NRL Power Rankings

Strong return: Sonny Bill Williams starred in the big win over the Warriors in his comeback from injury.

Strong return: Sonny Bill Williams starred in the big win over the Warriors in his comeback from injury. Photo: Getty Images

For those who were left scratching their heads and looking for the nearest young person to translate the Gen-Y edition of the Power Rankings, this week's version has been produced in true old-man style. None of that young punk bulldust.

Back in the day, there was no need for any Power Rankings on a fancy internet. You just looked at the ladder in the paper to see who was in the top five.

And players had respect for the referee, and they didn't have tattoos and they all wore black boots with their socks pulled up and an onion tied to their belt, which was the style at the time.

Eastern Suburbs are looking bonzer as the season heads towards the semi-finals. Their win over the mob from KiwiLand last weekend, plus Manly-Warringah and South Sydney losing, means they are now the team to beat.

1. Easts (last week 3): He's not as good as Ron Coote but that Sonny Williams fellow is all class. Young coach Robinson has all the pieces back in place with hooker Jake Friend also making a strong return from injury. The premiers are looking good for a return to grand final day. It should be in the day, you know, none of this night-time or twilight grand finals. Three o'clock in the afternoon. Sydney Cricket Ground. That's how it was in the good old days.

2. Manly-Warringah (1): That young man Toovey who's coaching them gets a bit hot under the collar and he had every right after that loss to Parra last Fridee. It was just like that ad for Tooheys Draught, now that was a good beer, not your fancy stuff these days that have lemon in the neck of the bottle. Manly had the lead, the gap started to narra and then Parramatta ran away with it. How did ya feel, Toovs?

3. South Sydney (2): What are they doing playing out at Homebush? If they were playing at Redfern they wouldn't have lost to North Queensland. He's not as good as Bob McCarthy but that Burgess boy, Sam, is quite a goer. His blood's worth bottling.

4. North Queensland (6): That young fellow coaching them, Green, he's done a beaut job getting this team to realise its potential. They're seventh on the ladder but don't be surprised if they finish higher than that.

5. Melbourne (7): That young chap, Bellamy, has this team primed for the semi-finals. The impact from losing young second-row forward Ryan Hoffman to Auckland next year won't be as bad with youngsters like Tim Glasby and Jesse Bromwich joining Kevin Proctor as genuine stars of the future. Funny how there's a team from Melbourne in the comp, don't they play VFL down there?

6. Penrith (4): Young Cleary has done a splendid job convincing his team they can still make the semi-finals even though they've lost a few players to injury in the last few weeks. It looks like he'll have to convince them again after Monday's loss to Melbourne. 

7. Parramatta (8): That young lad, Hayne, he's so good he could have got a start in the 1980s Parramatta backline.

8. Canterbury-Bankstown (10): Strewth, he needs to get a haircut but that young fellow, Hasler, should be happy with the Berries' turnaround over the last couple of weeks. Their young halfback, Hodkinson, has been most serviceable, even though he seems to be putting his scrum feeds into the second row. The referees seem to be turning a blind eye to this tactic. If they're not careful it will become widespread.

9. St George Dragons and Illawarra Steelers (9): Good to see they've given a coaching contract to that young man who used to play inside-centre for them, I believe they call him Mary. A real gentleman, except if you are a player who's not doing his job, then he'll give you what-for. That's what some of these young fellows need. Perhaps a dose of national service too. That'll keep them on the straight and narrow.

10. Auckland (5): Did they believe their own press? That's a trap for young players. This team looked like it was heading to the semi-finals but that's no certainty now after their big loss to Easts. Their game against Penrith in the final round is the last match of the weekend on a Sundy night. Even if they beat the Gold Coast this weekend, the semis might be mathematically out of reach by the time their game against the Panthers rolls around.

11. Brisbane (11): What a fine win over Newcastle. Young Hodges becoming a fullback now. By my count, that makes 12 potential fullbacks at the Broncos next year. Fair dinkum.

12. Newcastle (12): Not good signs at Newcastle with the club having to tighten the purse strings. They'll be relying a lot on their local talent over the next couple of seasons with not many big signings on the radar.

13. Gold Coast (13): They are in rugby league purgatory, not within cooee of anything meaningful - there's little to play for and not even a wooden spoon to avoid. Their front-row forwards need to make a few more yards.

14. Canberra (16): If that young lad, Milford, wasn't playing at Cronulla last weekend, this team would have lost. Their opponents had the excuse of a lot of injuries - why were the Raiders fielding a NSW Cup standard line-up?

15. Balmain Tigers and Western Suburbs Magpies (15): In case they've forgotten, the board of this jumble of two clubs will have to make a decision on the head coaching position soon. The longer it drags out, the less likely it will be that they will reappoint that young man, Potter, who did a good job dragging this team up the ladder before injuries made their final-five campaign come a gutser.

16. Cronulla-Sutherland (14): When it comes to drama, the Sharks' season has to be one of the most turbulent on record since Glebe were booted out back in '29.