After having the rep week off, we are back with the week 7 power rankings. Not much has changed at the top, but there seems to be a stoush at the bottom to see who can be the worst side in the NRL. Let’s find out shall we?
1. Melbourne Storm
Only undefeated team although they looked vulnerable against the Warriors on ANZAC day and were very lucky to win. Good teams find ways to win, especially with the help of the officials at crucial times.
2. South Sydney Rabbitohs
Broke a hoodoo of sorts with a big win over Manly at Brookie. They are the heir apparent and the team most likely to unseat Melbourne at the top of the table. Inglis is hands down the best player in the NRL at the moment.
3. Sydney Roosters
Demolished the Dragons on ANZAC Day and are getting better by the week but I still feel they are a rung below Melbourne and Souths, although the gap is closing. They look balanced across the park but I haven’t seen enough from Mitchell Pearce to suggest he is a walk up start for the NSW number 7 jersey.
4. Manly Sea Eagles
Manly lost at fortress Brookie and are likely to be without Faáoso and Matai for a number of weeks. Manly round out the top four and are the worst of the best in a two tier competition. I think age may catch up with them in the latter part of the season.
5. Newcastle Knights
The best of the rest. Disposed of the Titans but they still aren’t an elite team…yet. They will make the finals but I feel they are lacking in a few positions and injuries could kill off their campaign quite quickly. Pardon the alliteration…
6. Brisbane Broncos
The Broncos have emerged as a solid side who will make the finals but their one dimensional game plan relies on Justin Hodges doing most of the leg work and he can’t carry them all the way to the promised land. Still, 2013 will be viewed as a success for the Broncos.
7. Gold Coast Titans
After a strong start to the season, the Titans have come back to earth with a thud at the hands of the Knights. Not sure what’s gone wrong but they Titans will be a fringe top eight team most likely on the outside looking in if they don’t right the ship ASAP!
8. North Queensland Cowboys
The Cowboys are in this position by default. They are not a top eight side at the moment but neither are the sides below them but the Cowboys have more upside than most of the teams outside the eight so on that alone, they make eighth spot. Convincing eh?
9. St George Illawarra Dragons
The Dragons don’t have a great deal of talent but they fight hard every week, win, lose or draw. They have signed Gareth Widdop and Joel Thompson whilst losing Jamie Soward to the Panthers. All in all, a good week for the Dragons…off the field.
10. Canberra Raiders.
The NRL’s most insipid team by a mile and I happen to follow them. My passion for the Raiders has waned over the years because there have been too many false dawns with this club and while ever David Furner is coach, I refuse to believe they are capable of anything better than eighth. They were amateurs against the Cowboys with their completion rate abysmal. They play like an under sixes side most of the time and I’ve come to the conclusion that while ever the Raiders refuse to put in, then as a fan I lose no sleep over their ineptness.
11. Penrith Panthers
Disposed of the Eels with ease but this is not a finals bound football team. New signings mean 2014 looks brighter but there is still a long way to go this year and I see far more losses than wins on the Panthers horizon.
12. Canterbury Bulldogs
The Dogs beat a shambolic Sharks side but in reality, they weren’t much better than their opposition. Too many dropped balls and lack of execution hurt the Dogs but they did come out on top and should dispose of the Tigers this week and that will have most of Lakemba, Punchbowl, Bankstown and Greenacre to proclaim “We’re back”. I’m not so sure but this is a team who can string together a dozen games on the trot so you have been warned.
13. Cronulla Sharks
Poor old Sharkies They went on a massive recruitment drive and looked to be inching closer to that elusive premiership but ASADA put paid to those plans in a hurry. This is a team playing on empty and until the ASADA cloud is lifted, they’ll continue to tread water. Shane Flanagan looks like he is about to cry in every interview. Maybe he is…
14. New Zealand Warriors
Let’s be honest, the Warriors were robbed against the Storm and were arguably the better team for the majority of the match. That must be frustrating but if anyone knows a thing or two about coming up short, it’s Matt Elliott. I see a few more wins for the Warriors as they start to adapt to Elliott’s game plan, then the Warriors will sack him and the circle of failure will start all over again.
15. Wests Tigers
Talk about cursed. The injury toll is massive and most of them are key players for the Tigers. Half the starting side are on the sidelines with Moltzen and Ayshford likely done for the year. Anasta is out for a month, Galloway, Lawrence, Tuqiri and Korobeti are also missing. The Dogs will make light work of them this weekend and the downward spiral will continue.
16. Parramatta Eels
What the hell was that Parramatta? A drubbing at the hands of the Panthers. Just when you thought things couldn’t get much worse, they serve up this crap? Tim Mannah likely gone for the season as well and a lack of on field leadership means the Eels are in big trouble and may actually win back to back wooden spoons. Now, that would be quite an accomplishment for the Blue and Gold!