Soward's Power Rankings: Rabbitohs retain top spot
Melbourne and Newcastle have slipped, Manly are climbing, while Penrith and Cronulla can barely put a foot wrong. But after a last-gasp win over the struggling Cowboys, the Rabbitohs remain at No.1 in Jamie Soward's latest Power Rankings. Check out who's hot and who's not.
1. South Sydney Rabbitohs (last week: 1)
A great win on the road in a tough environment. All you can ask is that they go up there and win, and while it was a controversial call at the end, you have to put yourselves in a position to win and they did that. Damien Cook surely cemented his spot as the NSW hooker. The Rabbitohs played with 15 men pretty much for the whole game and that shows a lot of character and belief in each other. Greg Inglis looked amazing at the back and they stay at No.1.
2. St George Illawarra Dragons (2)
Got out of jail against the Raiders and didn't play great. The Raiders were up for it early and were energetic, but the Dragons wore them down. I just want to see a little bit more with their game management. They go to sleep for 10 to 15 minutes and they manage to hang in there, but this is the game of the year against Penrith and if the Dragons are serious about winning a competition you need to win on the road. They looked tired in Mudgee and are really hanging on for the bye.
3. Cronulla Sharks (4)
They were really good against the Bulldogs, a really tough effort to make it five wins in a row. They're playing some really tough footy and they're going to benefit at the back end of the year by winning these tight games they've been able to win. They get down and dirty and do their job really well.
4. Penrith Panthers (5)
A good win over the Tigers and the big challenge comes this week against the Dragons. They're set up for a finals appearance and this game will test their premiership credentials and if they can hang with the big boys. They need to bank these two points before Origin because they'll have a few guys in there.
5. Melbourne Storm (3)
Out of the top four in the Power Rankings and could've easily been lower. They were really disappointing, probably the worst I've seen them play in 10 years or so. With the standards they set for themselves, it was very un-Melbourne-like and Craig Bellamy would've been very upset with them.
6. New Zealand Warriors (7)
An outstanding win over Parramatta. No Shaun Johnson, no RTS and hadn't won at ANZ in seven years. There was a momentum swing in that second half where they could've folded up the chair and gone home but they hung in there. Issac Luke is playing busted, but he knows his team needs him.
7. Wests Tigers (6)
Not trending in a good way are the Tigers. It was a good game against the Panthers but they had chances to change direction and test the Panthers' defence and just couldn't get over the line. They got frustrated early out of that contest and they need to bounce back this week and get back on the bus.
8. Sydney Roosters (8)
The Roosters stay at eight. If that decision late in the game goes the other way and they get the ball back, they probably close the game out. I don't know if the Roosters are the team we thought they would be or if they're going to be. They leaked some easy tries and still have some things to work out.
9. Brisbane Broncos (13)
The biggest mover this week. It was the old Broncos against the Roosters - the good Broncos - but don't be surprised if they lose this week because I can't get a read on them. James Roberts has put his name well in the frame for Origin and Jamayne Isaako coming up with that clutch play was massive.
10. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles (12)
Beating Melbourne in Melbourne is a great effort at any time. They could've maybe been a touch higher but teams above them are more consistent. Two good wins on the road in the last two weeks and they're producing good footy despite the adversity they've gone through, so the signs are good for Manly.
11. Canberra Raiders (9)
They should've won that game against the Dragons. When you look back as a player you realise you miss out on opportunities to do something with your season, and that's been the Raiders' story for the last two years. They competed really well again but just can't close it out.
12. Newcastle Knights (10)
Just struggling with injuries at the moment and when you lose your top playmaker it really puts pressure on other guys. Kalyn Ponga was a standout again, just an amazing effort. He leads from the front and puts his body on the line and I can't speak highly enough of him.
13. Canterbury Bulldogs (11)
It was the same old Bulldogs of good one week and not so good the next. They tried hard against the Sharks but just weren't good enough in some key areas. Their kicking game really lacked imagination and again they got off to a good start but weren't able to hold it and conceded a couple of soft tries.
14. Gold Coast Titans (16)
Had lost five in a row and needed to show something for themselves and the coach, and they did that. The Titans really fought hard against a Newcastle side that has been testing people all year and got away with a tight game. It would've been easy for them to lose and come up with excuses but they didn't.
15. North Queensland Cowboys (14)
A really gritty game against Souths and they possibly could've been a bit higher on effort, but the reality is it has to be judged largely on wins. You're just not used to seeing the Cowboys lose these games at home. Some of their play was good but to lose that game at the death summed up how their season's gone.
16. Parramatta Eels (15)
Really disappointing in some of their play and some of their efforts against a Warriors team that hadn't won there in seven years. They just aren't cohesive at the moment and they looked disorganised. Maybe it's time for a shake-up because their reserve grade side is going well.