Round 3 Power Rankings: My Mountain of Rankings

Looking back at Round 2 has me a little woozy in places, though not having Knights’ fans predicting an undefeated season does make me a little happier.

A thrashing a day keeps the Knights fans at bay. A few sides produced some shockers this weekend which surprised me a little bit, though some sides fought through the Round Two blues to emerge victors and I must say I’m quite impressed with how a few teams are shaping up.

Right now there are only three teams who remain undefeated, will we lose one this week?

Are they playing quality football? Well, let’s find out.

#1 - King of the Hill - Melbourne Storm

The Storm made a quality Cowboys side look amateurish last weekend. It’s scary just how good they are. However, they have been getting a little lazy with their ball control. Luckily, the Storm have what no other team has in Cameron Smith, he will ensure the Storm are always winning the ruck and he won’t let the game get away from them. I’m not sure how serious Slaters injury is but it could be problematic.

Expectations for Round 3: If the Storm can limit the Doggies second phase play and take advantage of what I expect to be limited opportunities at the try-line they should come away with the win.

#2 Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles

Damn these blokes were good last week. They didn’t give a single care about the Knights performance from the week before, they just played football and it was exhilarating to watch. Some of the set plays they run are like watching a hot knife through butter. Their forwards will have a big test this week against the unit which is the Titans forward pack. How well drilled they are could be the difference in this match.

Expectations for Round 3: The Eagles will have to be on song to get past this strong Titans defence. It could come down to the wire if both defences are playing their best.

#3 South Sydney Rabbitohs

That last forty from the Bunnies was not good at all, and it pretty much lost them the number two spot on these rankings which I know means a lot to Mick Crocker and the boys. I expect they’ll bounce back pretty handily this week. Adam Reynolds is blowing my mind right now; the Bunnies have a real good shot at a dynasty with this bloke in the seven. The Bunnies welcome back Sammy Burgess this week and he will want to make up for lost time. Unlucky Panthers.

Expectations for Round 3: These blokes won’t be mucking around one bit, could be a long night for the Panthers if they show up and play like we know they can.

#4 North Queensland Cowboys

Coming up against what will likely be an angry Wayne Bennett is not a good thing. Scratch that, it is akin to trying to get your girlfriend to go to that Ribs Joint you love when she is dying to go to some lame expensive ass restaurant that is going to drain your wallet. Put simply, it’s not going to end well for you. Thankfully for the Cowboys they have an experienced God named JT in the halves and he will not go down so easily. This will be a quality game and I am intrigued to see how the Knights turn up after their beat down last weekend.

Expectations for Round 3: It really could go any way. Though I expect the Cowboys will try to get out to an early lead. The Knights are not nearly as good when they have to play catch up footy.

#5 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

The Bulldogs left edge attack has been awesome to start the year. Reynolds is starting to lead this team around the paddock and its making oppositions take notice. Josh Jackson has blown me away with his work rate and effectiveness. I still worry that they’re not piercing opposing defences even as close to as well as they did last season. They’ve clearly lost a step on that side of the ball and I don’t know if they can find it without Barba.

Expectations for Round 3: If they can force some errors out of Melbourne and not give up too many points they may just be able to gain the upper hand in this Grand Final rematch. The Storm have been a little off with their ball handling this season.

#6 Parramatta Eels

I don’t know how Chris Sandow rediscovered this awesome form but Eels fans love it and they have a lot to be excited about. They have been waiting a long time for the moment where they can win a game without having to rely on the Hayne Train or Plane or Drain or whatever it’s called nowadays. Either way I think the Eels have the experience up front to give it to the young Tigers forwards

Expectations for Round 3: If the Eels can earn repeat sets early on they should be able to tire out the Tigers forwards and hit them where it hurts. If the game goes to the edges it might get a little out of hand.

#7 Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks

I know the game against the Bunnies was a snooze-fest for the second half, but when you match it with the Bunnies you deserve some respect. As a reward for these impressive performances the Sharks have been blessed with a home game against the blissfully terrible Warriors. My only worry for the Sharks is that they haven’t scored many points yet. Can they keep teams to 10 points every game? Maybe not...

Expectations for Round 3: Score more than 30 points and starve the Warriors for points. Not sure how I can be any more blunt. If they lose then it is a long fall down the mountain for these men.

#8 Brisbane Broncos

They were in the game against Manly, beat the Dragons handily, how can I not show this side some love? I’ve tattooed a big “Dark Horse” label on this side and I think it’s going to be there for the long haul. If Hodges is out and they replace him with Gillett thinks might get a bit ugly, especially against the Roosters three quarters. Broncos fans everywhere are probably screaming for Hoffman to get the centre jersey, but we shall see how it goes. If they play Hodges and he gets a serious injury... they might just be screwed.

