Round five continued to be an absolute tipster’s (and power rankings) nightmare.
The Dragons and Warriors remain undefeated, the Eels are yet to register a win, while the Tigers and Panthers are flying high.
Pre-season favourites the Storm, Cowboys and Sharks all registered losses.
1. Dragons (Last week: 1)
5-0. That is beautiful reading for those supporting the Red V after a hard fought victory over Rabbitohs on Friday Night. The Dragons weren’t at their destructive, attacking best but this is a great win in context. Their attack didn’t fire and yet they still won. To be honest, until the 70th minute it seemed like a pretty routine win for the competition and power ranking leaders. A host of Dragons players are having career best seasons and are right in the Origin mix.
2. Warriors (Last week: 2)
The other undefeated side after five rounds is everyone’s second favourite side, the Warriors. Their latest win came in the form of a 22-12 win over the highly fancied Cowboys in front of a sell out crowd. The Warriors wingers have grown extra legs this year on the back of brilliant ball movement and both scored yet again. It was great to see Simon Mannering return. Can we lock Blake Green in as the buy of the season yet? Amazing!!!
3. Tigers (Last week: 3)
Surely they couldn’t beat the Storm for the second time in a month. Surely they wouldn’t beat the Storm in a milestone match yet again. Sure did!!! This Tigers story is nothing short of incredible. They’ve now held the Storm to two tries across 160 minutes of football and will finish 2-0 unless they meet in the finals. That’s right, we’re now talking possible finals for the Tiges. Incredibly Josh Reynolds is set to return this weekend and cannot be promised a starting birth such is the level of performance thus far by both Benji Marshall and Luke Brooks.
4. Panthers (Last week: 4)
Penrith are now 4-1 and 2-0 sans their halfback Nathan Cleary. James Maloney had another good game and was perfect with the boot which proved to be the difference. Josh Mansour is looking back toward his menacing best. A try, a line break and over 180 running metres make for good reading for the Panthers weapon. Truthfully though it’s the Panthers’ big men who are laying a platform and setting up their creative players. Tyrone Peachey has done a good job in the six.
5. Titans (Last week: 9)
The people’s team, the Titans continue to defy the odds and beat much more fancied opponents. This time it was the Sea Eagles who fell to the Ash Taylor inspired Gold Coasters. Jai Arrow has been an absolute monster in 2018. He scored a double and generally gave the Sea Eagles pack a working over. Jarrod Wallace also found his way onto the score sheet. The Titans are one of the competition’s most entertaining sides right now.
6. Roosters (Last week: 11)
The Roosters sent a bit of a message on Friday evening with a big win over the Sharks in the Shire. Five tries to two ended the Sharks’ resurgence and sees the Roosters go to 3-2. Ryan Mattherson has been very good all season while Boyd Cordner has his best game of the year bending the Sharks’ line at will. Cooper Cronk and Luke Keary dictated the game with almost 100 more kicking metres than their opposites. Blake Ferguson gave Sosaia Feki nightmares.
7. Knights (Last week: 12)
The Knights recorded their most satisfying victory of the season over the Broncos on the weekend, and don’t the fans love it!? Mitchell Pearce had a day to remember with yet another good performance, but it was fellow recruit Kalyn Ponga who again stole the show. This kid is an absolute footballing genius and the sky is the limit. Lachlan Fitzgibbon continues to state a case for being the game’s most underrated player.
8. Sharks (Last week: 6)
Very lucky to remain in the power rankings’ top eight after a horror result at home to the Roosters. Despite making four line breaks to none in the first half, the Sharks trailed at the break. The Sharks led all the stats; metres made, line breaks, tackle breaks, post contact metres, but forgot how to play football in the opposition 20. Kyle Flanagan didn’t play overly well for the Jets and may have missed a golden opportunity in doing so.
9 Manly (Last week: 8)
Another team who should have slid further if not for results around them, the Sea Eagles were outplayed by the Titans in a big way. A late fightback looked possible but the result was really nothing more than what both teams deserved. Manly have taken over from the Warriors in terms of being the Jekyll and Hyde of the NRL. They’re back at Lottoland this Sunday and should have a fit Tommy Turbo in their ranks.
10. Storm (Last week: 5)
I fully admit I kind of forgot about the Storm in terms of rankings. They were an easy set in the top few and forget but over the past few weeks they have been dire. One try against the Tigers follows their tryless effort against the Sharks. Brodie Croft has been relegated to QLD cup to re-find form following a few below-par performances. Huge game against the Knights coming up.
11. Bunnies (Last week: 10)
The Bunnies almost shocked the NRL on Friday night by running down the red-hot Dragons. Ultimately they fell short but the final ten-or-so minutes will give the red and green faithful much encouragement. They made four line breaks and impressively kept the Dragons to just one. There are a few good signs. They really need to get more out of Gagai and Inglis though.
12. Broncos (Last week: 7)
The Broncos are reeling after the loss to the Knights. Despite a late surge the Broncs seem to have lost their ability to run sides down out of nowhere. Anthony Milford sprung to life in the second half and almost stole it for his side, but there just wasn’t enough around him. Wayne Bennett and Sam Thaiday made some ridiculous comments during the weekend. They need to focus on footy.
13. Raiders (Last week: 15)
The Raiders are on the board. They beat an out of sorts Dogs team on Thursday Night and should gain confidence from the win. Nick Cotric looked good at the back and has given Ricky Stuart something to think about moving forward. This was the Aidan Sezer show though and showed the Green Machine who their main man is moving forward.
14. Bulldogs (Last week: 13)
The Dogs’ disappointing start to the season continues after their loss in the capital. A late Josh Morris try probably got them closer than they deserved to be. Aaron Woods and David Klemmer worked hard but they need more support up front. It just isn’t happening for the Dogs outside backs apart from the odd highlight. Keiran Foran is really playing a lone hand as Dogs fans feared he might.
15. Cowboys (Last week: 14)
The Cowboys have now dropped four games in a row and I’m in complete shock. They look a shell of their 2017 selves and need to change it up quickly or risk fading away. Jason Taumalolo and Michael Morgan were the game’s two in-form players in September 2017 but just aren’t on the same level. You’d be silly to write them off but this is not where I thought they’d be after five rounds.
16. Eels (Last week: 16)
It’s hard to see where the first Eels win comes from this season after another bad day at the office against the Panthers. Their only try came when Josh Mansour and Dylan Edwards made a mess of a routine grubber kick. The halves are still struggling to get control of the game on the back of their forwards being badly beaten. Clint Gutherson’s return should provide a spark. They need it.