Round 23 largely separated the contenders from the pretenders. Although not official, I believe it ended the seasons of the Titans and Sea Eagles while making it very difficult for Souths and the Cowboys.

This past weekend saw the Sharks finally defeat a genuine top eight side, while Penrith continue to lay their claim as the best team of the modern era.

With a month of footy to go until finals, where does your team sit in our Power Rankings?:

1. Penrith Panthers (Last Week: 1)

I've said elsewhere that the Storm were missing some serious players and I wouldn't look too much into this result. Make no mistake, Penrith absolutely bashed them from pillar to post.

Nathan Cleary is finding his top form once again now that he's found his rhythm. They lost their back up to their star centre, to be replaced by a back rower in Zac Hosking who played brilliantly.

There are no weaknesses in this side and I maintain only Penrith putting in an all time stinker can stop them from winning yet another title.

2. Brisbane Broncos (2)

The Broncos rolled into Townsville to play an in form Cowboys side without their star halfback and leader in Adam Reynolds. Last season they would have lost this game.

Payne Haas and try-scoring freak Patrick Carrigan lead the way and bossed the Cowboys pack. Ezra Mam stood up and the absence of his halves partner. Herbie Farnworth is in ridiculous form.

This Broncos side is a different beast to the side who fell away late last year. This Minor Premiership race is going to go down to the wire.

3. New Zealand Warriors (3)

This probably wasn't the highest flying of Warriors we've seen in 2023 but they never really looked like they wouldn't win this game.

Shaun Johnson was ... I'm honestly running out of words to describe how well he is playing. That Dally M is looking at shorter and shorter odds with every passing week.

The Warriors return home to New Zealand where they play an "away" game against the Tigers. A win makes it almost certain they'll host at least one Final. Wow!

4. Newcastle Knights (7)

Despite a late scare, the Knights managed to record their fifth win in a row over the Dolphins. Outside of the big three, they're the form team of the comp.

I've said it for four weeks straight now; Kalyn Ponga is the form player of the competition. Dominic Young could lay claim to being the best winger in the game.

A month ago the Knights were no chance of playing Finals footy. With a string of home games coming up, they're now in pole position to lock down a position.

5. Melbourne Storm (4)

As mentioned above, the Storm were missing some huge talents. The biggest out being their in form halfback Jahrome Hughes. I'm not looking too much into this result.

That said, the Storm are too "win, loss, win, loss" to be a sure thing to finish in the top four. History suggests the NRL cannot be won from outside those top four.

Truthfully there weren't very many highlights on the night for Melbourne. Their biggest moment came up north in the form of a return to the game for Ryan Papenhuyzen.

6. Canberra Raiders (8)

I don't think it's unfair to suggest that the Raiders rode their luck to yet another unimpressive win. The key point of that statement being "win". They continue to find a way.

Jack Wighton, a moment of madness aside, was brilliant. He was the difference. Sebastian Kris scored one of the all time great solo tries being leaving the ground.

Canberra can beat most sides ... 1-12. Can they lift and beat the big guns come finals time? I have my doubts.

7. North Queensland Cowboys (5)

The Cowboys missed out on a brilliant opportunity when the Broncos arrives in town sans their halfback in Adam Reynolds.

Unfortunately the home side just couldn't get it done and now face an uphill battle to book a Finals spot in 2023. That said, they have more than enough talent.

With the bye this weekend, they bank a super valuable two points and also enjoy the chance to rest up and right the wrongs of this loss.

8. Cronulla Sharks (13)

Truthfully I've probably been a little hard on the Sharks as of late. That said, whilst they were unable to beat a genuine top eight side, it was hard to take them seriously.

A breathtaking 60 minutes of football saw them run out to a 26-0 lead over title heavyweights South Sydney. They did fall away late but should be very happy with their nights work.

The win not only keeps them in the running for the eight, but it shows they can beat good sides. Braydon Trindall was brilliant, while Sione Katoa and Mawene Hiroti were near flawless on both sides of the ball.

9. Parramatta Eels (10)

The Eels comeback win over the Dragons kept their Finals hopes aside. They also offered nothing to convince me that they can overcome the toughest run in.

Junior Paulo did play his best game in many weeks. Dylan Brown returned to the field also. It wasn't all bad. As I said, they won this game which is what all will be remembered.

Unfortunately it will count for very little should they not overcome the Broncos juggernaut on Friday night. A tough ask but they have the players to do it.

10. South Sydney Rabbitohs (6)

The Bunnies were presented with an opportunity to really establish footing in the top eight against an under par Sharks outfit who suffered some late outs.

Instead of delivering the expected victory, they're licking their wounds on the long flight back from Perth. They were fairly ordinary for 65 minutes if I'm being blunt.

If Cronulla didn't tire late, allowing the Bunnies a late flourish, this could have been way worse. That said, they were two drop balls away from overturning a 26-0 scoreline. They're still in this ... to a point.

11. Sydney Roosters (14)

Did the Roosters send a reminder to the rest of the competition on Thursday night? Probably not. Did they keep their chances of another Finals finish alive? Maybe.

The Roosters poor points differential is what may cost them in the end but they have the talent to sweep the next four games and largely turn that around.

I'm not willing to count out a team hosting names such as Tedesco, Manu and Keary out just yet. They host the Dolphins this weekend and really should bank a big win. From there, who knows?

12. Manly Sea Eagles (9)

Manly's tough climb to Finals footy just became a mountain. Not only does the loss dent their slim chances but they lost yet another middle forward.

Truthfully Manly haven't been good enough but my word have big injuries struck them at the worst of times.

Manly must win their Round 24 game to be any chance of playing in the second weekend in September. Not to worry, they're at home ... against the Panthers.

13. Gold Coast Titans (11)

With their loss to the Warriors on Friday night, the Titans very faint hopes of Finals footy ended. They haven't deserved it for a long time.

Jayden Campbell being one of the best attacking players in the game annoys me greatly. How they held him back for so long must drive Titans fans round the bend.

Despite a long list of marquee players, the Titans just haven't lived up to hopes this season. They can play spoiler on Friday evening by beating the Sharks.

14. The Dolphins (12)

The Dolphins faint Finals hopes were put to rest on the back of a second straight heartbreaking loss. If this game went another five minutes they probably win.

Jamayne Isaako continues his ridiculous season with a first half hatty. This is one of the all time great, individual bounce-back seasons.

Despite the difficult run of results, the Phins have done themselves proud. They welcome an all star centre pairing next year and an Origin middle. Watch out.

15. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (15)

Results went the Dogs way at one end of the table this weekend bit they're officially out of the Finals race. I'd say they're as close to avoiding the spoon as possible before it becomes official though.

They face a difficult trip up the highway on Sunday afternoon as they hope to end the run of the red hot Knights. Good luck Doggies.

16. St George Illawarra Dragons (16)

It's a tough old afternoon for the Dragons when Sharks fans feel for them. I cannot believe that Clint Gutherson strip was not given. The result may have been very different.

Again though, it has to be said that the Dragons had their chances. They lead and couldn't hold on. It shouldn't come down to a decision. Mikaele Ravalawa crossed for four tries. Brilliant!

The Dragons only goal left is to avoid the wooden spoon. Not what fans want to hear but it's been about 2023 for about two months now.

17. Wests Tigers (17)

Oh how different the Tigers season could have been if they were on the right end of a series of decisions.

This was a tough loss to stomach for a super spirited Wests side who I believe did enough to win this game. They were hard done by and not good enough to overcome those odds.

Given the signings they've made over the past few weeks, combined with the unearthing of Jahream Bula, there's nowhere but up from here.