Round 21 seemed to ask more questions than it answered. Are the Roosters slim finals chances still alive? Are the Sharks shot? Are Newcastle set for a late season charge?

Can anyone stop the Panthers?

We're not here to answer those questions today - my guess is they won't be answered for another month yet - but we are going to attempt to rank the sides.

Where did your team land after a largely upside down Round 21 of NRL action?:

1. Penrith Panthers (Last Week: 1)

Penrith absolutely ran the Bulldogs off the field, ran up a 44-18 score-line yet will probably still be less than happy with their efforts. That says everything about where this club is right now.

The Panthers probably had 11 of the best 13 players on the field at any given time. If not 12. Brian To'o was especially damaging, and entertaining.

This game was a training drill. So too should their upcoming 'contest' against the Sharks on Saturday night.

2. Brisbane Broncos (2)

Brisbane were pushed but ultimately well outclassed the Bunnies on the Sunshine coast. Reece Walsh was magnificent on his return from suspension.

Adam Reynolds haunted his old side, yet again on the night. Kotoni Staggs had one of his best games of the season in reminding us of what he can do.

The Broncos look the most likely to challenge Penrith. They host the resurgent Roosters on Thursday night in a monster clash.

3. New Zealand Warriors (3)

The Warriors of old reared their head on Friday evening in almost throwing away an un-losable game but Shaun Johnson is a different beast in 2023 and saw them home.

Addin Fonua-Blake gets mentioned here every week, for good reason. There's no better big man in the game right now. It was his quick play the ball that allowed Johnson to slot the winner.

The Warriors enjoy the bye this week and now look set for a high-placed finish. If they miss the top four from here it would be a travesty.

4. North Queensland Cowboys (7)

The Cowboys are officially flying! They sit seventh but I have them firmly in the top four in terms of where things stand right now. Their form is supreme.

Scott Drinkwater is the form player of the competition right now. Valentine Holmes, despite a mistimed tackle on the weekend, is one of the game's most exciting ball runners.

The Cowboys pack is back to where it should be - dominating all in front of them. They travel to the Gold Coast and should end their QLD rival's season.

5. Melbourne Storm (3)

The Storm continue to be one of the most difficult teams to rate here. They sit in the top four despite not reaching any great heights. Yet still feel supremely dangerous.

Cam Munster was electric on the night but didn't have enough help against the Knights. Tariq Sims being sin binned cost them dearly.

Craig Bellamy never looks happy although he had good reason given his team lead so easily, so early, only to fall away and lose without a whimper.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 17: Coach Craig Bellamy looks on during a Melbourne Storm NRL training session at Gosch's Paddock on September 17, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

6. Canberra Raiders (6)

Canberra were in reverse mode this Friday evening. Well know for fading late, the Raiders launched an all-time comeback to force Golden Point on the night.

Unfortunately, they fell victim of the perfect extra time set by the Warriors but can still be largely happy with their efforts.

Matt Timoko is fast becoming one of my favourite players in the competition. Bloke runs like his life depends on it. Host a must win game this weekend against the Raiders.

7. South Sydney Rabbitohs (5)

I sit here, with the Bunnies in seventh and I don't really remember why. They sit ninth with one win since the 10th of June. Strangely, I still maintain they're a title threat.

With arguably the game's best player still to return on Latrell Mitchell, the title charge is still on. That said, if they drop a game to the Tigers or Sharks, Finals may be beyond them.

They were pretty good against the Broncos but pretty good won't get them where they should be. They should bounce back against the Tigers.

8. Newcastle Knights (10)

Newcastle enter the top eight here, for the first time in a long time, and now just sit one round of positive results outside of the Finals spots.

Tyson Frizell and Kalyn Ponga were the two best players on the field containing names like Munster and Grant. Bradman Best is in career best form now also.

Newcastle are absolutely firing right now. Their home crowd is the loudest in the league. There is a lot to like. If they can upset the Raiders in Canberra, anything is possible.

