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Manly up, Canberra down in post-COVID ladder

A look at the NRL ladder for just the games since the resumption reveals some teams seem to have adapted better than others to the faster ruck and six-again rule under one referee.

Discounting the first two rounds and looking at the ladder for just rounds 3-6, the seventh-placed Sea Eagles jump five places to second while the Roosters – unbeaten in four games having lost their first two – leap from fourth to first.

The Rabbitohs, Wests Tigers and Dragons all sit two spots higher looking at just their post-shutdown games.

The big movers in the other direction are the Raiders; they had big wins over the Titans and Warriors before the break but looking at their past four games, and despite a good win over the Storm to start with, they slip four places and out of the top eight to ninth.

That is down to losses against Newcastle and Manly, with a narrow win over the Tigers in between. Worryingly for the Raiders, they haven't scored more than 22 points in any game since the resumption and haven't scored a try in the final quarter of their past three games.

Opposition strength and a small sample size is clearly a factor in some of the movements, with the Raiders' two early games against weaker opposition falling out of the four-round sample.

Similar could be said of the Knights, who drop three spots from second to fifth without their early wins over the Warriors and Wests Tigers. An injury-ravaged draw against a strong Penrith team and second-half fightback loss against heavyweights Melbourne are complemented by impressive wins against the Raiders and Broncos.

The Cowboys and Broncos also drop, with North Queensland losing one of their two wins (round two against Canterbury) and suffering three straight defeats since downing the Titans. The Broncos drop from a precarious 14th to last, with their opening two round wins gone and leaving just a horror four-game losing streak that has leaves as the only club not to win since the resumption.

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