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South Sydney announced themselves as a finals threat with an attacking explosion in round 20, but the Sharks and Knights have done nothing to solidify their claims.

Many teams will be glad to have arrived at  their break, either to put a bad year  behind them or to build on some promising signs for 2021.

Here are the Power Rankings for the end of the regular season.

1. Penrith Panthers (Last week: 1)

Penrith have everything going for them - they're minor premiers and could have the Dally M Medallist and Rookie of the Year. But all that hype and excitement can quickly turn sour if you take your eyes off the prize. This is the biggest week in the club's recent history.

2. Melbourne Storm (2)

Just so professional. I know they lost to the Dragons, but with so many players out they still had guys they could plug in and almost get the job done. I'm impressed with Melbourne and I think they're favourites to win it. 

3. Canberra Raiders (4)

I definitely underestimated the Raiders and didn't give them the respect they deserved going into the finals. I thought they may have been a bit short on points. But they've got some momentum and grit and will try to out-compete opponents on every play. They're a shot of causing a boilover and getting to at least week three of the playoffs.

Every try from round 20

4. Sydney Roosters (3)

I couldn't have the Roosters much lower despite being flogged 60-8 by the Rabbitohs. It would be a disservice to put them below any other sides at the moment based on their body of work. The history books are there to be rewritten and if anyone can bounce back after such a devastating loss, it's the Roosters. Their mission is a lot harder now. I can't wait for Friday night.

5. Parramatta Eels (5)

The Eels scraped in for a win over Wests Tigers but I wasn't overly impressed with some of the tries they conceded. However, I saw some bright signs with their attack in that first period. Their challenge comes this week, and while they've limped into the finals, they're a chance of causing an upset.

6. South Sydney Rabbitohs (7)

I don't think anyone saw such an attacking explosion coming. They look like being one of the dangers in the finals if they can get it right. In the back of my mind though are the times they've beaten themselves with errors. Hopefully, we see the good South Sydney turn up this week.

7. Gold Coast Titans (6)

One of two teams that I would've liked to have seen in the playoffs. It was pretty exciting to watch the Titans play the way they did the other night. I can't wait to see what the 2021 season brings for them and how they approach it now they've got a little bit of hype.

All five Alex Johnston tries against the Roosters

8. New Zealand Warriors (9)

The other team that could have been in the top eight. They had an amazing year despite sacrificing a lot and we've all followed their story closely. Now it's a chance for the players to go home and see their families.

9. Newcastle Knights (8)

The way they played against the Titans a week out from the finals showed they are a long way from being one of the top teams. Adam O'Brien has done a good job for his first season as coach, but I think there are aspects to his side's game that he'd be looking forward to working on including trying to instil more resilience.

Get Caught Up: Round 20

10. Cronulla Sharks (10)

Cronulla have been very lucky with their draw and beaten the teams below them, but they haven't fired a shot against those above. That was no more evident than in Saturday's loss to the understrength Raiders. I don't see the Sharks doing anything this week; I think it'll be one-way traffic for Canberra. 

11. Wests Tigers (11)

It's tough to watch the Wests Tigers. When they play as they did in the second half against the Eels, you want to sit down and watch how they go. But going off their first 15 minutes or so, it was easy to see why they missed the top eight. Another long off-season looms after failing to live up to the hype.

12. St George Illawarra Dragons (14)

The Dragons could have been lower, but I've seen some promising youngsters and know they'll be in the frame next year having watched behind the scenes. I'm excited to see what that brings, but they're not getting let off the hook with another sub-par season. Four out of the bottom five teams have changed coach, so we'll be judging them on what happens in 2021.

13. Manly Sea Eagles (12)

You could blame a lot of their positioning on injuries, but the fact of the matter is Manly haven't been defensively consistent enough to keep themselves in games. Having three of the most talented players in the competition doesn't mean anything if you can't get the best out of the rest of the team.

Blair farewelled with powerful Haka

14. North Queensland Cowboys (15)

Another team that definitely requires some new ideas in attack. There are some talented players up there that need some luck with injuries, but week-to-week the Cowboys haven't shown the consistency expected in the NRL. 

15. Canterbury Bulldogs (13)

It's really disappointing that for the last two years the Bulldogs have finished off well after a slow start. They need some younger guys to take it to the next level. A fresh coat of paint with Trent Barrett coming in as coach could get the best out of some of those players.

16. Brisbane Broncos (16)

The season from hell just got worse and worse. After the COVID break, they really didn't get it right in any area of the business. You're judged by your results and a lot of people paid the price for that.

 

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