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The Panthers, Storm and Roosters continue to stamp their authority on the competition but there are bright prospects for some mid-table sides.

One of those teams is the Titans, who can't make the finals but have surged into the Power Rankings top eight after 18 rounds.

1. Penrith Panthers (Last week: 1)

I thought Penrith rushed their attack against the Eels. Up until half-time they'd tried all their plays and they weren't coming off. But the Panthers readjusted in the second half and fought out a gritty win, so they're still answering all the questions.

2. Melbourne Storm (2)

Another professional effort which sets them apart. Melbourne and the Roosters are pacing themselves perfectly for the finals. 

3. Sydney Roosters (3)

Some really nice touches from their left edge against the Knights. Five-eighth Luke Keary was better for the run last week. Everything still points towards a Roosters three-peat.

4. Canberra Raiders (4)

I may have underestimated Canberra and how gritty they are. They're going to be there or thereabouts. A tough first half against the Dragons but a professional second 40 minutes.

5. South Sydney Rabbitohs (6)

Blew Wests Tigers away early and just held on in the end. It showed South Sydney have the attack to tear some of the top teams apart, but they've also invited mid-table teams to beat them with poor ball control.

Get Caught Up: Round 18

6. Parramatta Eels (5)

I'm concerned. At the moment, if the Eels faced Penrith in the first week of the finals and then played the Raiders the following week, they'd be out in straight sets and it'd be a wasted season. Parramatta defended OK against Penrith but their attack is indecisive.

7. Gold Coast Titans (9)

All signs are pointing up for the next couple of seasons once they assemble their strong 2021 squad. I couldn't be more impressed with Ash Taylor - it's really nice to see him smiling and playing good footy.

8. Newcastle Knights (7)

For the first 20 minutes against the Roosters they looked like a team that should be in the bottom four. Over the next 60 minutes, they looked like they'll be competing for the championship. Newcastle hung in well after a really slow start.

9. New Zealand Warriors (8)

They lost to Cronulla but had a higher ranking last week and remain on top. The Warriors' run seems to have come to an end. They looked fatigued on Sunday but hung in there.

Another Johnson kick, another Sharks try

10. Cronulla Sharks (11)

The win over the Warriors wasn't pretty, but you could see how much Shaun Johnson meant to the side in his return from injury. With the challenges ahead I don't think they'll make it far in the finals, but it was an important victory for the club.

11. Wests Tigers (10)

The Tigers scrapped against the Rabbitohs and bottled it late. That's been the tale of their season - not good enough for 80 minutes.

12. Manly Sea Eagles (13)

Came back from 10-0 down to beat the Bulldogs but more injuries will test their ever-thinning depth. Tom Trbojevic's return would be timely.

13. St George Illawarra Dragons (12)

Another disappointing loss. Debutant winger Cody Ramsey was the star. There is a lot for new coach Anthony Griffin to look at going forward. St George Illawarra's senior players didn't perform up to standard against the Raiders.

Get Caught Up: Round 18

14. North Queensland Cowboys (14)

Incoming coach Todd Payten will have his hands full based on their discipline on Sunday. Their attack also needs to be reworked. 

15. Canterbury Bulldogs (15)

They've tried hard but I feel like I'm repeating myself. Canterbury just don't have the quality for long enough and Trent Barrett will need to address the errors they make next season. 

16. Brisbane Broncos (16)

The season from hell continues to get worse. They've now lost to the Titans twice in a season for the first time.


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

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