9. Parramatta Eels (8)

The Eels finals chances now look to be hanging by a thread. Not due to their standing - currently eight - but due to a horror of fixtures in the coming weeks.

The loss here felt like it was worth four competition points as the Cowboys jumped them on the ladder. A win would have put the Cowboys two points + differential behind them.

Clint Gutherson and Bryce Cartwright continued their good run of form while Moses shone late. Unfortunately it doesn't get easier from here for Parra, with a trip to Melbourne this weekend.

10. Manly Sea Eagles (12)

Manly fans were made to work for it late on but make no mistake, Manly were far better than their Cronulla hosts on Sunday afternoon.

DCE kept his brilliant form alive, and in turn kept his sides Finals hopes alive, with a vintage performance. This was especially newsworthy due a raft of in game injuries to his middle forwards.

Manly sit just one result outside of a top eight spot. Given their form and injury toll, that is magnificent. They're back in the race and have a favourable fixture this weekend against the Dragons.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 09: Daly Cherry-Evans of the Sea Eagles runs the ball during the round 15 NRL match between Manly Sea Eagles and Dolphins at 4 Pines Park on June 09, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

11. The Dolphins (11)

The Dolphins banked two points, and a week off, in Round 21. It puts them two points outside of the Finals spots although their points differential is not good.

Sunday afternoon sees them travel to Bundaberg to play the Dogs. This is an absolute must win game if they are any hope of a debut Finals shock.

12. Cronulla Sharks (9)

Do not let the late fightback fool you, the Sharks were terrible on Sunday afternoon. Despite a raft of changes they failed to kickstart a faltering Finals charge.

The game plan of tackle hard and hope Nicho Hynes can lay on five tries is not working. For two reasons. Firstly they've forgotten how to defend and second Hynes is horribly out of form.

With a fortnight consisting of Penrith and Souths (both games away) the season is quickly turning sour for those of us in the Shire. So, 2022 aye?

13. Sydney Roosters (14)

The Roosters kick-started their below par 2023 season, which feels strange to say after Round 20, with a win over the Gold Coast Titans.

James Tedesco had arguably his best performance of the season. Perhaps last week's rest did do wonders for the superstar number one. Brandon Smith had his best game since his move from Melbourne.

Unfortunately it will all be for naught unless they can upset the Broncos this Thursday night.

14. Gold Coast Titans (13)

Unfortunately the Titans, despite some highlight reel performances this year, are done and dusted in terms of Finals. The Roosters dusted them on their home patch on Saturday afternoon.

Until the Titans work out a way to inject Jayden Campbell for more than token minutes once the game is lost, the results won't improve.

The Titans will host the in form Cowboys on Sunday afternoon. Even a win seems like too little too late at this point.

15. St George Illawarra Dragons (16)

The Dragons are back in the winner's circle after a solid, yet highly uninspiring, win over the Tigers on Thursday night.

Zac Lomax was utterly untouchable on the night and proved why he is so important to this side. Hurts to think where he and the Red V could have been should Griffin not seemingly have spent months planning his downfall.

The Dragons season is over but they've avoided the wooden spoon. Better days are ahead.

16. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (15)

The fact the Dogs fans felt happy with "only" losing 44-18 to Penrith shows exactly where this side is at.

Truthfully they probably were far better than many expected. Still, they were utterly wiped off the park in the first half.

I cannot believe the Dogs allowed Jake Averillo to walk away from the club. He has been their best player for two months now.

17. Wests Tigers (17)

The Tigers look consigned to a second straight wooden spoon following their 18-14 loss to the Dragons on Thursday night.

A double to Junior Tupou as well as a highlight reel try to Apisai Koroisau was not enough to fend off the Red V. Daine Laurie looked very much at home in the six but has signed away from the club.

This has been an unprecedented disaster of a season for the Tigers but they land the signings of Latu and Samuela Fainu. That is good news.