Expectations for Round 3: If Hodges plays, I expect a win, if he doesn’t I expect them to not get beat down. That’s pretty much it.

#9 Gold Coast Titans

This is such a likeable team but I can never take them seriously. They matched it with the Sharks, they blew the Raiders off the park, yet I still am not buying it. Manly is a big test for them. If they can match it with the best, they will be justly rewarded. Greg Bird is in amazing form right now, if he can get the rest of the side on his level there may not be a side that can stop them. That’s kind of a massive if though.

Expectations for Round 3: I expect them to go tit for tat with the boys from Brookvale. It’s a tough ask but I believe they can do it. Manly know how to get the ball to their outside backs so the Titans need to be prepared for that.

#10 Newcastle Knights

Novacastrians have 32 reasons to be laughed at this weekend. Seriously, when was the last time a Wayne Bennett coached team has been held to zero? Surely it would have to have been forever ago. Either way Bennett will get them back on track I expect. He’s got a pretty handy squad to play with if he can get them a handy number 9. They have zero threats up the middle and it makes them pretty easy to be found out.

Expectations for Round 3: They have the potential to give the Cowboys a run for the their money, but Gids must be at his scintillating best and the forwards need to be hammering like they’ve never hammered before.

#11 Penrith Panthers

What a difference one round of football can make. Or maybe the Raiders are so bad the Panthers looked god-like in comparison. Either way this wasn’t a completely horrible performance, but it was a step backwards for them because they really should have played better. Watching Segeyaro play his part the last two weeks has been awesome though, he provides actual direction to the Panthers attack (take note Dragons).

Expectations for Round 3: The Bunnies are a tough gig for any team, though they showed last week that they are human and miss tackles just like us mere mortals. If Penrith can get the second phase play cranking they just might be able to spring an upset.

#12 Wests Tigers

I wanted to have the Tigers a little bit higher but when I’m making rankings something’s got to give and as it stands these guys have one blowout to a side which got its asshole turned into an inside out fajita by Manly. Props to the Tigpies for getting their act together though, they looked somewhat decent but the 26 round road of the Premiership is a long one with many bumps. I hope the Tigers don’t think they’re over the speed bumps just yet.

Expectations for Round 3: The Eels have improved quite a bit under Sticky. The Tigers need to focus and keep Chris Sandow in check. He has been in impressive form of late and he could produce some bits of magic if given the chance.

#13 Sydney Roosters

Despite the win I’m still not convinced the Roosters are worthy of being on this list. Stupid mistakes and falling asleep when you’re up 16-0 really isn’t the kind of game you want to be playing. I kind of wanted the Roosters to lose just so they’d get fired up and start playing well but they won which means they’ll put in another half-arsed effort this weekend. The one good thing (kind of) is that Jennings is getting some quality ball. Watching him run is a beautiful sight.

Expectations for Round 3: I expect the Broncos to do a number on this mob; regardless of the result the chooks need to sort their shit out (don’t I say this every week?). Cut the stupid mistakes and brain explosions out of your game!

#14 Canberra Raiders

I knew the Raiders were struggling but that performance against the Titans last week was simply embarrassing. They just played woeful footy. You could put the blame on the off-field distractions but the Sharks are having a go and they might not have half their team in a few weeks time. The Canberra halves need to step up or these blokes are going to be below the Dragons on the ladder, maybe the Warriors too. Surely that’s enough motivation to get stuck in and win a game in front of your home crowd?

Expectations for Round 3: They really need to put a beat down on the Dragons and give their fans something to be excited about. Spread the ball around and have a bit of fun. Sam Williams needs to wake up and do something in attack else he will find himself in park footy soon enough.

#15 St. George Illawarra Dragons

The Saints have nothing going for them in attack. They’d have trouble finding the try-line even if it was painted fluoro orange and the other team didn’t turn up. It’s tough naming Fien as the sole cause of this lack of direction, but his form really isn’t helping anyone. Dragons’ fans everywhere are calling for Priceys head and surely he must be starting to doubt himself. Any way you look at it these blokes can’t attack to save their lives and until that improves they won’t be winning games.

Expectations for Round 3: If you thought things couldn’t get worst for the Dragons, they have. They face the Raiders in Canberra which is enough to make any Dragons fan shake in his/her boots. The only consolation is that the Raiders got whipped by the Titans last week and might actually be a bad team.

#16 - Why do you even turn up? - New Zealand Warriors

For all the crap I gave these blokes they actually stuck in last week to prevent what would have been an embarrassing loss to the Roosters. Instead it was just a regular loss – but there is a massive difference between the two! The result could have been a little different had they played well for more than 20 minutes but oh well at least it’s a start. That kid Godinet was bloody impressive.

Expectations for Round 3: Pretty much all I hope for the Warriors each week is that they don’t embarrass themselves.