Round 4 - My Mountain of Rankings

The competition proves as hard to decipher as ever. Surely no team ‘plans' to not score a single point in a game but they damn sure do a top job of proving to be inept when handed attacking opportunities on a silver platter. But enough of that, let's get down to analysing and criticising each team with a fine toothed comb!


#1 - King of the Hill - Melbourne Storm

Continuing to be the benchmark of the competition must be tough for the Storm, but someone's got to do the job. Refereeing blunders and controversy aside, these guys went through a lot to get that win last weekend, and they'll be all the better for it. Cooper Cronk just continues to blow me away week after week; I don't even know how the Storm will play without him when Rep season comes around.

Expectations for Round 4: Sadly for the Storm it looks like Justin Hodges might actually be playing for the Broncos this week, which means they will actually be scoring points. I still expect the Storm to beat the Broncos pretty handily though, unless the Broncos have been hiding some awesome plays away just for this game.

#2 South Sydney Rabbitohs

This is a team that knows how to score a butt-load of points. Although I'll admit I was watching the game secretly hoping for Panthers to pull off the unthinkable. To their credit though, they held on in tough conditions and managed to put the game to bed like all good teams should. Their defence in many parts of that game left a lot to be desired, however if they can score 44 points every game they don't really need to worry about it.

Expectations for Round 4: The Bulldogs have shown in recent weeks that they're a tough team to take down. If these Bunnies think they can fall asleep on the Dogs and not get put to the sword they may be in for a rude awakening.

#3 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

The Dogs matched it with the best last weekend in what was a fantastic game marred by one tiny foot-to-the-face shaped incident. Though they put in a brave performance part of it was the Storm taking their foot off the pedal and falling asleep (which is very un-storm-like). With Barba hopefully coming back things can only get better for the Bulldogs. They are a very well drilled side.

Expectations for Round 4: The game against Souths is going to be a cracker and I hope it lives up to my almighty expectations. I expect the game will be won in the forwards and I think as it stands, Souths have the upper hand in that respect.

#4 Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks

The Sharks were clinical in last week's performance; wearing the Warriors down and playing patient football. Having nearly 60% of possession for the game helped a whole lot too. Though when you're taking on the Warriors there isn't a whole lot you need to do to get on the board. I guess the Sharks will just be glad to have Coach Shane Flanagan back at the helm following two weeks of emotional football.

Expectations for Round 4: Taking on the Warriors and the Dragons back to back is a great way to boost your four and against heading into what could be an excruciating Representative season for the Sharks. They really need to find that extra gear with the ball and show their fans what they have to look forward to down the road.

#5 Gold Coast Titans

These guys deserve some love. Even though it wasn't at fortress Brookvale, they still stuck it to the Eagles and came out the other end of it with a win. They've got experienced forwards laying the platform for their exciting halves and it's just so enjoyable to watch. They remind me of how Manly were not too many years ago, quality forwards, young halves. It's a formula that seems to deliver impeccable results and the Titans are hoping it does!

Expectations for Round 4: Penrith are a bit of a wildcard so I'm not sure how this game will turn out. But if the Titans keep doing what they do then the sky is the limit.

#6 Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles

Had this game been at Brooky then maybe it would have gone the other way, Manly did everything they needed to do, they even scored more tries then their opponents but it just wasn't their day. They will learn from their mistakes though and they will be back to their winning ways soon enough I expect. Watching Jamie Lyon play last weekend was a bit uncomfortable to say the least. He's a tough cookie though and he will be back bigger and better this weekend.

Expectations for Round 4: I'm expecting these boys will turn up to play and turn things up a notch on Thursday night. This is all providing that Daly Cherry-Evans can get over his heart-breaking goal-line dropout attempt which sailed over the sideline in an embarrassing fashion.

#7 North Queensland Cowboys

What the heck happened to these boys? They just didn't turn up at all and the Knights had a field day! They were completely off the pace for pretty much the entire game and I have no idea why. They looked like a bunch of blokes who had never played footy together, they channelled their inner Roosters and dropped the ball at every opportunity. They're going to need to forget about that performance and start fresh this week.

Expectations for Round 4: A perfect way to get back on track is against the Warriors! All they need to do is get the simple things right and get good field position and they should win by 30-odd.

#8 Newcastle Knights

With Gids out I thought these blokes didn't have a chance in the world, but the Knights proved everyone wrong and came out and just took the place by storm. Everything turned to gold for replacement half Tyrone Roberts and the Knights looked like team from Round 1. There was also a welcome return to Danny Buderus on Monday night. The Knights needed a decent hooker and having Danny back will do wonders for them around the middle of the field.

Expectations for Round 4: Taking on Canberra at home shouldn't be too much trouble for an uplifted Knights squad. All they really need to do is pick up where they left off and Canberra should make enough mistakes for the Knights to take advantage of.

