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The Eels have returned to top spot, but don't start thinking it is time to question the Roosters.

Not much changed in round eight and I still believe this year's competition is a race among four or five.

There are a few sides jostling to make up the eight at the moment, but no one new has announced themselves in the top echelon.

Among the lower levels of the rankings, life isn't getting any better for the Broncos.

1. Parramatta Eels (Last week: 2)

The only thing missing for Parramatta is 30,000 fans rocking Bankwest Stadium. The concern was whether they could cover the injured Mitchell Moses - and Clint Gutherson and Dylan Brown stood up. In past years, the Eels may have used losing Moses as an excuse to drop a few games. There are no excuses in 2020.

2. Sydney Roosters (1)

The only thing that could beat them this year is running out of petrol. The Roosters would have won that game against the Storm nine times out of 10. They delivered in clutch moments but there were some defensive lapses in terms of crumbing the ball and defusing kicks in big moments. However, I haven't lost any faith in them.

3. Penrith Panthers (3)

Great win. Some may question why they're not higher. Penrith look really good, but I'd like to see them play a full 80 minutes. Still, it showed the quality they have in being able to grind it out.

Get Caught Up: Round 8

4. Melbourne Storm (5)

Every time you think they're looking for answers, the Storm stand up. They were probably beaten a few times against the premiers but never quit. Ryan Papenhuyzen's clutch field goal would have given Cameron Smith a lot of confidence. It showed that he and Cameron Munster aren't the team's only game-winners.

5. Newcastle Knights (6)

A gritty, determined display to beat the Sea Eagles. I loved what I saw as they defended their line. Andrew McCullough's play at the death to track back and dive on the ball - you can't teach that. They learned their lesson from last week - the sign of a good team.

6. Manly Sea Eagles (4)

Manly should have beaten Newcastle - they had ample ball in the second half. Cade Cust is a good player, but Daly Cherry-Evans is the main man and needs to get into first-receiver a lot more. It looks like they'll be a few troops short. Their season could almost be gone if they lose to the Dragons this weekend.

7. Canberra Raiders (8)

I wasn't impressed by their win over the Dragons as they conceded 16 points late. I'm expecting to see fireworks against Melbourne on Saturday given they smashed the Storm when the competition restarted. I can't wait to call it on radio - I'll have the popcorn ready.

Match Highlights: Titans v Sharks

8. Cronulla Sharks (9)

They're on a roll. Andrew Fifita is getting some consistency back and Shaun Johnson's been better. It's a big test against Penrith but they could get the major scalp they've been waiting for.

9. Wests Tigers (7)

Beat themselves against Penrith through ill-discipline and a failure to recognise what was going on. Kick-chase penalties, penalties early in the tackle count and 10 penalties overall – that's not good enough. Then there were the brain explosions. That would have hurt.

10. South Sydney Rabbitohs (10)

They weren't great by any means but got the job done. South Sydney continue to put themselves in danger because they don't respect the ball enough. A big test coming up against the physical Wests Tigers.

11. St George Illawarra Dragons (12)

The attack needs a full overhaul. They need to give either Corey Norman or Adam Clune full control, because that halves combination's not working. Ben Hunt should be starting.

Wakeham puts it on a platter for Montoya

12. Canterbury Bulldogs (13)

Every week they try so hard. If you took Payne Haas, Alex Glenn and one or two other Broncos and put them in Canterbury's side they'd probably get different results. I don't mind watching the Bulldogs, because you know it will be a scrap.

13. New Zealand Warriors (15)

Nothing to play for except pride in their jersey and they did that on the weekend. They can continue to upset teams. I'm so happy that Todd Payten got his first win as an NRL coach. The Warriors are better than those below them through want and enthusiasm.

14. North Queensland Cowboys (11)

After a great win, they didn't have their heads switched on. The Eels were good but the Cowboys had the team to compete.

15. Gold Coast Titans (14)

I feel like I'm writing the same thing every week. It's groundhog day for Justin Holbrook: one good performance then five steps back. The coach would have been frustrated with the efforts of some players.

16. Brisbane Broncos (16)

A rabble. Their effort wasn't first-grade standard. Unfortunately, it looks like the external pressure is straining the players. I feel for them but only they can fix things once the ball is kicked.

It's sad to see all the Queensland teams at the bottom, but I need to see week-to-week consistency to move them up.

 

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

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