Several teams' seasons were summed up with their performances in round 15.
The top eight looks set in stone five weeks before the finals with the only question being who will finish where when the rescheduled Telstra Premiership regular season wraps up after round 20 at the end of September.
1. Penrith Panthers (Last week: 1)
Penrith continue to dismiss all challengers. This is a team with just one loss and one draw all year. They'd be on pace for a record-setting season under normal circumstances. The Panthers are in the box seat but they need to make sure they haven't already played their best footy and don't tighten up when the big games arrive.
2. Parramatta Eels (3)
Not convincing but did what they had to do. The jury is out as to whether Parramatta's attacking woes are solved, but it was important to beat the Storm so they know they can do it come the finals. Having almost all of their squad fit and ready could prove crucial.
3. Melbourne Storm (2)
The loss to Parramatta wasn't so concerning, but losing the integral Brandon Smith until around finals time with a broken jaw is a big dent. The Storm are OK but paddling a touch with their injuries.
4. Canberra Raiders (4)
Still don't think they're premiership contenders but Canberra are the best of the rest. Bigger games are ahead.
5. Sydney Roosters (6)
A great bounce back against the Tigers. The reinstated Kyle Flanagan showed he can steer the team around without Luke Keary which is important. With the Broncos up next, expect the Roosters to go on a little run and probably finish fourth.
Every try from round 15
6. Newcastle Knights (5)
Newcastle have gone down after a win because of Blake Green's knee injury. Their attack really struggled with him off against the Cowboys on Sunday. Kurt Mann's versatility is a great strength but moving from five-eighth to hooker and back may be unsettling. The Knights are set for the bottom half of the top eight.
7. South Sydney Rabbitohs (8)
An emphatic win over Manly, but they're a team that has so far only beaten up lower sides. The Rabbitohs face the Eels and Storm in the next two rounds and need to show something against them to prove they're contenders.
8. Cronulla Sharks (7)
We still haven't seen their best. Cronulla have also beaten up on lower-placed teams but nothing suggests they'll seriously compete with the top sides. That was evident when Penrith ran riot against them again.
9. St George Illawarra Dragons (11)
Could have made a statement by thumping the Broncos but they nervously struggled to put them away even with a 12-0 lead after six minutes. The good sides wouldn't have let Brisbane back into the contest. The Dragons won't make the top eight.
Ponga puts Tuala in to seal the win for Newcastle
10. New Zealand Warriors (12)
Great win over the Bulldogs. They hung in the game despite falling behind early and Kodi Nikorima and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck's combination is growing.
11. Wests Tigers (9)
The Tigers could have been lower if Manly weren't beaten by so much. Their season has been on the line for the past two weeks and they've dished up nothing. To perform like they did in front of the Leichhardt faithful wasn't good enough.
12. Manly Sea Eagles (10)
Injuries combined with trying to save their season is proving too tough. Last week's hard-fought loss against Newcastle drained Manly. They were already done before South Sydney smashed them, but now they're looking for the off-season.
13. Gold Coast Titans (13)
It's been the same story once a month: the Titans take three steps forward and then five back. It would be frustrating for Justin Holbrook who is trying to set standards. They've got to be good every week to compete in the NRL.
Get Caught Up: Round 15
14. North Queensland Cowboys (14)
North Queensland need someone to come in that allows them to believe in their attack. With the likes of Michael Morgan, Scott Drinkwater and Valentine Holmes (when fit), they should be racking up plenty of points. It would have been frustrating to try so hard but fail to score on Sunday.
15. Canterbury Bulldogs (15)
Should've beaten the Warriors. Despite sitting last, Canterbury haven't seemed like the worst side - but maybe they are because they continually find a way to lose winnable games. The roster turnover is going to be key for the Bulldogs to bounce back next year.
16. Brisbane Broncos (16)
Tried really, really hard. They had a chance to get a win but when you're a team that's used to losing, you'll often find a way to lose. Kotoni Staggs is undoubtedly the shining light of their season.
The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARLC, NRL clubs or state associations.