Yes, I know it’s a little late but the site has been undergoing some desperately needed maintenance. Anyway, without further ado, I present the week eight power rankings:
1. Brisbane Broncos:
The NRL’s most boring side beat the Eels with the help of some dubious decisions by the referees. When you have Wayne Bennett as coach, you expect things to go your way. I’m not convinced by the Broncos and I think they’ll be brought back to earth during the Origin period. How Thaiday made the Australian team is beyond me.
2. St George Illawarra Dragons:
The Dragons ground out another gritty win on Anzac day against a quality opponent in the Roosters. After the storms subsided (which were wild btw), the Dragons played with purpose and determination and are now a legitimate chance at the top four. Benji has recaptured some of is old form and the Thompson/Frizzell backrow combo is working a treat. Mary is working wonders with a largely unheralded roster and their defence is superb.
3. North Queensland Cowboys:
Are starting to hit high gear and live up to their potential with Thurston in career best form. Can they carry this form all through the season? I’m not sure but at the moment they are looking fantastic. Scott, Tamou and Thurston along with Taumalolo can take this team deep into the finals.
4. Melbourne Storm:
Lost a heartbreaker to Manly at home and father time is starting to catch up to Smith, Cronk and Slater. I think the Storm will really struggle through the Origin period this year and they are one injury away from going from contender to pretender. Still, they have the coach to bring out the best in the players each week although I wouldn’t want to be around him if he was in a bad mood.
5. Gold Coast Titans:
Here’s a team no one expected to do well this year after an off-season to forget. Player turmoil, financial strife, the DCE saga and negative media attention about their future on the coast has resulted in some excellent football. Must be the adversity thing. Guys like Sezer, Roberts and James ar eplaying great footy and the veterans in Bird and Myles are leading from the front.
6. Canberra Raiders:
Everyone’s tip for the spoon but it’s looking further and further away by the week. A team that doesn’t rely on any one particular player and are playing with heart, the Raiders have surprised everyone, including me.Stuart has been much maligned but he has this group playing hard each week and now that they are straightening their attack, they look fast and threatening at the goal line. If only they could win at home…
7. Penrith Panthers:
The Panthers have been hardest hit by the injury curse but as coach Ivan Cleary stated yesterday, they are hanging in there. They’ll need to if they want to make the finals but anything is possible and Claery is a good coach.
8. Wests Tigers:
After last weeks devestating loss to the Raiders, the Tigers bounced back in style, thumping the Bulldogs in a dominant display. They are inconsistent but with such a young side, that is to be expected. The Pat Richards penalty goal from 55 metres out was the highlight for me.
9. South Sydney Rabbitohs:
The loss of Sam Burgess, Adam Reynolds and John Sutton has left a big void at the Rabbitohs and not even a thumbs down from Rusty could bring them back against the Raiders yesterday. Reynolds is the key and whilst Keary is playing lights out, Inglis is off his game and the forwards are inconsistent. Having said that, I fully expect the Bunnies to make the top four and push hard again for another premiership.
10. Sydney Roosters:
The Roosters have the most expensive and star laden side on paper, but it’s not translating to results on the field. Daniel Tupou has been poor this season and the halves streaky at best. The loss of SBW can be seen and Ferguson is being missed out wide too. Still,m with such a talented roster, I expect the Roosters, like the Bunnies to be there when the whips are cracking.
11. Canterbury – Bankstown Bulldogs:
Probably the seasons biggest disappointment so far but they have had a big injury list and suspensions to deal with and should come good when all their troops are back on deck. They seem to lack heart though and that could be an issue if they make the finals.
12. Cronulla Sutherland Sharks:
Lost a game against Penrith they shoudl have won, even if Gallen was missing. The Barba experiment has been an abject failure and I doubt he’ll be in the NRL next season. UK Super League is looking good I think.
13. New Zealand Warriors:
Seriously, who would want to coach this team? They’d give me a coronary in the pre-season, let alone the regular season. Too unpredictable and I doubt they have the resolve to make a dent in the finals.
14. Parramatta Eels:
The most unpredictable side in the competition. Brad Arthur gets all the plaudits as a master coach in waiting, but is side don’t perform like a team with a master coach. Sort of like Newcastle under Wayne Bennett.
15. Newcastle Knights:
On the slide big time. Have big name stars and their halves are average at best. Without Beau Scott their forward pack lacks mongrel and I think they may be one of the teams in a dogfight for the wooden spoon.
16. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles:
Probably won’t be down here for that long after a hard fought victory over arch rivals Melbourne, in Melbourne. Geoff Toovey is the second coming of Marcel Marceau with his animated hand gestures.