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Soward: Ruthless Roosters; Raiders on the rampage

There were no real surprises with the teams that bowed out as the Roosters powered into the post-season and the Raiders and Eels showed us they're serious about their premiership aspirations.

1. Sydney Roosters (Last week: 1)

The Roosters are what we thought they are. For me Luke Keary is the best halfback or five-eighth in the world. The influence he has on that Roosters side with all those fantastic players like Tedesco and Cronk and Mitchell is amazing. He's almost underrated because we don't talk about him enough. He's built for Origin and I'm excited about the Keary-Cleary combo for years to come.

2. Canberra Raiders (3)

A fantastic, gutsy win under tough circumstances in Melbourne. They battled away, they defended, they got in the grind and were rewarded for playing the full 80 minutes. An amazing job by Ricky Stuart to get his team 80 minutes from a grand final.

Match Highlights: Storm v Raiders

3. Parramatta Eels (8)

Won at Bankwest like we all predicted, but won more handsomely than most of us expected. The challenge now is similar to what Manly are facing - they have to play away from home. Can they go to the AAM Park cauldron and get the job done against a Melbourne team coming off a loss?

4. Melbourne Storm (2)

Unusual to see Melbourne play as they did against Canberra. I know they won the minor premiership but I don't think we've seen them at their best consistently in terms of that steel and that dominance where they put teams away. They've been in a lot of battles this year and their game management has helped them but I don't know if we've seen them at their best.

Get Caught Up: Finals Week 1

5. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles (5)

An outstanding effort to beat the Sharks so convincingly. Everyone played their best game but we'll have to wait and see if they can bottle that for next week. Are they going to be able to do that when they're not at Lottoland?

6. South Sydney Rabbitohs (4)

Really disappointed with how they didn't turn up for such a big game and how they didn't handle the occasion very well. On the positive side, they now get a favourable draw against Manly, but they'll have to improve a hell of a lot to out-muscle Hasler's boys.

Soward’s Power Rankings explained

7. Cronulla Sharks (6)

A little surprised they didn't progress to week two of the finals, but you could make the argument that they played their final a week earlier. I thought they would've had the easier run in the finals, but to be out-enthused by a Manly team missing key players is a frustrating one for Sharks fans.

8. Brisbane Broncos (7)

They were the worst team in the eight and that pretty much showed in what happened on Sunday against Parramatta. They're underachievers in my opinion and making the eight isn't much to write home about when you don't show up to play in the finals.


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

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