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NRL Power Rankings: Round 5

Date

Paul Suttor

On to a winner: Sam Burgess of the Rabbitohs.

On to a winner: Sam Burgess of the Rabbitohs. Photo: Getty Images

Week 5 is in the rear-view mirror and there's probably only four or five teams truly happy with their progress, while the majority are still yet to hit their straps and a couple of sides are nowhere near whey they thought they'd be.

And there is movement at the top - the 26-12 scoreline flattered Melbourne against the Wests Tigers on Monday night. The premiers looked flat and heading into this Saturday night's top-of-the-table blockbuster with South Sydney, it's the Rabbitohs who deserve favouritism.

Some clubs many experts had as finals certainties, particularly Canterbury and Cronulla, are starting to slide into dangerous territory while some of the dud sides from the early rounds - Hello, Canberra and St George Illawarra - showed they shouldn't be ruled out of the September equation.

1. Rabbitohs (last week 2): The good news for Souths fans is that's two near-misses in the first five rounds against struggling teams - Penrith and the Warriors - and they've managed to dodge those bullets. It's a concern but there's not much else to worry about around Redfern at the moment. They've lifted for big games this year against Canterbury and Cronulla and the challenges don't come any greater than this weekend's clash with Melbourne.

2. Storm (1): Melbourne were not lucky per se against the Tigers but they didn't deserve to win by 14 and if their opponents were better disciplined, the Storm would have tasted defeat for the first time this year. If they don't improve this Saturday against Souths, then they will rack up their first loss.

3. Sea Eagles (3): Say what you want about Manly but you can't fault their retention - do you think they regret not getting into a big-money bidding war to retain Tony Williams or Darcy Lussick? How have they been going this year?

4. Roosters (4): They go 210 minutes without conceding a point then let in four converted tries against the Raiders in the second half on Sunday night to lose by two. Hard to explain. Don't read too much into that hiccup. A few teams will come home from Canberra with their tail(feather)s between their legs this year.

5. Cowboys (9): At last, the real Cowboys stood up in Townsville last Saturday night and put the Panthers away. A step in the right direction but questions remain over their travel sickness and lack of consistency in 2013.

6. Knights (5): Danny Buderus is on his last legs as an NRL player, it happens to the best of them and even this champion hooker can't win one against the feed against Father Time. Kurt Gidley in the No.9 jersey last weekend may be a sign of permanent things to come.

7. Dragons (12): A few weeks ago they couldn't score, the fans were ready to revolt and supercoach Price was the short-priced favourite to be the first to be separated from his clipboard this season. There's still a long way to go but this team is capable of more than just upsetting the big boys.

8. Titans (6): Supercoach Cartwright is not the panicky type but fitness concerns over his first-choice halves Aidan Sezer and Albert Kelly could be very problematic. Hoss was wise not to release Jordan Rankin to the Dragons recently. He may need all the playmakers he can muster.

9. Broncos (10): Beating the in-form Titans was a massive confidence booster in many ways, most importantly as it proved - to the Brisbane players and the team's critics - they can win without Justin Hodges doing everything. You don't want your premiership hope resting on his notoriously tetchy hamstrings.

10. Bulldogs (8): They'll come good. You know they will and significantly, the players and supercoach Hasler know it will happen when their roster is healthy. But it won't be easy to finish in the top four and enjoy the inherent benefits after a 1-4 start to the season.

11. Raiders (14): As far as raw talent goes, supercoach Furner has some spectacularly gifted athletes at his disposal, like Sandor Earl, Edrick Lee, Reece Robinson and Sunday's debutant, Anthony Milford. Throw the returning Terry Campese into the mix and put Josh McCrone where he seems to excel, at hooker, and there's a recipe for success coming together in the national capital.

12. Sharks (7): The easy option for supercoach Flanagan would be to say the drugs spectre is having no effect on the players, they're just concentrating on their job, blah, blah and/or blah. However, he has admitted ASADA's investigation is distracting his team and by the time any punishments are dished out this season, Cronulla may already be out of the title hunt anyway.

13. Tigers (11): Supercoach Potter's men showed a lot of fight but conceding too many penalties gifted possession to Melbourne and they fell away as the demanding workload took its toll. Shifting Braith Anasta to halfback seemed to work sufficiently to stick with it at least in the short term.

14. Eels (16): The challenge for Parramatta now is to show Saturday's win over Cronulla was not simply a case of lifting on the night due to the combination of the match being a tribute to Johnny Mannah, the embarrassment of the 50-point thrashing the previous round and supercoach Stuart firing the side up for the clash with the club he left in acrimonious circumstances.

15. Warriors (15): It looks like it's going to be another one of those seasons in Auckland where the Warriors give a fright to a lot of the top teams or record the odd upset, but then fail to fire when they have a relatively easier assignment.

16. Panthers (13): Several teams will get smashed in Townsville this year and if you've ever seen supercoach Cleary's limited range of expressionless expressions, you'll know he won't be too concerned as he tries to rebuild Penrith into a premiership force.

 

6 comments so far

  • How can you put the Rabbitohs ahead of the Storm if both teams have struggled with their wins. The Storm were brilliant last night. A typical Sydney-centric article.

    Commenter
    Makesense
    Date and time
    April 09, 2013, 7:14AM
    • Hmmmmm..."Makesense"....I agree you with you100%!!!!! I made a similar comment last night, accused Paul Suttor of being biased...wsn't Sydney enough to be printed. I'll never log on to SMH again....shame shame shame!!!!!!!!!

      Commenter
      Angus
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      April 09, 2013, 11:18AM
    • Don't know Sydney centric but spot on with the comment. Two "near" misses by the Bunnies and a 14 point "lucky escape" by the Storm. To me that says they are on a different level than most, if not the rest of the comp if they can come out, play poor and win by two converted tries.

      Commenter
      Mike D
      Date and time
      April 09, 2013, 1:54PM
    • No, Tigers only played for 60 minutes. Manly will really test Melbourne on May 20.

      Commenter
      Niall
      Location
      Darwin
      Date and time
      April 09, 2013, 9:10PM
  • i didn't realise until now that every coach in the NRL is a 'supercoach'?

    Commenter
    Mantown
    Date and time
    April 09, 2013, 11:45AM
    • I'm a Souths supporter and long time member but this talking up of the bunnies is worrying me. The next month will tell us a lot about where we are at with games against Melbourne, Manly, Brisbane and North Queensland. I think we'll struggle

      Commenter
      Sean
      Location
      Umina
      Date and time
      April 09, 2013, 4:17PM

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