Jacob Preston during the round two NRL match between the Melbourne Storm and Canterbury Bulldogs at AAMI Park on March 11, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Grimes/Zero Digital Sports)

With the season proper over, the NRL ladder is set, and so to are our Power Rankings for 2023.

As always, the below will not always replicate the exact NRL ladder due to multiple factors.

These final rankings take into account form, expectation and standing as of right now.

For instance, Newcastle being on a nine-game win streak is absolutely taken into account and may see them place higher than teams above them on the NRL ladder.

Below are the final NRL Power Rankings for 2023:

1. Penrith Panthers (Last Week: 2)

The Panthers have done it again. A huge home win over a desperate Cowboys outfit saw them claim a second straight Minor Premiership.

Despite the loss of Jarome Luai, Penrith did not miss a beat in dismissing the Cowboys with ease. Jack Cogger is probably the best backup half in the competition.

Penrith will host the high-flying Warriors this Saturday afternoon. They enter as massive favourites and look odds on to progress.

2. Brisbane Broncos (1)

Broncos fans can have mixed feelings about Thursday night. It would have been amazing to lift the shield as Minor Premiers but they're in a near perfect spot for a Finals assault now.

I don't take anything out of the game. The side they ran out there was QLD Cup strength with a sprinkling of first-grade regulars.

Unfortunately, the loss means they host the side who has the wood over them in recent years, the mighty Melbourne Storm. That shapes as an almighty task.

3. Newcastle Knights (4)

The Knights have powered into the Finals on the back of a nine-game win streak. They now start the shortest-priced favourites as they host the hapless Raiders.

It was no Ponga, no worries for Newcastle as they battered the Dragons. They actually rested numerous stars, but, as always, Ponga is the headline act.

Most, myself included, expect them to walk through Canberra before facing a monster clash the week after. Anything less would be a disaster for this incredible side.

4. Melbourne Storm (5)

There is just something about this Melbourne Storm side. Something that tells me they're the biggest threat to the Panthers in 2023.

Melbourne played spoiler on Thursday night in denying the Broncos a Minor Premiership. They, much like the Broncos, fielded a very undermanned side.

The Storm head into Friday's rematch with supreme confidence knowing they have the recent wood over their opponents in Brisbane.

5. New Zealand Warriors (3)

The Warriors suffered a somewhat unexpected loss over the weekend despite naming a side sans their big guns.

The difference between third and fourth is, well nothing really, so Andrew Webster made the right decision for mine.

That said, they now travel to Penrith to play the competition's best team. A win almost guarantees a Grand Final appearance given the Prelim home ground advantage.

6. Cronulla Sharks (6)

The Sharks continued their season of doing just enough to get where they wanted to be.

For a long time on Sunday afternoon, they were in a set-for-set contest with the under-strength Raiders, before Nicho Hynes kicked into gear. It should be said they were aided by a send-off.

The Sharks host a Final on Saturday against the red-hot Roosters. They enter the smallest of favourites although I expect that to change by kickoff. Tough ask.

7. Sydney Roosters (7)

Have the Roosters timed their run to perfection? Saturday night's short trip to Shark Park will certainly answer that question.

The Chooks tore the hearts out of their bitter rivals, the Bunnies, on Friday night en route to booking them a Finals showdown with the Sharks.

Tedesco and Keary are playing their best footy all season while Joey Manu looks ready to return. It's a big ask but the Roosters have to roster to get it done from outside the top four.

8. Canberra Raiders (10)

This is a difficult one to justify as I'm on record as saying Canberra do not deserve to play Finals.

That said, they have a chance to win the title, whereas every team below them does not. Thus, they moved up two spots to end the season in eighth.

I would be absolutely gobsmacked if they managed to get close to the Knights on Sunday afternoon, let alone beat them.

9. North Queensland Cowboys (8)

The Cowboys season ended in hugely underwhelming fashion as they failed to fire a shot in a must win contest.

Unfortunately the result, and effort, largely sums up there 2023 season. At times they were great but overall they just didn't deliver.

A huge off-season awaits Todd Peyton has genuine questions at halfback, centre and wing to answer. Scott Drinkwater kept them in Final's contention far longer than they deserved.

10. Manly Sea Eagles (12)

It is a real shame that Manly left their entertaining run so late, as this side could have caused issues in the Finals.

A massive and highlight-filled win over the Tigers provided a positive end to a disappointing season. Koula, DCE and Olakau'atu had blistering fortnights to end 2023.

They'll miss the Finals but given their horror injury toll and late-season finish, 2024 looks bright. Plus they also won the pre-season cup, for what it's worth.

11. Parramatta Eels (11)

The Eels were the unlucky team to have their season ended early via a bye. If they were in Finals contention, the guaranteed two points and the rest would have been gold.

Unfortunately, it was a season of what could have been for the blue and golds.

12. South Sydney Rabbitohs (10)

I have zero qualms in stating that the Bunnies were the biggest let down in 2023.

They had the Finals wrapped up, with much loftier expectations, only to fall away late and miss the Finals altogether. To their rivals, at home, no less.

The Bunnies stars just didn't stand up to be counted. I dare say the off-season will be one of serious reflection. Changes are coming.

13. Gold Coast Titans (13)

The Titans ended a pretty dire season with a win. Kieran Foran turned back the clock to score a hatty in their 34-30 win over the Dogs.

Despite doing their best to throw it away in the final ten minutes, the Titans were able to send their long-suffering fans out with a much needed victory.

Des Hasler has an almighty task ahead of him. He'll be pulling out that long, beautiful hair before too long if 2023 was anything to go by.

14. The Dolphins (15)

The Dolphins ended their first season in the NRL with a magnificent win in front of a big home crowd.

Yes, they beat an undermanned Warriors side, but given the amount of players unavailable for the Phins, this was a great win.

With the first-season jitters out of the way and some big-name talent arriving in the off-season, 2024 is shaping up very nicely.

15. Wests Tigers (14)

The Tigers showed some incredible fight over the past month or so but sadly couldn't deliver at Brookvale on Friday evening.

Truthfully they were terrible and the loss was nothing less than what their 2023 efforts deserved.

The long-suffering fans of the club will be hoping a long off-season will help turn around their fortunes. Surely 2024 has to be better, right? Right!?

16. St George Illawarra Dragons (16)

The Dragons have been limping toward the finish line for two months now and thankfully their season is now over.

Shane Flanagan has a task ahead of him that can be described, conservatively, as difficult.

There are about 27 of the Dragons contracted 30 who should be nervous in the off-season.

17. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (17)

A late fightback on Sunday afternoon gave Dogs fans some cause for joy, but otherwise, it was yet another afternoon of dismay.

Josh Addo-Carr turned back the clock to score a highlight reel hat trick of tries. That regather will be played many times in the '24 pre-season commercials.

A horror year for the Dogs on and off the field. Here's hoping some big-name talent arriving soon can turn it around for the fans.