With the first week of the finals producing some amazing results, we look at the finals power rankings. The formation has changed a little with rankings now based on premiership favouritsm.
The Tri-colours have rocketed into Premiership favouritsm after defeating the in-form Sharks on Saturday night. The 21-12 win earns them the week off and the chance to put their feet up and watch the Bunnies and Dragons belt each other senseless. The only negative was a charge to Latrell Mitchell who faces a week on the sidelines. Otherwise this was a good night for the Roosters. Cooper Cronk iced the game with a cool, calm and collected goal, something the Roosters have lacked in the Mitchell Pearce era. It’s hard to find a way that the Roosters fall away from here. They’re clear title favourites after this weekend. They await either the Bunnies or Dragons for a shot at the big dance.
If the Roosters aren’t premiership favourites, the Storm certainly are. They now have a week off to relax and watch the Sharks and Panthers belt each other into submission after their one-point win over the Bunnies. Cam Munster was the hero but tries to Suli Vunivalu and Cheyse Blair will dominate the highlight reels. That kick from Josh Addo Carr, phwoar. The Storm made hard work of it in front of their own fans against a brave Bunnies side but must now be almost unbackable favourites to bounce either the Sharks or Panthers. The fairy tale for Billy Slater is there to be had.
South Sydney were one-point away from a home prelim final after a 29-28 loss to the Storm in Melbourne. At times the Bunnies looked like title contenders while at other time they were left chasing shadows as the Storm outside backs ran rings around them. Sam Burgess had an absolute mare and will be frothing at the mouth to come out and belt the Dragons pack this Saturday night. Their route to the Grand Final just became a whole lot harder but they’re the best positioned of all of the other sides after the weekend. If a few things had gone their way they’d be resting up this week. Will be confident on Saturday.
What a difference two weeks can make. A fortnight ago you wouldn’t have given the Panthers any hope against any side in the NRL, yet they now enter their knock out semi against the Sharks as favourites. Truthfully I thought they were gone against the Warriors. They looked shell shocked but a James Maloney 40/20 changed everything. The 27-12 scoreline perhaps flatters the Panthers a little but truthfully in that second half they didn’t seem all that fazed. They eliminated Shaun Johnson from the contest and contained the Warriors big men well. They’re chomping at the bit to avenge two earlier season losses to the Sharks.
WOW!!! Hands up who saw that coming? Anyone with their hand up right now is a liar. That was insanity. The Dragons absolutely whacked the Broncos to the tune of 48-18. Tariq Sims was an absolute beast and as close to unstoppable as any player will be across this entire finals series. Jack de Belin and James Graham are in doubt for next week’s “trip” to ANZ Stadium, but the Dragons will be brimming with confidence. The best sides peak at the right end of the season and this was arguably the Dragons best performance all season. WOW!!!
The Sharks can consider themselves a little unlucky not to be resting up this weekend but ultimately have only themselves to blame. Three bombed tries saw the Roosters run over the top of the Shire side. The Sharks are now at huge odds to repeat their 2016 heroics on the back of news that Wade Graham is gone for the season. He was their ace, the difference maker, ad his presence made Matt Moylan FAR more dangerous. The betting agencies might have the Sharks the shorter priced team for Friday night but make no mistake, they’re the longest odds to win the title from here. They’re going to need a monster effort from here.