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Plenty of would-be heirs to the throne huffed and puffed over the past seven months, but when the dust settled we were left with a bunch of heavyweights who have captured four of the past five premierships. 

The title race remains wide open, although most of the talk since the weekend has the Roosters squaring off with Melbourne in the grand final. Check out expert Jamie Soward's views in this week's Power Rankings.

1. Sydney Roosters (last week: 2)

I like the Roosters and the way they've been building all year to be playing their best footy. It'll be draining this week against the Rabbitohs but if they can get through it, they potentially go into the grand final as favourites - probably against Melbourne - with the home ground advantage in Sydney, plus the fact they'd have Latrell Mitchell back.

There's always the possibility they will miss Dylan Napa because he's an important part of their side with that intimidating defensive presence he provides, but having Latrell back fresh and unleashed after a week off could be huge for the Roosters. Something is just telling me this week about the Roosters and I have to follow my instincts.

Storm winger Josh Addo-Carr.
Storm winger Josh Addo-Carr. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

2. Melbourne Storm (1)

Everything seems to be brewing for another grand final for this team but something is telling me it's the Roosters' year, so the Storm are in at No.2 in the Power Rankings. Yes you're reading it right - the rankings can change without playing a game. It's a trending thing and I've watched the Storm all year and still think they've got a great shot at back to back titles, but I just like the Roosters a bit more.

When you get to this stage of the year, no-one does big games better than Melbourne, but it's just building for a dream match-up between Cooper Cronk and the Melbourne Storm, and right now I lean towards the Roosters.

3. Cronulla Sharks (3)

An outstanding first half against Penrith and it's a shame they've picked up so many injuries in the last two weeks. It's probably going to be an opportunity missed and what could have been if they were at full strength, but they are going to be big underdogs this week.

Chad Townsend was exceptional and I was really happy for Matt Moylan because so much was made of the player swap with James Maloney and it would've been hard, but he showed how professional he is and dominated the No.6 match-up. Maloney arguably had his poorest game of 2018. 

Match Highlights: Sharks v Panthers - Finals Week 2, 2018

4. South Sydney Rabbitohs (4)

Not at their best, but got away with a win. That draining game against Melbourne took a lot out of them and then they had off-field dramas as well. Whether that win was a release for them, we'll find out this weekend. They were expected to win and got through a tight one, and now they can go into their next game knowing it's a shot at a grand final.

They got caught out by the Dragons in the first half and did enough in the second half to get through to the final four. So while they weren't at their best, that might be the kind of game that Souths fans hope will hold them in good stead against the Roosters.

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