Soward's Power Rankings: Broncos making some noise
Once State of Origin III finishes on Wednesday night at Suncorp Stadium, focus switches to round 18 of the Telstra Premiership. Check out NRL.com expert Jamie Soward's latest pecking order in this week's Power Rankings.
1. Melbourne Storm (last round:1)
Amazing win against the Dragons. Cameron Smith continues to dominate the competition, he is just too smart for everyone. They are looking the goods.
2. South Sydney Rabbitohs (2)
Still the premiership favourites for me. Even though GI (Greg Inglis) is out injured at the moment, they have match winners all over the park.
3. Sydney Roosters (4)
Their defence has been good, it is their attack which needs more polish. Once Origin finishes, they need to time their run ahead of the semis.
4. Brisbane Broncos (8)
They were amazing from start to finish on Sunday. Their forward pack is the most agile in the competition and they also have strike power all over the field. If they can sort out their game management, they could give the title a real shake.
5. St George Illawarra Dragons (3)
Big loss away from home in Melbourne. Even without their Origin stars, you can't concede 50 points if you want to be a champion. They must bounce back.
6. Penrith Panthers (5)
Very impressive last Friday, especially their young halves Jarome Luai and Tyrone May. With plenty of good players ready to return from injury, it will be interesting to see what 17 they go with this round.
7. Cronulla Sharks (7)
Keen to see what they dish up against the Panthers. Hopefully, Wade Graham returns sooner rather than later. Once they are full strength, they should be hard to beat.
8. Canberra Raiders (9)
The team who can replace the Warriors in the top eight if they keep winning and other results go their way. They got out of jail against the Bulldogs, but also managed to finally win a tight game.
9. New Zealand Warriors (6)
For me, the worst performance by any team this year last Friday at Panthers Stadium. Showed a lack of respect for Penrith minus their Origin stars. Based on that performance, they are a real chance of missing the top eight.
10. Gold Coast Titans (11)
Very disappointing showing at home against the Broncos, especially when you consider how good they were seven days earlier at Leichhardt versus the Wests Tigers. Simply didn't turn up as a unit.
11. Newcastle Knights (10)
Will be buoyed by the much-needed return of Mitchell Pearce. He will help their direction and game management with his on-field experience.
12. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (14)
Disappointing to lose to Canberra at the death on Saturday night at Belmore. It showed their inexperience as a unit, especially in a game they needed to win after the season they have had.
13. Manly Sea Eagles (16)
Really good performance last start in getting a win versus Penrith on the road. After a bye last week, should be raring to go in front of their home fans.
14.Wests Tigers (12)
Trending down each week. Had a chance to make a run towards the top eight, but their recent four straight losses have been deflating after a promising start to the year.
15.North Queensland Cowboys (13)
Hopefully feeling refreshed after not playing last weekend. Need to go on a winning run to try and upset the teams above them in the top eight.
16.Parramatta Eels (15)
Coming off a break, just have to wait and see what they produce after a bye week. Michael Jennings' performance for Wentworthville was important.