#9 Wests Tigers

Geez these guys were on fire last week. It's almost as if they were channelling their inner 2005. Since their embarrassing performance in round one these guys have done nothing but play quality football. Their completion percentage from last week was nearly perfect and if they can keep playing this mistake free footy they might just make things interesting at the business end of the competition.

Expectations for Round 4: Manly are going to be a bit cranky after last week's loss, so they're not going to play friendly footy. The Tigers will have to wear Manly down with repeat sets or outstanding second phase play.

#10 Sydney Roosters

They Roosters played well, though they probably should have won by a little bit more. Their defence was awesome, but the Broncos never really threatened their line to the extent that the Rabbitohs did in Round 1. They have improved on last season quite a bit, but they're still finding themselves in attack and it will take time for all those things to click into place. In other news, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves is playing the house down! He is doing everything he can to make sure he get's that ‘C' next to his name for next season.

Expectations for Round 4: The Eels aren't the most threatening team in the competition, though they have the potential to do anything and everything. Who knows what next week could bring, all I know is that the Roosters need to send all of their forwards at Chris Sandow.

#11 Canberra Raiders

Damn these Raiders play well at home. They looked like a completely new and improved team on the weekend which was a welcome change from the horrible performance they put on the two weeks prior. I'm not sure if I've said it before but Reece Robinson is making Josh Dugan's jersey his own. He has been simply amazing at the back for the Raiders. They proved against the Dragons that when they keep the ball and get repeat sets they are a decent Footy team.

Expectations for Round 4: Playing away from home will be tough for the Raiders; I wouldn't back them solely on that reason alone. They just need to get their heads right and have a dig, even if the game is on the road.

#12 Brisbane Broncos

As entertaining as it was to watch James Maloney beat the Broncos, it really felt more like I was watching the Broncos not show anything in attack for 80 minutes. Without Hodges these guys were as boring as the Dragons. I'm not even joking, they had 54% of possession and they couldn't score a single point! In more positive news they held the Roosters to eight points, though that's really stretching for positives.

Expectations for Round 4: Unfortunately it doesn't get any easier for the Broncos as they get a visit from their friends from the South. The Broncos are by no means a bad team, but they're going to have to find some attack fast if they want to have any chance of beating a top tier side like the Storm.

#13 Parramatta Eels

Watching Chris Sandow get put on his backside twice in the opening stages of the Tigers game was hilarious to most, but Eels fans would have been drinking the pain away as it seems that the quickest way to lay points on against the Eels is by going straight through the number 7. The team did show flashes of brilliance throughout the game but they'll need to play more consistently if they want to get anywhere in this competition.

Expectations for Round 4: The Roosters defence came out to play last week and kept a broken Broncos offense to nil. The Eels may need to take a leaf out of the Bunnies book if they want to get anywhere this weekend. Also, giving Sandow some help on defence may help a tinsy bit.

#14 Penrith Panthers

I can never get it right with this mob. One moment I think they're finally going to shake up the competition, play some quality football and cause some upsets. The next moment they're leaking 34 points in the first half! It's hard to play catch up footy when you're down that much, but credit to the boys for nearly pulling it off. These guys need to play confidant footy and they need to back themselves and take a few more chances. Penrith needs a bit of excitement to come their way I think.

Expectations for Round 4: Facing an in form Titans team is the perfect way for the Panthers to get themselves going on a winning run up the ladder. They're playing at home so they don't need to worry about any Queensland voodoo magic affecting them, all they need to do is play mistake free footy and take their chances when they come.

#15 St. George Illawarra Dragons

The Canberra hoodoo continues. But it's not just that which has me baffled. Two weeks ago the Raiders played probably the worst game in the history of their Club, and then they came out and looked like seasoned professionals against the Dragons. The Dragons made them look like that; the Dragons make bad teams play better. What has happened to this team? Right now the only team I can see the Dragons not getting thrashed by is the Warriors, and that's saying something.

Expectations for Round 4: Having to take on Cronulla in Cronulla? That is harsh. Who drew the Dragons draw up and made them play back to back games in Canberra and Cronulla? Damn these Dragons can't catch a break. Here's a four leaf clover Steve Price, you're going to need it.

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

It's getting to the point where I'm just feeling sorry for the Warriors. They haven't scored a single point in any of their first halves this season. How can they expect to win games when they're always playing from behind? They need to find something else in attack or they're going to be set on a very bad path. Coach Elliot needs to stop making excuses and start finding answers to the Warriors multitude of problems or he won't have a job for much longer. It is one of the sad truths of Rugby League.

Expectations for Round 4: If they could score a point during the first half that would be a start. It would also be nice if they didn't completely embarrass themselves in front of their home crowd. