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The end of the season can't come quickly enough for more than half of the teams in the Telstra Premiership and some performances last week reflected that.

The classy sides shone again in round 19 but some of the losing margins really stood out, which was disappointing.

1. Penrith Panthers (Last week: 1)

Congratulations to the Panthers on their first minor premiership since 2003. An unbelievable effort from these kids and the whole organisation considering where they were last year. But we can only write so much; we'll soon see whether they can kick on amid the hype.

2. Melbourne Storm (2)

The Storm have got a chance to get some miles in the legs of some guys who may be called on in a couple of weeks. That first week of the finals is going to be a cracker.

3. Sydney Roosters (3)

I think the top three teams are bored, to be honest. I know it sounds wrong but it looks like they're waiting for the first week of the finals. At the moment they know they can turn up at 70 percent and get the job done because some other sides are that bad. I've really loved what I've seen from Angus Crichton in the last two weeks.

4. Canberra Raiders (4)

As I said last week, I underestimated Canberra's grit in big games. They were under duress against the Warriors and still came out on top. The Raiders are a whisker off the top three.

Sharpe: 'You can’t be what you can’t see'

5. Parramatta Eels (6)

I can't see them coming within a lot of points of Penrith if they face them in the first week of the finals. Parramatta's attack is still disjointed and defensively I'm not sure they're understanding and communicating as well as they were. 

6. Gold Coast Titans (7)

I know they're high, but I wish they were finals-bound because I think they're better than three of the teams in the top eight at the moment. The foundations have been laid this season; now coach Justin Holbrook needs to build the house.

7. South Sydney Rabbitohs (5)

I wouldn’t say it was a scheduled loss, but it wasn't overly surprising that South Sydney lost to Canterbury. It may have helped the Rabbitohs refocus and remind them they won't just walk through the first week of the finals.

8. Newcastle Knights (8)

Newcastle did what they had to do against the Dragons but there wasn't much resistance. They didn't overly convince me that they will be able to upset South Sydney in the first week of the finals. Better performance at home but coach Adam O'Brien will be looking for another gear.

Get Caught Up: Round 19

9. New Zealand Warriors (9)

Another game where they tried their backsides off. The Warriors went down to Canberra and gave it to the Raiders. They've earned a rest after next week. Really happy for them, but after the final match the hard work starts for these sides that have some hype around them for 2021.

10. Cronulla Sharks (10)

Shaun Johnson's season-ending injury is huge. I'm not sure where their attack is without him - he has the most try assists in the NRL and looked like he was cooking against the Roosters. I've got the Sharks sliding out comfortably in the first round of the finals. They're not playing great anyway.

11. Wests Tigers (11)

I'm glad they've finally been put out of their misery. The bottom six teams have been really, really poor in the last couple of weeks and you can lump the Tigers in with them now.

Every touch from SBW against the Sharks

12. Manly Sea Eagles (12)

It was sad to see Tom Trbojevic go off injured again, but that doesn't explain some of the easy tries they conceded against the Titans. I thought they might've won but was really disappointed.

13. Canterbury Bulldogs (15)

Canterbury may still finish last but they play with grit, determination and effort. That's all you can ask for when the season doesn't go your way. The talent probably isn't there as it is for other teams, but they compete hard and got a reward last week.

14. St George Illawarra Dragons (13)

The loss to Newcastle was, I think, one of worst performances in the club's history. It wasn't acceptable. The Dragons had more to play for and I thought they might've won. They didn't turn up and got owned by a team that isn't great and has been looking for their own form. 

15. North Queensland Cowboys (14)

Waiting to get to the off-season. North Queensland have shown patches here and there but it's never been enough to trouble anyone consistently.

16. Brisbane Broncos (16)

The biggest game of 2020 comes for the Broncos against the Cowboys on Thursday night. They're farewelling a club legend in Darius Boyd and attempting to stave off the wooden spoon.


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

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