SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 04: Blake Ferguson of the Roosters celebrates scoring a try with team mates during the round 21 NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the North Queensland Cowboys at Allianz Stadium on August 4, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

1. Roosters (Last week: 3)

The Roosters are now THE form team of the competition and arguably premiership favourites. No Keary, no problems for the tri-colours as they recorded a six-point win over the emotion fueled Cowboys. Latrell Mitchell is an absolute monster in every aspect. Ryan Matterson filled in at six with plenty of skill. It’s a shame less than 10,000 turned up to watch this incredible occasion. It’s hard to see who can stop the Roosters in this current form. All their stars are firing.

2. Rabbitohs (2)

If the Roosters aren’t the premiership favourites then perhaps their cross-town rivals the Bunnies are. The five try to four win over the defending premiers Melbourne was exactly what the red and green doctor ordered. After an up and down few weeks the Bunnies now have genuine title aspirations. Damien Cook is the best player in the competition. It’s not even close any more. He outplayed Cameron Smith in a big way. If he continues to fire, the Bunnies can go all the way.

3. Storm (1)

It’s hardly panic stations for Craig Bellamy’s men but the 30-20 loss to the Bunnies has dragged the Storm back to the pack a little. Earlier in the week I did everything I could do to not write a ‘Storm will go back to back’ piece. It looked over. Fast forward a week and suddenly it’s not so cut and dry. That said, Cameron Munter, Billy Slater, Cam Smith .. they’re still there. I wouldn’t want to be the Sharks this weekend.

4. Panthers (7)

They’ve done it again. The Panthers have twice come back from huge deficits to posted two wins in two weeks. (deep breathe) Surely they’ll have to stop falling so far behind if they harbor genuine top four aspirations but there are some great signs. Tyrone Peachey has been a weapon at fullback.

5. Warriors (8)

The Warriors are back!!! Three tries in ten minutes while the Dragons were down to 12 was enough to put their title chances back on track. RTS has a highlight weekend in both attack and defense. To say he was the difference is an understatement. Solomone Kata returned after a horror weekend last weekend with a huge effort. He bathed Euan Aikten. The Warriors had to hang on late and made it tougher for themselves than it needed to be. Great win.

6. Broncos (4)

The Broncos had a monster opportunity to push their top four chances and blew it. That may sound harsh on the Dogs but the Broncs will be kicking themselves. Josh McGuire has a week to look at himself, I hope he takes it. That hair pulling act, at his size, is a horrible look. Anthony Milford was untouchable when the game was dead and buried. The less said about the effort of Corey Oates, the better.

SEE ALSO:  NRL teams that should look at signing Barba

7. Sharks (5)

The Sharks simply can’t beat Manly. I wrote to that affect during the week and not once during the game did I have the Sharks moving up on the rankings. Despite scoring some highlight reel tries the Sharks just can’t defend. Josh Dugan standing and watching Tommy Turbo catch the ball and score sums up the Sharks right now. They looked untouchable in attack at times yet dead set forgot how to tackle. Awful. Their top four chances are in ruins and they have only themselves to blame.

8. Tigers (7)

The Tigers did it. Their top 8 chances are still there. Although their chances of playing finals footy are low at best, they’re still alive. The 25-16 win was just what they needed. A few horror injuries had the Tigers on the back foot but they showed great heart to get the job done in front of a loud Knights crowd. Another week, they live on.

Wests Tigers during the round 21 NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and the Wests Tigers at McDonald Jones Stadium on August 3, 2018 in Newcastle, Australia.

9. Dragons (5)

Oh o. The Dragons have now lost four of their past five games. There’s plenty of joking across social media about how the Dragons always fade out late in the season. Right now there are plenty of Dragons fans trying to fake a smile and say everything is alright. Matt Dufty’s sin-binning was ultimately the difference as the Red V conceded three tries in that time. They had plenty of opportunities to win it late but couldn’t cross the line.

10. Titans (10)

The Titans can be the most entertaining side in the competition as they were in the second 40 against the Warriors. OR they can be a side who make you want to channel surf as they were this past weekend. They were never really in the game and fell to a huge loss to the last-placed Eels. I’m a huge fan of AJ Brimson. What a talent. Ash Taylor hasn’t been the same after his Origin snub. He needs a week away from the game.

11. Eels (13)

Here come the Eels. That may sound like a cop out but two weeks ago the Eels had the spoon ‘won’ by a length. Now it’s a genuine battle and the Eels look far more likely to win games than those around them. Jarryd Hayne is a different player since returning from injury. How good is King Gutho in full flight? Good to see Corey Norman have a big game after a tough week.

SEE ALSO:  Roosters provide injury update on Waerea-Hargreaves

12. Raiders (11)

Seriously… How often has the script played out over the year? Canberra play amazing footy, dominate, skip out to a huge lead then forget how to tackle? I have never seen a side fade out so often as this side. That ‘effort’ from Paulo for the match-sealing try was disgraceful. Rapana and BJ are the most dangerous men in the competition for the first 65 minutes. What could have been.

13. Bulldogs (15)

Bulldogs!!! What an amazing effort. The Dogs were absolutely wild on Thursday night and destroyed the Broncos and their top four chances. I love Rhyse Martin. No one in the game kicks the ball harder. The Dogs were off the leash on Thursday and played some amazing footy. If only this had happened three months ago. Loving the young halves pairing. Josh Jackson is a machine.

14. Knights (12)

The Knights had a far improved season but it was losses like this that sum up their season. A home game against a beatable opponent, the Knights were’t good enough. The Tigers lost some cattle during the game but still had enough. 2018 was a building season for the Knights and overall they can be very happy with their efforts. That said, finals footy likes a mile away.

15. Sea Eagles (16)

The Sea Eagles have done it again. Despite having nothing to play for Manly have beaten the Sharks. DCE shifted from his right to his left foot to slot the golden-point winning field goal in ridiculous fashion. They looked done numerous times only to break Sharks hearts AGAIN. Where was this effort last week? Manly fans are pretty frustrated right now following efforts like this.

16. Cowboys (13)

The Cowboys are in real danger of finishing last after their six-point loss to the Roosters. The Cowboys tried everything they could to deliver a win to their retiring halfback in his second last visit to Sydney but they could not get the job done. Jason Taumalolo’s try under the posts was down right ridiculous. No man in the world would have stopped him. I don’t understand the Cowboys ploy to take the two at every opportunity. Game management?