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Soward: Sea Eagles soar to join NRL heavyweights

The top five teams in the NRL are set but are the boys from the northern beaches are on the rise and ready to unsettle the title contenders.

Manly's improvement since the return of Tom Trbojevic has been a sight to behold.

Manly aside, there are changes aplenty in the middle of the rankings with concerns for the Raiders and Warriors topping the list. 

1. Penrith Panthers (Last week: 1)

They're just rolling through the competition at the moment. A tough one coming up against Manly. It might be a chance for the Sea Eagles to break the Panthers' unbeaten streak but this team just plays both sides of the ball and gives you nothing. 

2. Melbourne Storm (2)

A comfortable win over the Warriors keeps them on Penrith's tail for top spot, love watching them play. Jahrome Hughes has crafted his way into being one of the premier halfbacks in the game. 

3. South Sydney Rabbitohs (3)

Wayne Bennett won't be happy with the 30 points conceded but he'll be happy with the two competition points against an attacking Titans side that will give you opportunities if you're willing to take them. Benji Marshall is up there with buy of the year - what a pick-up.

4. Parramatta Eels (4)

Executed impressively to put the Broncos away in Darwin. Since their loss against the Dragons in round five it seems like something has been said in that dressing room because there has been a welcomed reset. 

Every try from Round 7

5. Sydney Roosters (5)

Their premiership window is ajar but still not sure about wide open. Sam Walker did some nice things against the Dragons on such a big occasion but how do they go against Melbourne, Penrith and South Sydney? I think they're a tier below that.

6. Manly Sea Eagles (11)

The biggest movers ever in Power Rankings history. They were just so good on Sunday. I didn't expect Tom Trbojevic to have this much of an impact so quickly. The way he gets people into position defensively and what he does for DCE and Kieran Foran, they are going to be a serious threat if they can stay healthy. 

7. St George Illawarra Dragons (6)

Great start against the Roosters but didn't do it for long enough. They had a lot of changes and this is the week they get a bit of leeway but going forward they have to be a lot better, especially against a desperate Wests Tigers this week.

8. Newcastle Knights (9)

They get a promotion after trying hard against the Panthers and having a few players due back soon. However, there's no good only competing in games. There is a lot of inconsistency in their performances. If they are to make a run, this squad has to do a little bit better.

League leaders: The Lyon inside Gutho

9. Canberra Raiders (7)

Very worried. Their style of attack is a real concern. They looked a bit better with Tom Starling but defensively they're not the brick wall that got them to the grand final in 2019. They need to click into gear soon or they'll miss the eight.

10. Gold Coast Titans (10)

One word keeps coming to the fore with the Titans and it's immature, not in terms of inexperience, but with the decisions they're making on the field, especially when leading 24-10. They looked like a completely different side in the second half.

11. New Zealand Warriors (8)

Tough to go down to Melbourne for the Anzac Day clash with so many injuries. They are trending down because of that but Reece Walsh is a great pick-up for the Warriors going forward and is going to be a star.

Get Caught Up: Anzac Round must-see moments

12. North Queensland Cowboys (13)

There looks like a certain level of freedom in their squad at the moment. Sometimes when an older voice goes other guys stand up. Val Holmes seems a lot more comfortable with his game and playing style. They're all just having fun and that's the key for them. It's good to see them playing well. 

13. Cronulla Sharks (12)

A team that is struggling at the moment with the off-field stuff taking a toll. Another game they should've won this season but they seem to have lost their identity to what they once were. They need to be a lot better if they're going to make the eight.

14. Canterbury Bulldogs (16)

Great win for Trent Barrett and the side against the Sharks. It's what we've come to expect from the Bulldogs - to compete and be gritty, but sometimes it's far and few between in games. They need to back it up now when they play Parramatta this week. 

15. Wests Tigers (14)

The thing about being a good team is you need to be able to come up with plays and compete for 80 minutes. They did that for 13 minutes and then clocked off thinking it would be good enough. The Adam Doueihi-Luke Brooks partnership isn't working. They need to make a change with the halfback.

16. Brisbane Broncos (15)

They went to Darwin and didn't really compete. Some of those guys are making it really hard on Kevvie Walters because they're playing well below what they're expected to. They're potentially back to finishing last for the year. 

 

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