You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content

With the world the way it is at the moment, round one was always going to be a bit weird.

I think the more experienced teams handled the disruption better than those still trying to find their identity in the competition.

Round 1 Power Rankings

1. Canberra Raiders (last week: 2)

Playing the Titans was a bit of a trap game. I expected them to win by 30, and though it wasn't quite that big a margin, they did it pretty comfortably. Canberra's bigger tests are down the road, they know that. Jack Wighton put in a superstar performance to start the year.

2. Melbourne Storm (4)

I could have had the Storm at No.1 after they went to Brookvale and came out with a win. Jahrome Hughes was outstanding with his kicking game. Melbourne continue to be what we thought they were: a really professional team who doesn't give you anything. If you're going to beat them, you need to have your best game.

3. Sydney Roosters (1)

We saw some fatigue from the Roosters at the back-end of both halves that I wasn't expecting until later in the year. There were uncharacteristic errors for a side that is usually so disciplined and those cheap turnovers invited Penrith into the contest.

4. Parramatta Eels (3)

The Eels didn't really get their attack on at all; it was a scrappy game and that's what the Bulldogs do to you. In terms of grittiness and defence, it was one of those games the good teams win at the start of the year. Well done to Parramatta.

Get Caught Up: Round 1

5. South Sydney Rabbitohs (6)

The Rabbitohs were impressive in beating a quality Sharks side first-up when they're still working on their combinations and have lost leadership. It was an important win. Maybe I underestimated how good they might be.

6. Brisbane Broncos (7)

We've been waiting (including last year) for the Broncos pack to deliver the way they did on Friday night. They've got a halfback now in Brodie Croft who can put them in good positions, so it looks like Brisbane have got the mix right. Anthony Milford was quiet but I expect that relationship with Croft to grow.

7. Penrith Panthers (8)

An outstanding second-half from Penrith. The first half they were a little bit overawed by playing the premiers, but to their credit, they hung in there. I think they need to make a change at fullback - I'd have Stephen Crichton starting. He seemed a bit more lively and around the ball than Caleb Aekins. It's a tough choice for Ivan Cleary this week.

Round two to continue with suspension of season deemed 'catastrophic'

8. Manly Sea Eagles (5)

I was disappointed in Manly given they had good crowd on a Sunday afternoon at Brookie and some stars back. Not having Manase Fainu at dummy-half is going to hurt how they operate; he's an 80-minute player. However, they'll certainly still be there when the whips are cracking.

9. Wests Tigers (11)

Benji Marshall delivered a sublime performance in tough conditions against the Dragons with two try assists and a try. Michael Maguire will want to address his team's start but they showed some real guts to hang in there and get an important win.

Benji still producing the magic for Nofoaluma

10. Cronulla Sharks (9)

It was great from the Sharks to fight back against South Sydney but they shouldn't have put themselves in that position. They've got so much talent and when - or if - they get fully healthy they're going to be a handful. Cronulla are probably going to be around the 8-12 mark all year I think. 

11. North Queensland Cowboys (12)

I thought the Cowboys were pretty good; they just came up against a red-hot Brisbane pack. I don't think it will be the last time the Broncos tear an opposition pack apart. The combination between Scott Drinkwater, Valentine Holmes and Michael Morgan worked well. They just lack a little bit in defence and gave up a few soft tries.

12. Newcastle Knights (13)

Doing the job at home against a team ranked lower than you is admirable, but I'd like to see a lot more against the heavy hitters. We're going to find a lot out about the Knights six, seven, eight weeks in.

Bulldogs happy to play on

13. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (10)

The Bulldogs were gritty and tried hard against the Eels but they've been that team for several years now and their attack hasn't changed. With all the hype around them, it was disappointing to see another ordinary performance.

14. St George Illawarra Dragons (14)

The loss to the Wests Tigers was tough to watch if you're a Dragons fan, because they defended resolutely at times but never really found their mojo in attack. Their kicking game still leaves a lot to be desired but bombing several tries didn't help. There were some good signs but definitely not enough to move up the Power Rankings.

15. Gold Coast Titans (15)

It was always going to be a tough ask going down to Canberra, but a lot of Gold Coast players looked like they didn't want the contact from the Raiders and that really put them on the back foot. The Titans probably are what we thought they were to start the season and they'll need to bounce back this week.

16. New Zealand Warriors (16)

The Warriors made the trip to Newcastle and failed to score a point. Their preparation was more hampered than everyone else's, and I commend them for what they're doing to potentially keep the NRL afloat by giving up family time to base themselves in Australia. But on a strictly performance basis, it wasn't good enough.

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.

Premier Partner

Media Partners

Major Partners

View All Partners