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Melbourne are making their usual second-round charge, the Raiders are flying but need to stabilise their halves, while the Bunnies, Broncos and Dragons are all under pressure.

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

1. Melbourne Storm (Last week: 1)

A dominant and quite clinical performance against the Knights. Year after year we write them off and start expecting them to slide, but they keep finding people who understand what their job is and they go out and do it. They've got two of the best players in the world, if not the greatest ever in Cam Smith pulling all the strings. An amazing effort by the Storm and they look like they're in line for another title shot.

2. Canberra Raiders (5)

It's time to give them some love but I'm still undecided about Aidan Sezer at halfback. I think Sam Williams needs to be your man, and unless you get that cohesiveness, consistency and combinations from your seven and six I don't know if the Raiders can win a semifinal in Sydney or Melbourne. The sooner they sort out their halves and leave them there the better.

3. Newcastle Knights (2)

Won six in a row but ran into a very determined and very professional Melbourne outfit and couldn't go with them. I expected a better effort and they'd be disappointed with how they played, but they've been up for a while and they've probably come to the end of a big month-and-a-half. They've put themselves in a good position and it's time to re-charge. It'll be interesting to see how they deal with the recent injuries they've picked up.

Soward’s Power Rankings explained

4. Cronulla Sharks (3) 

They can't let leads get out like they did last week and expect to run everyone down but they did a hell of a job to be able to get back into that game and gave themselves a chance to win down the stretch. I love the addition of Wade Graham on that left edge and the Sharks should only get stronger as they get guys back and get everyone fully healthy.

5. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles (7)

Another great win by Manly and Des Hasler is still my coach of the year for what he's been able to do with that roster and the way he managed injuries to his star players. He's turned that team around from what we saw last year. Defensively they're strong, they compete for every possession and they play for each other.

6. Sydney Roosters (6)

They did what they were expected to do by beating the Bulldogs and they did so handsomely. Having Latrell Mitchell with them through the rest of the Origin period is a big plus for the Roosters. He won't have those demands physically and mentally and it should keep him fresh and focused to be a big X-factor at the back end of the season.

Match Highlights: Roosters v Bulldogs

7. South Sydney Rabbitohs (4)

I'm starting to worry a little bit about the Rabbitohs. The upside is that they put themselves in such a good position at the start of the year and they've got 10 wins in the bank, so they can probably afford a couple of losses. But they need to start getting some troops back because they certainly look a little vulnerable right now.

8. North Queensland Cowboys (9)

The Cowboys go up a spot on the back of their effort against the Tigers. They've been really unlucky the last two weeks and some really bad calls have gone against them, and they've still found themselves with a chance to win at the death. I feel sorry for the Cowboys because they're only one or two players away from being in that bracket of teams from four to eight on the ladder.

Get Caught Up: Round 14

9. Penrith Panthers (11)

Hard to believe their season is still alive but they keep hanging in there and finding a way to win over the past month. The draw has been favourable to them through this Origin period and they were able to face the Roosters and Rabbitohs below full strength. They're doing the job and it'll be interesting to see how they come out of Origin with James Maloney and Nathan Cleary both involved in the halves for the Blues.

10. Parramatta Eels (13)

It was tempting to put them higher in the Power Rankings but we've seen these flashes in the pan from the Eels a few times this season and the jury's still out until we see how they back up that fantastic performance against the Broncos. The consistency of the Eels hinges on the consistency of Mitch Moses - when he's on the team is on.

11. Wests Tigers (12)

A great win on the road against the Cowboys, a very gutsy effort. They kept their season alive and it showed in their performance how badly they wanted to win that game. The challenge for the Tigers is to have the same effort and desire when they come back to Sydney. It'll be interesting to see how they back up after Origin.

Match Highlights: Cowboys v Wests Tigers

12. Brisbane Broncos (8)

They were really poor against the Eels. Their season was on the line and they didn't turn up, and it pretty much rules them out of top eight contention because they aren't consistent enough to go on a long winning streak. The simple fact is the Broncos can't play like they have in their past two games and expect to be a heavyweight in this competition. They've been very disappointing.

13. New Zealand Warriors (14)

A scrappy game against the Titans and they tried to throw it away at the end but ended up escaping with the two points. It's been said all year in the Power Rankings that the challenge for this team is to back it up week to week and they just don't seem to have it in them to perform consistently.

Match Highlights: Titans v Warriors

14. St George Illawarra Dragons (10)

It looks their season is quickly coming to an end. That was really poor against Manly after they started positively and led early. They conceded a lot of points and couldn't contain Tom Trbojevic. They're not in a good position and with more Origin representation it means they're going to have to make a strong run if they're going to make the eight.

15. Gold Coast Titans (15)

As usual they showed glimpses but overall another disappointing performance. They got themselves into the game against the Warriors and were probably the better team at stages, but in the end it's another loss at home and they haven't been able to find any consistency.

16. Canterbury Bulldogs (16)

Tried really hard and there was some better signs than the previous week but it's still another heavy defeat and they continue to struggle defensively. The Dogs just don't appear to be making any progress and look like they're going to get the spoon.

 

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

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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