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You can tell we're at the serious end of the Telstra Premiership after a high-quality and thoroughly enjoyable second week of the finals.

The Roosters' two-year reign is over while the Eels must ask themselves hard questions after going out in straight sets.

Here's how the Power Rankings stand heading into the Storm-Raiders and Panthers-Rabbitohs preliminary finals.

1. Penrith Panthers (Last week: 1)

I'm interested to see Penrith's approach in the lead-up to Saturday's match and whether there's much media around them and Melbourne after a week off. The Panthers are up against a dangerous South Sydney team, but I think they're the favourites to win it all.

2. Melbourne Storm (2)

Melbourne would have enjoyed the week off as they get ready for yet another preliminary final. It's potentially Cameron Smith's last game, so they'll be right up for it.

3. Canberra Raiders (3)

This is a side doing it on guts, determination and willingness to compete. That's how they can win this week. Like many others, I didn't give them a chance when Josh Hodgson went down earlier in the season but they've been able to reinvent themselves. Ricky Stuart deserves a lot of credit for that. I'm looking forward to Friday's match.

4. South Sydney Rabbitohs (5)

There is something about this team - they just have points written all over them. South Sydney won't be able to start as slow this week against minor premiers Penrith, but they're right on at the moment. Looking really, really good.

Then there were four …

5. Sydney Roosters (4)

I don't think anyone can discredit what the Roosters have achieved over the last three years. They would probably be disappointed with how they played on Friday night having missed some opportunities which they'd usually take. That ended up burning them. But what a fantastic effort by Trent Robinson.

6. Parramatta Eels (6)

The 38-24 loss to the Rabbitohs probably typified Parramatta's season a little bit. They started OK, then took the bull by the horns before falling away at the end. There are some really hard questions coming up for Brad Arthur in another important off-season.


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

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