You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Soward: Warriors are on the improve; Sharks in trouble

It's challenging to decide the Power Rankings at the moment when the bottom half of the competition is so inconsistent and we don't know what we're going to get.

There hasn't been much movement this week, but the top five sides still look a cut above and the Warriors have shot up.

1. Penrith Panthers (Last week: 1)

An unprecedented reign atop the Power Rankings continues. The potential danger for the Panthers is State of Origin. How many of their stars will go into it and come out the same player?

They didn't have to deal with that last year. If you have a large contingent selected for Origin, it can be a draining period and derail a premiership campaign.

2. Melbourne Storm (2)

Melbourne are really ranked 1B. I've said before they're on another grand final collision course with Penrith.

Would they win if the decider was played today? Probably, but they still have an occasional half of football in them where they get a bit loose without Cameron Smith's influence.

3. South Sydney Rabbitohs (3)

I don't know if Souths can be considered among the top three teams while Latrell Mitchell is suspended. Taking a bit of what Wayne Bennett said, the Rabbitohs have tendencies to beat themselves.

They got away with it in a win over Canberra but you can't do that against Penrith or Melbourne.

4. Parramatta Eels (4)

A professional effort to beat the Bulldogs. That's what Parramatta have to produce against the bottom 11 or so teams. If they can keep doing that, the Eels will again put themselves close to the top four and earn an extra bite of the cherry come finals time.

Every try from Round 8

5. Sydney Roosters (5)

Another devastating weekend with Brett Morris and Lindsay Collins suffering ACL injuries in a win over the Knights. The Roosters will continue to find a way to be competitive, but their task is harder now.

6. Manly Sea Eagles (6)

They fell short, but Manly tested Penrith as much as we’ve seen this season. I actually tipped them to win that game. They're still a work in progress but I'm expecting the Sea Eagles to bounce back against the Warriors this weekend in a big way.

7. New Zealand Warriors (11)

Will make the top eight. They're coming up to a stretch of winnable games against Manly, Parramatta - who will be tough - Wests Tigers and North Queensland before a bye.

A lot of teams are in make-or-break territory, but the Warriors will be fine if they play as they did in the first half against the Cowboys.

8. St George Illawarra Dragons (7)

The Dragons are back in the rat race after three straight losses. They're dropping the ball, putting pressure on their defence and have gone away from what worked. Haven't held teams down long enough to get going in attack.

Get Caught Up: Round 8 must-see moments

9. Newcastle Knights (8)

Can still push for the bottom half of the top eight, but Kalyn Ponga needs to play on the ball more and they've conceded some soft tries. Newcastle's forward pack have gone backward in recent weeks and been rissoled a few times.

But there are winnable games against the Raiders, Tigers and Cowboys on the horizon.

10. Gold Coast Titans (10)

They lost the unlosable game against the Broncos. I couldn't believe it and could've punished the Titans more. But are they better than Canberra below them? Yes. Are they better than Newcastle above them? Some weeks.

11. Canberra Raiders (9)

Canberra have lost their identity. They're no longer the uncompromising, defensively stout team of the last couple of years and have reverted to the performances we saw in seasons prior.

League Leaders: Wrecking ball to captain

12. North Queensland Cowboys (12)

I decided not to move the Cowboys too much after they almost pulled the game out of the fire against the Warriors on Sunday.

Like most of the bottom half of the competition, I'm in a holding pattern with North Queensland. We don't know what we're going to get each week.

13. Cronulla Sharks (13)

Cronulla are on the slide. Leaking soft points is an issue and they haven't really clicked since Matt Moylan has been out. I didn't have the Sharks in my top eight to start the season and I can't see them making it now.

14. Wests Tigers (15)

Michael Maguire needed a response from his playing group after a tough trot and got it against the Dragons on Sunday. I'm interested to see how they back up next round. They've got a favourable draw with winnable matches against the Titans and Knights.

15. Brisbane Broncos (16)

You could argue Brisbane deserve to be higher but I'm not going overboard after one win. The teams above them are in the same boat. The question is can they bottle what they produced against the Titans? If they can show consistency, I'll reward them next week.

16. Canterbury Bulldogs (14)

After the relief of getting the monkey off the back last round, Canterbury didn't perform how they would have wanted in a loss to the Eels. Still learning what it takes to win consistently.

 

NRL Magic Round Brisbane 1-Day & 3-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 NRL.com/Tickets

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