and it takes it out of you. They've tinkered with some of their interchange players but I saw some signs against the Rabbitohs that there's still a question mark over their game management in big moments. They really got rag-dolled by the Rabbitohs and wouldn't have been happy with how they played.
3. Melbourne Storm (2)
It might seem a little weird that the Storm drop a place after winning, but I don't know how they're going to get through this Origin period. They came up with some errors against the Titans that you're not used to seeing from the Storm. They bounced back after a tough loss but it wasn't overly convincing.
4. Cronulla Sharks (5)
A very impressive win. The Sharks went down to Canberra with a really strong mindset to hang in there and match them physically and they came away with the points. Val Holmes was outstanding. They're a really gritty side at the moment and haven't had their whole team. They're setting themselves up for a nice little run and could be a competition smoky. Getting wins when you haven't got your top players is hugely important.
5. Penrith Panthers (6)
They could've been higher but the teams above them are performing well. James Maloney - the buy of the year - was magnificent in game management. They've had injuries galore and kept their head well above water and come up with performances. Penrith are one of the competition heavyweights.
6. Wests Tigers (8)
Had their backs against the wall after three straight losses and really showed trust and belief in what they're doing. They got back to playing the footy we saw from them in the opening month and a half. Great to see a huge crowd at Leichhardt, a place they really relish playing at.
7. New Zealand Warriors (4)
The Warriors are showing signs of inconsistency with some of their performances. If they want to play in September they have to do a better job of winning their home games. Take out the win over the Tigers and they've conceded 82 points in two games. They need to pick up their act a bit and bounce back strongly this week.
8. Sydney Roosters (11)
A massive win in Auckland. To keep a team to nil any time is impressive and the Roosters have done it twice, this time against one of the hottest teams. If they go on to make the grand final, this is the round they will look back and say this is where their season changed for the better.
9. Canberra Raiders (7)
No consistency. The Raiders of the last couple of years were almost a lock at home, but this year they don't respect the ball or the opposition and they give away cheap tries, and that's not a sight we're used to seeing from the Raiders in Canberra.
10. Newcastle Knights (9)
The Knights are on a steady decline in the Power Rankings at the moment and obviously, Mitchell Pearce's injury has cost them. Kalyn Ponga's standing up where he can, but he's being targeted more and more because teams are doing more video on him. He hasn't really had much help from his halves, who got shown on the weekend by James Maloney how you manage a game.
11. Canterbury Bulldogs (14)
It feels like the only time they win is when they scrap and fight. They don't have any attack and they really pull you into a tight contest and that's what they did with Parramatta. They've got more experience in those down and dirty games.
12. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles (15)
A team that had their backs against the wall and questions were asked if they could repeat the effort they had against the Roosters - and they did. Their leaders stood up - Api Koroisau, Daly Cherry-Evans, the Trbojevic brothers. They punched holes through the Brisbane defence and it was a real good performance away from home.
13. Brisbane Broncos (10)
It's a broken record but I really cannot get a read on this Jekyll and Hyde team. You just don't know what they will produce from one week to the next. They looked un-energetic in attack, their discipline and communication were off. They looked they didn't want to play.
14. North Queensland Cowboys (12)
You expected a lot more from them considering their season is pretty much on the line every week. They were disappointing and one-dimensional in attack and really got out-enthused, and that's something you don't often see from a Johnathan Thurston-led side.
15. Parramatta Eels (13)
A disappointing result against the Bulldogs. Parra have shown glimpses of what could've been in 2018 but they took their foot off the pedal and have really shown a lack of discipline in terms of ball control and consistency for 80 minutes all year.
16. Gold Coast Titans (16)
They're fighting hard and they found themselves in the lead against Melbourne, but their lack of experience in those big moments is what cost them. They probably didn't deserve the score to blow a bit like it did, but the Titans can't get a win at the moment.