The cream is starting to rise to the top.

We're seeing out of Origin that there's two ways you can go - you can use fatigue as an excuse and put in substandard performances, or you can wear it as a badge of honour and come out and perform. Check out where your team sits in the pecking order in this week's Power Rankings.

1. Melbourne Storm (Last week: 1)

Cameron Smith - GOAT. Melbourne Storm still No.1. Enough said.

2. Canberra Raiders (3)

It pleases me to no end to say the Raiders are No.2 and they're back to where they were at the start of the year in terms of worrying teams with hard-nosed defence and capitalising on silly errors. They had that sharp focus in everything they did against the Dragons and that's the Raiders I expect to see heading into the finals.

3. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles (4)

I know they lost but I love watching this team play. They play with a lot of desire and I like how they compete and keep turning up for each other. A great performance from Daly Cherry-Evans to back up after Origin and Curtis Sironen continues to have an outstanding season.

4. Sydney Roosters (2)

Not good against the Cowboys and I probably could've ranked them a little lower. They're still going to be okay but Trent Robinson would've been unhappy with what he saw from his side in terms of lack of intent. It was a good opportunity to go up to the Central Coast and get a professional win and come back and set your sights on where you want to finish in this competition.

5. South Sydney Rabbitohs (6)

Not the best performance but they proved that they're certainly a team that can turn to somebody in tight games with the way Adam Reynolds performed. Unlike some teams that don't have that, he'll put you in a position to win. The Rabbitohs are still hanging around and they'll look more like a serious premiership threat when they get everybody back on deck.

6. Penrith Panthers (7)

Not overly pretty but a solid win over the Titans. It's a huge game against the Dragons on Friday night and they can really solidify their finals hopes if they win. They've really hit their straps at the right time and they're playing a more entertaining style of footy, and James Maloney continues to be the Pied Piper.

7. Newcastle Knights (5)

A big game at home after Origin in front of a crowd of 25,000 but they didn't turn up to play and paid for it. I'm holding on the Knights at the moment and in a wait-and-see mindset. They had a great period to turn their season around but lately, they've gone off the boil again. 

8. Parramatta Eels (9)

That's the Parramatta we like to watch - a team that just competes hard and doesn't mind a bit of the nitty-gritty stuff. They don't have to be the entertainers but they can be very effective when they run hard and put Mitchell Moses in a position to be able to finish sets. Blake Ferguson backed up from Origin with an outstanding performance.

9. Cronulla Sharks (8)

I'm a bit wary about the Sharks at the moment. Their desire early on didn't translate to how big that game was against Melbourne. The blessing in disguise if Shaun Johnson is out is that they bring in a good goal-kicker in Kyle Flanagan. But the Sharks certainly look more vulnerable than usual.

10. North Queensland Cowboys (11)

What a fantastic performance against the Roosters, probably one of the club's best in a long time. They looked like they played with a real sense of purpose for Gavin Cooper's 300th game and were really up for the occasion. They had determination and wanted to win. Congratulations to Gavin Cooper.

11. Wests Tigers (10)

I'm really disappointed in the Tigers. It seems like week-to-week we sit down and say their season is on the line and I thought the game being a big occasion for Benji Marshall's 300th that they'd come out of the blocks a bit harder, but all you can say is that it's another missed opportunity.

12. New Zealand Warriors (12)

We saw a bit of everything from the Warriors on the weekend and that's been their story all season. They had a good start and then found themselves in a hole against the Broncos, and then they scramble back into the game with a chance to win it but don't have the smarts and consistency to find a way to get it done.

13. Brisbane Broncos (13)

That draw with the Warriors pretty much seals their fate. They had a slow start and got themselves back into it with a couple of tries but failed to ice it at the end. If you get paid a million dollars it's not just about the flashy plays, it's about setting up in the crucial moments to win a game.

14. Canterbury Bulldogs (15)

If you've been reading the Power Rankings every week you'll know there's some weeks we talk about the talent and potential of the Bulldogs' young guys, and other weeks they've been below par. For a few weeks now they've been solid and on Friday they played an entertaining style of footy, they defended for each other and played with determination.

15. St George Illawarra Dragons (14)

The Dragons are one of those sides that probably used Origin as an excuse with guys backing up. As soon as you put the jersey on you go out there believing you're fully fit regardless if you're carrying bumps. We keep waiting to see if they're going to turn the corner but it was yet another disappointing performance at home.

16. Gold Coast Titans (16)

The Titans are a bit of a rabble at the moment. They've sacked their coach and failed to score a try on Friday night. It wasn't pretty watching. The challenge for those players now is who wants to be there next year and over the next few weeks the club will be looking very closely at that and who they're going to unload.

 

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