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Soward: Warriors justify faith; Sea Eagles grounded

Round one provided some clarity regarding how teams will look throughout this season.

The hardest time for Power Rankings is before a ball is kicked competitively. Now, we've got a better reflection of each club.

Here's how the Rankings have changed:

1. Melbourne Storm (Last week: 1)

Cameron Smith's been such a massive part of the Storm, but the premiers rolled on with Ryan Papenhuyzen, Cameron Munster, Jahromes Hughes and Brandon Smith ensuring they didn't miss a beat. A pleasure to watch.

2. Penrith Panthers (2)

Penrith tried to pass their way around the Cowboys after opening really well and having all the ball. Their maturity came to the fore in the second half as they pulled away from a lacklustre team, but they'll need to be better. I don't think Ivan Cleary would've been happy with their first half.

3. Sydney Roosters (4)

The Roosters will be hard to beat if they stay mostly injury-free. But already Jake Friend's gone down with a head knock, so they may have to shuffle things around. Brett Morris and James Tedesco continue to score tries. It was a big win first-up for the Chooks.

4. South Sydney Rabbitohs (3)

Wayne Bennett has made some great roster additions over the past two years, but the Rabbitohs continue to get themselves into a bind and have to play their way out of it. It's scary to think what they'd be like if they complete around 85-90 percent in the first half and then have a points explosion.

Get Caught Up: Round 1

5. Canberra Raiders (5)

They are what I thought they'd be, but I can't have them any higher after beating the Tigers. Nice win at home and I loved seeing the Canberra Milk logo on their jerseys. Really promising signs for the Raiders; I believe they could win it all.

6. Parramatta Eels (6)

It's hard to move the top six around because I still think they're all in a premiership window. But I wasn't impressed with how the Eels played against the Broncos. They initially tried to use finesse instead of rolling up the sleeves and running hard. Reed Mahoney was outstanding as Parramatta flooded through the middle in the second half to come up with points and get out of jail.

7. New Zealand Warriors (8)

The opening month doesn't change in the NRL. Success comes from holding the ball and getting into a rhythm instead of trying to make it happen by passing your way around. The Warriors kept it simple and put in a very professional effort. They carried on from last year, which isn't easy to do as their opponents the Titans showed. Really happy for the Warriors and Nathan Brown.

8. Cronulla Sharks (9)

Fantastic in the first half against the Dragons. Cronulla controlled the ball, kicked well and chased hard. They had a bit of a flat patch, which was a tendency last year, but showed their class at the end as the big-name players stepped up. Important win in the local derby. 

NRL Round-Up - Round 1

9. Newcastle Knights (10)

Up a spot, but they had to win at home in a game that suited them as opposed to playing Melbourne or the Roosters. They're skinny on depth in the outside backs and that could be tested if Bradman Best is sidelined with an ankle issue while Kurt Mann is out with a knee injury. It's still a hold-and-see approach to Newcastle for me.

10. Gold Coast Titans (7)

The biggest disappointment of the weekend. I've been savage on a few teams, including the Titans, having now seen everyone play properly under the new rules. The Gold Coast were really, really poor. They tried to pass their way around instead of running hard and their skill level wasn't great.

Roberts with an early nomination for pass of the season

11. Wests Tigers (12)

Produced a gritty first half in a tough environment against Canberra, one of the premiership favourites, but some old habits crept in. It's like the Tigers know they can a good team but just don't want to be there yet. 

12. Canterbury Bulldogs (11)

Attack has long been Canterbury's problem but it seems they've forgotten about their defence. Their renowned defensive steel just wasn't there against a Newcastle team that I think will miss the finals. Kyle Flanagan was outstanding in his club debut with the ball but got posted a few times in defence.

13. Brisbane Broncos (16) 

It was a diabolical second half after leading 16-0, but the Broncos showed enough to convince me they won't run last again. It was really positive to see glimpses of Anthony Milford's best. Like the Dragons below them, I pushed Brisbane up the rankings despite a loss because Manly and North Queensland played way worse.

14. St George Illawarra Dragons (15)

Beat themselves in the first half as old mistakes crept in. You can't concede 32 points in any game and expect to win. A great fightback but not the way you'd hope to kick off the season.

Dufty tears the Sharks open up the middle

15. North Queensland Cowboys (13)

Really lacklustre. They were disconnected at times and really struggled for any excitement. That's alarming for a team that many expected to sharply improve. It looked like the Cowboys hadn't changed.

16. Manly Sea Eagles (14)

I was already worried about the Sea Eagles without Tom Trbojevic, but against the Roosters they continued last year's trend of conceding lots of points very easily. It's not how you want to start any game, let alone round one. Concerning times. There's not much to build off.

NRL Magic Round Brisbane 1-Day Passes are now on sale with eight massive games across round 10 at Suncorp Stadium this May. With the league's best players all heading to Brisbane, you'd hate to miss it! Tickets at


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

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