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Soward: Broncos, Knights surging; Roosters falling

As we head into the Origin period, it's still hard to get a proper read on where some teams will end up at the end of the season.

Round 11 of the NRL had a bit of everything from upsets to injuries, while the Rabbitohs, Knights and Broncos continued on their winning ways.

Check out the form guide in this week's Power Rankings.

1. South Sydney Rabbitohs (Last week: 1)

Weren't at their best but they're dealing with a huge injury toll and they've got 10 wins under their belt already. They don't blame injuries at any time and Wayne Bennett continues to get the best out of this team. They look really settled and happy in what they're doing, and regardless of their injuries they have a next-man-up mentality and it's working for them. They've shown they're in that top echelon with the Roosters and Melbourne.

2. Melbourne Storm (3)

A convincing win at a tough place to play like Belmore. They went there with the right attitude and kept the Bulldogs from ever really getting into the contest. The Storm haven't been at their best this year but they would've been happier with their performance on the weekend. We're almost halfway through the season and they've typically set themselves up for a great finish.

3. Newcastle Knights (6)

Absolutely outstanding performance against the Roosters and they're really showing a hunger that they want to achieve something. They've jumped up the Power Rankings in a big way with their performances in the last two weeks. They've won five in a row and we've highlighted pretty accurately how they've trended and worked their way into the top four. It's nice to see them playing some consistent footy.

Knights rise

4. Sydney Roosters (2)

A couple of losses in a row but I think we're seeing them sacrificing going with full-strength teams now to be able to prime themselves through the Holden State of Origin series and also the back end of the year. They were depleted against the Knights and I'm not worried about the Roosters. They've put themselves in a good enough position and they'll be there when it counts.

5. Cronulla Sharks (8)

An excellent win over the Dragons. Matt Moylan in his first game back looked silky and adds so much to their attack. They outplayed the Dragons in the second half and really wanted to win after losing at home last week. I still like the Sharks and they remain one of the genuine dark horses once they get their full team back.

6. Brisbane Broncos (7)

Three wins in a row and starting to build a bit of momentum and confidence. A very good win over the Roosters the previous week and it was important that they backed it up. When you're still learning to win you've got to have these scrappy wins now and then and the Broncos certainly dug in for a scrappy win in Auckland.

Match Highlights: Warriors v Broncos

7. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles (4)

Very disappointing performance against the Titans, especially after leading 12-0 and letting it go. Manly have worked so hard to put themselves in a position to make some noise when they get their best players back, and to lose to the Titans like that at home could be very costly down the track.

8. Canberra Raiders (5)

Quite a drop for the Raiders. They were very disappointing at home and shouldn't have let that game slip because it could come back to haunt them. That's three losses in a row now and Ricky Stuart must be concerned heading into the Origin period. They were right in that game against Souths last week but didn't back it up against the Cowboys.

9. Wests Tigers (10)

Lost to Souths but go up a spot based on some of the really good things they did in that game. At various stages they really looked like they were challenging the Rabbitiohs and putting themselves in a contest, but they just lacked that toughness to do it for 80 minutes. They can definitely take something out of the last two weeks against Melbourne and the Rabbitohs and I give them a pass.

Get Caught Up: Round 11

10. North Queensland Cowboys (13)

Up three spots after a great, scrappy win in Canberra. Have put two wins together and look like they've started to find their niche. The Cowboys know they're not going to be able to score a lot of points but if they defend like they did on the weekend they're certainly going to stay in a lot of games. Michael Morgan is really starting to get his form back in everything he does.

11. Parramatta Eels (9)

I'm a bit lost for words as to what's happened to the Eels. I thought they were going to push for a top four spot but they continue to slide. They've really gone off the boil the last couple of weeks. Bankwest Stadium was supposed to be their fortress but their attack has gone cold and I wonder if Dylan Brown returning soon will help.

12. Canterbury Bulldogs (11)

This team continues to have difficulty putting good 80-minute performances together which is probably to be expected with the roster they've got. Melbourne are good, but the Dogs got a good win the previous week and got back to Belmore in front of their home crowd and basically laid a duck egg in terms of performance and it's certainly not good enough to make the top eight.

13. New Zealand Warriors (12)

This is pretty much what I expected of the Warriors. They're just so inconsistent and not really sure of the style of footy they want to play. They put themselves in a fantastic situation by winning two on the road and then just go and let themselves down at home.

Soward’s Power Rankings explained

14. Gold Coast Titans (15)

A fantastic win on the road against Manly, but there's still no getting past the fact they're inconsistent from week to week and it's hard to know what you're going to get when you watch the Titans. One week they look like they could push for the top eight and the next week they just look disinterested.

15. St George Illawarra Dragons (14)

Another chance gone begging. Led 9-8 at half-time and didn't fire enough shots in the second half. They were out-enthused and out-energised by the Sharks and they need to use this weekend's bye to work out where they want to be at the end of the season and how they're going to get there.

16. Penrith Panthers (16)

Great to see them get a much-needed win but in terms of quality and good football, I doubt anyone will be looking back at it as a memorable win. It was nice to see them get some effort out of their big name players. Nathan Cleary was fantastic in a side that has been really struggling.


The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARLC, NRL clubs or state associations.  

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