Round 22 saw the finals hopes of both the Knights and Sea Eagles rise in a big way. Almost identical to the way the Sharks and Eels chances took a huge shot.

We also saw the return to winning ways of two competition heavyweights in the Bunnies and Storm. Meanwhile the Dogs managed a win despite almost throwing it away.

With all eyes on the race for finals spots, we take a break and look at where your team sits on the Power Rankings following a brilliant Round 22 of NRL action:

1. Penrith Panthers (Last Week: 1)

The Panther juggernaut continues to roll on. The ease in which they rolled the Sharks to the tune of 28 points to nil was utterly ridiculous.

The scary thing is that they never really got out of first or second gear on the night either. Jarome Luai arguably had his best game in months in saying that.

There will be tougher challenges ahead for the Panthers but let's be honest, they now look odds on to defy history.

2. Brisbane Broncos (2)

The Broncos made easy work of a potentially very difficult game on Thursday night. They proved to be in a different class then the previously touted Roosters.

Patrick Carrigan celebrated his first NRL try with an arguable best on ground effort. Ezra Mam is the one player I would put up as against him. Both were head and shoulders above the rest.

There is so much to like about this Broncos outfit which suddenly looked a world apart from their 2022 counterparts.

3. New Zealand Warriors (3)

The Warriors enjoyed a week off and should be fully refreshed to relaunch their Finals charge.

With a favourable draw, due to having done the hard work earlier, and plenty of players in top form, there doesn't seem to be any stopping the Warriors top four aspirations from here.

4. Melbourne Storm (5)

The Storm bounced back in a big way in defeating the Eels. With the win came a reminder of just what this Storm outfit can achieve.

All the stars were huge on the night. Grant, Munster and Hughes were three of the four best players on field, with Josh King the fourth.

I still maintain that the Storm are the biggest threat to Penrith's journey to a third straight title. They have the best big game players outside of the Penrith squad.

5. North Queensland Cowboys (4)

The Cowboys faced a dose of reality on Sunday afternoon. Coming in on a huge win streak, the Cowboys were brought back to earth by a better Titans side.

Valentine Holmes was sinbinned for the second time in two weeks for an almost identical tackle gone wrong. He looks set for an enforced holiday.

It doesn't get any easier for them from here with the Broncos in town this Saturday afternoon.

6. South Sydney Rabbitohs (7)

Are the Bunnies back? Well a win over the Tigers shouldn't excite too many but Latrell Mitchell's return saw the Bunnies return to winning ways. There's that.

Isaiah Tass and Alex Johnston were unstoppable out wide. The latter scored yet another hattrick of tries.

The sixth placed Bunnies head to Perth to play the seventh placed Sharks this weekend. A win almost certainly locks in a Finals birth.

7. Newcastle Knights (9)

The Knights continued their incredible run of form by heading to the nation's capital and tearing the Raiders to shreds. The 28-6 win was every bit as dominant as it looks.

Kalyn Ponga is the form player of the competition right now. Double underline this statement! Greg Marzhew and Dominic Young are the in form wingers in the game also.

A month ago Newcastle looked gone. They now travel to Perth to play the Dolphins in what remains a must win game. A win and they have their Finals hopes in their own hands.

8. Canberra Raiders (6)

The Raiders were comprehensively outplayed by the visiting Knights on Saturday. There's really not much more too it.

Of the six best players on the field, the Raiders couldn't honestly put an argument forward for having any of them. Jordan Rapana's try was a good one but ultimately counted for little.

They face a must win game this Sunday against the Tigers. If they can't record a win in the 13+ category, their season is done for mine.

9. Manly Sea Eagles (10)

The Sea Eagles rode their luck to secure a victory their kept their Finals hopes alive.

Jason Saab has one of the games of his career. He seems to find a yard of pace when he's confident. Fair to say his confidence is high right now.

Manly have a short trip ahead of them on Thursday night. They play the out of sorts Roosters in a must win game.

10. Parramatta Eels (9)

The mountain that stood in front of the Eels in terms of Finals footy just got a whole lot larger. The Storm thumped them and all but ended their season.

Sean Russell's early try, within the opening five minutes, started the night of well but it was all down from there.

The Eels have their easiest fixture this weekend against the Dragons. A loss and it's over.

11. Gold Coast Titans (14)

The Titans season is off life support and now fans can be forgiven for having just a little look ahead.

Although their recent form has been less than stellar, on paper the Titans have a better shot at making Finals than the likes of the Sharks and Eels.

It is no coincidence that the Titans best footy came when Jayden Campbell was on the field. I feel like I say it every week.

12. The Dolphins (11)

The Dolphins almost stole it late on Sunday afternoon but ultimately the loss sees their season end.

Anthony Milford had a monster performance upon being called upon. How was Wayne Bennett's hooking his young half? There aren't many coaches who would have been brave enough.

Valynce Te Whare continued his rise to cult status. What an individual try he scored.

13. Cronulla Sharks (12)

The Sharks are shot. Truthfully I can find another four letter word beginning with S to better describe them right now.

Cameron McInnes put in a herculean effort with a record 81 tackles. Sharks fans will wish that other players were able to put in the effort of their number 13.

The Sharks remain in the eight only due to results falling their way. That won't keep happening. A loss to the Bunnies and it looks curtains for the black, white and blue.

14. Sydney Roosters (13)

The Roosters are cooked. Get it? Cause they've had a terrible season and barely turned up for a must win clash against Brisbane.

Daniel Tupou's record setting try was the only highlight for the tri-colours.

What an awful season by the pre-season second favourites. Not much more to say.

15. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (16)

Despite their best efforts to throw it away late, the Doggies have their win. A late missed conversion saw them hold on for a crowd pleasing victory.

You have to wonder how different the season would have been should Viliame Kikau have avoided injury. He looked brilliant upon his return and crossed for a try.

The Dogs are 2-0 when Toby Sexton has played the full 80 minutes. There's a stat for you.

16. St George Illawarra Dragons (15)

I don't say this often but I almost feel for the Dragons. Despite the Bunker confirming a Dragons player grounded the ball in the in goal, they were denied a try.

That said, they had enough chances to overcome that horror decision to win this game late on.

Zac Lomax been been breathing fire in the past month-or-so. He is the Dragons most important player, outside of their captain and halfback of course, and looks set for a monster 2024.

17. Wests Tigers (17)

Let's be real here, 2023 is over for the Tigers. It has been for ten plus weeks. They were brave on Friday evening.

Apisai Koroisau continues to shine. His season has defied his teams horror of results. Charlie Staines had his moments on his return to the top grade.

It's all about forming combinations and getting minutes in legs for the future now. I'd absolutely not be bringing Luke Brooks back if there is anyone else available.


Comments are closed.