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Rabbitohs on top, Bulldogs in for long year

The Rabbitohs looked like premiership material under new coach Wayne Bennett, the Cowboys fired a warning shot and both the Sea Eagles and Bulldogs could be in for miserable seasons. Check out expert Jamie Soward's views in this week's Power Rankings.

Power rankings: Round 2

1. South Sydney Rabbitohs (last week: 2)

An outstanding performance. Adam Reynolds looks like he's going to flourish under Wayne Bennett and his kicking game was sensational. They just look like a really happy bunch of blokes and when you're happy off the field and bouncing into training like they are, they can be a premiership force. They've got a really strong roster.

2. Melbourne Storm (5)

I had them finishing eighth and put them fifth in last week's Power Rankings, and they've started the year on fire and showed the young Broncos what it takes to be successful in this competition year after year. Cameron Smith and Cameron Munster will keep this team playing at a high level, and it'll just come down to how they manage the Origin period.

Why Rabbitohs and Cowboys are rising

3. Sydney Roosters (1)

They started slow last year and got it right at the back end, and a lot of people - myself included - have tipped them to go back to back. They've moved to the SCG and come back from England as the world champs, and there's always the potential for a premiership hangover. I'm not worried about the Roosters but they weren't good enough against Souths.

4. North Queensland Cowboys (9)

The Cowboys have the best pack and we said the same thing last year. The only question mark is if they can score enough points week-in, week-out because when they go wide they look a little clunky. Michael Morgan has an outstanding kicking game and Te Maire Martin is a fantastic supporter, but I'm not convinced about their point-scoring ability.

Every try of Round 1

5. Newcastle Knights (8)

Big expectations on the Knights this year and I've picked them to finish in the top four. They've got a big pack now. Pearce and Ponga will take a little time to get the best out of their combination, but winning that game would've been a big relief for Nathan Brown and the players after all the pre-season talk. They were very impressive.

6. Cronulla Sharks (6)

I was pretty impressed by the Sharks, not necessarily with their attack but their defence was certainly on and I think this combination of Townsend, Johnson and Moylan will take a little time to really click. It was a big occasion in Newcastle and the scoreline would've probably been different if they were at home.

7. Brisbane Broncos (3)

They drop in the Power Rankings but I'm not too down on the Broncos. It's always tough to go to Melbourne and try to beat a team that hasn't lost a round one home game for 16 years. It's a valuable lesson for the Broncos and they'll get a lot out of it. I'm sure Anthony Seibold won't be thinking it's panic stations.

Get caught up: Round 1

8. Penrith Panthers (4)

One of the most disappointing teams of round one. They made silly errors and Ivan Cleary will be looking for his side to mature. They're not young talent coming through anymore, these guys have been in first grade for a while now and need to show that maturity.

9. St George Illawarra Dragons (7)

I was really disappointed in the Dragons. They looked confused in attack and directionless for most of the game, and didn't look sure about their kicking game. I'm not a fan of the make-up of the spine and losing Tyson Frizell could make for another long week.

10. Canberra Raiders (10)

They stay the same in the Power Rankings because I can't drop the teams above them too far, but I like what I saw from the Raiders. Jack Wighton was very impressive. Often you'll see that it's rounds two and three that truly test teams, and you don't get a bigger test than Melbourne.

Match Highlights: Wests Tigers v Sea Eagles

11. Wests Tigers (14)

A bit nervous to start the year like a lot of teams were but a good win straight up. They look like they'll have that creative mindset around the ruck off the back of Robbie Farah and Benji Marshall, and it'll just take a little time to get that fluency. Moses Mbye was a big loss but Corey Thompson's a fantastic player.

12. New Zealand Warriors (12)

An emotional day for the Warriors and they played well, but they stay the same in the Power Rankings because they played the Bulldogs. This team is probably a bit better than where I had them picked, but they've got a much tougher challenge this week at Campbelltown against the Wests Tigers.

13. Parramatta Eels (16)

An amazing performance against Penrith. They played direct, Dylan Brown was impressive, they kicked well and Mitch Moses had his defence right. This team has the potential to be better than expected but the challenge for Parra is to do it week after week.

Match Highlights: Panthers v Eels

14. Gold Coast Titans (11)

Lost their million-dollar man before the game and then their halfback 10 minutes into the game. They had injuries and had excuses, but it just looked a bit like boys versus men. They didn't really fire a shot or come up with any plays. The bottom three teams looked like they were still in pre-season trial mode.

15. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles (15)

Manly were very disappointing, not that we're expecting too much from them this year. They look like they're going to struggle with their depth all year and off the back of that they're going to be fighting with the Bulldogs for the spoon.

16. Canterbury Bulldogs (13)

A really disappointing display. After a big pre-season, you want to hit the ground running in round one and they looked off the pace straight away. They had no direction and all that excitement about their young players, it was deer in the headlights stuff. I wish I could do my predictions again because it looks like they'll win the spoon.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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