Soward: Storm stamp class; Knights, Sharks loom large

The Melbourne Storm showed once again why they've been so good for so long and they're back at the top of the Power Rankings.

The Knights and Sharks continue to rise while the Rabbitohs and Roosters are finding life tough during Origin and just have to hang tough.

Check out your team's place in this week's pecking order.

1. Melbourne Storm (Last week: 2)

A real masterclass in Auckland. Down 10-2 and Cam Smith puts on a play for Jahrome Hughes with a minute to go before half-time which surely laid to rest any doubt anyone has that Smith is the best player in the competition and the best ever. That's certainly where I rate him. The Storm defy the odds of falling off a cliff and find a way to get it done. 

2. Newcastle Knights (3)

Six wins in a row and have the form player in the NRL in Mitchell Pearce. And Kalyn Ponga is probably second. They have really simplified their game. Not trying to go out the back, out the back but instead they are running hard and getting quick play-the-balls and getting over the advantage line. Giving their spine a great platform and they are coming up with the goods. 

3. Cronulla Sharks (5)

I'm taking anyone's Sharkies shares if they want to give them to me. They are a real chance to win this competition. Wade Graham coming back is huge. When Shaun Johnson returns, if he can bring the final piece to what Chad Townsend is producing at No.7, they could rattle off 10 games in a row and put themselves in a great spot for September.

4. South Sydney Rabbitohs (1)

Origin is the big leveller and the Rabbitohs are certainly feeling the pinch. Not the biggest Origin representation but they lose a few and then also have some key injuries. Their depth will be tested.

5. Canberra Raiders (7)

Third defensive shutout this year and have shown a real willingness to turn up for each other. Really panicking other teams when they attack and other sides are getting frustrated and making mistakes and the Raiders make them pay. Seem to be the real deal.

6. Sydney Roosters (4)

The lowest I've had them in two years and they are just going to have to battle through this month. Don't expect to see the Roosters we'll see in September but it's vital they hang in and get a good position in the top four. They don't want to lose touch with that especially with the surprise packets Knights and Raiders rising. They'll be tested but they'll be OK.

7. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles (8)

Absolutely thrilled with the two points but wouldn't be thrilled with the way they got them. One of those games where you don't know how you did it but you're just happy to get away with the two points. Tom Turbo was a bit rusty but he'll get better very quickly with games under his belt.

8. Brisbane Broncos (6)

Hard to know what to make of the Broncos. Some weeks they are steely and hard nosed and then they play like they did against the Titans. I understand they are coping with Origin but this is the Broncos and they are one of the best in the competition so they should handle it. They produced a 'rock up and we'll win' performance against the Titans and paid the price. 

9. North Queensland Cowboys (11)

Should have won the game against Manly and were absolutely ripped off by some dreadful decisions. Defensively they are hard nosed but they need to change their style of attack and push for more angles and second-phase play to use their strength which is their pack. Great performances by Jason Taumalolo and Michael Morgan.

10. St George Illawarra Dragons (13)

They have so much talent across the board and rep players but I don't know what to make of them. Haven't been able to get it right but the addition of Corey Norman today really helped them and they potentially now can get some combinations going with their regular No.6.

11. Penrith Panthers (14)

Three wins in a row and James Maloney was great and Nathan Cleary defended strongly. They are a team we thought we going to be way better than what they are and they've had disappointing results but it's nice to see them keep their season alive.

12. Wests Tigers (9)

They had a chance to get a Canberra side coming off the back of Origin but they were dismal. The excitement levels were there playing at Bankwest Stadium but they have been there twice now and scored just six points. It's a graveyard for them at the moment.

13. Parramatta Eels (10)

On the slide and need a win quickly. Probably even more than a win they need a performance. Have gone off the boil. The contracts are sorted out for their big guns but it's always been the fringe players I've worried about that haven't got their futures sorted out. 

14. New Zealand Warriors (12)

Copped a lot of flak for our Power Rankings at the start of the year for having the Warriors too low because everyone said they had heaps of talent. They had a couple of decent performances in recent weeks but have failed to back that up and came up with two stinkers at home.

15. Gold Coast Titans (16)

Great win against Big Brother. Way better than they were last week against the Cowboys and climb off the bottom of the ladder. That's the sort of performance we don't see enough from the Titans and unfortunately they'll probably come out and play poorly next week.

16. Canterbury Bulldogs (15)

Huge turnover of players this year and they keep tinkering with their roster. Had no cohesiveness with combinations and they keep looking for answers and some of those answers I think are in their reserve-grade team at the moment.

 

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