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Soward: Eels impress but Dragons, Warriors in strife

Mid-season fatigue was apparent for some teams last round and it was probably why we had a few big margins.

There needs to be a recalibration and I think some sides are looking towards the upcoming bye in both good and bad ways.

Here's how the Power Rankings stand after 14 rounds:

1. Melbourne Storm (Last week: 1)

Clinical, so professional. They get the job done, it doesn't matter who they're playing. This is a side that understands who they are. I think the Panthers are looking over their shoulder a little bit now and realising that Melbourne might be their kryptonite. 

2. Penrith Panthers (2)

Two weeks in a row the fringe guys probably haven't played their best. They conceded 19 points to the Sharks and regardless of whether your top players are out there, your systems don't change. I've been a little bit disappointed in Penrith but they'll be alright.

3. Manly Sea Eagles (3)

With no Tom Trbojevic, usually we're waiting for that dip to happen. But Manly's dip happened when Tom played against Newcastle. I feel like everyone's raised their level now and that's their standard. The Sea Eagles are going to be a premiership threat.

4. Sydney Roosters (5)

Borderline against the Titans, but for me, the impressive part is the injury toll they've been able to get through. Trent Robinson would have been filthy they let such a big lead slip, but he'll be happy they were able to stay calm when it got hot and come out with a win.

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5. Parramatta Eels (6)

A really professional performance, which is something I haven't said a lot about Parramatta. They dismissed a Wests Tigers side that would have been feeling red-hot after beating the Panthers. That's what the Eels need to do if they're going to be a top team.

6. South Sydney Rabbitohs (4)

Not overly impressed with their win over the Knights. Early on they made it a game when they didn't need to. Whether that was through fatigue or not, we'll have to wait and see. But there are still some underlying issues in terms of their defence and competing with big teams.

7. Cronulla Sharks (10)

A big win for the club over the Panthers. As I said last week, I think they're at the start of something special and can get their season rolling.

8. North Queensland Cowboys (7)

Really disappointed with how North Queensland backed up after State of Origin. They didn't get into the game after a bright start. But the Cowboys are around the 8-12 mark and they'd been up for a while to get themselves into the eight. It would have taken a lot out of them.

Every try from Round 14

9. St George Illawarra Dragons (9)

Really disappointing loss to the Bulldogs. You can't make the eight if you're going to have performances like that in games you should win.

10. New Zealand Warriors (8)

The Warriors look to have lost Chanel Harris-Tavita for the year with a pectoral injury after being thumped by the Storm. They look like they're going to miss the top eight; they're not consistent enough for me.

11. Gold Coast Titans (12)

Probably the only team in the competition that could come back from 26 points down and then end up losing the game. I've spoken about immaturity for the Titans and it continues to shine through. That's their biggest problem and it cruelled them again against the Roosters.

12. Wests Tigers (11)

Could have had them lower. A totally different team to a week prior when they beat up on the understrength Panthers. They played one of the big dogs this round and got spanked 40-12. If the competition ever needs to go on hold, the Tigers proved that.

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13. Canberra Raiders (15)

Did what they had to do to beat Brisbane. Canberra's test is bottling what they did last week to get their season going. There are certainly some OK signs for the Raiders.

14. Brisbane Broncos (13)

Another week, another poor performance. It seems like they're school kids and they don't how to play for 80 minutes yet. They can change their halves pairing as much as they like but it won't change that.

15. Newcastle Knights (14)

Tried hard and put in a better effort against the Rabbitohs but something is missing. There's not quite the grittiness that we've come to expect from the Knights. Hard to watch at the moment.

16. Canterbury Bulldogs (16)

Great win. Canterbury are always a tough opponent for the Dragons and they played well. It was a long time between wins, so the challenge for Trent Barrett is getting another one.


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

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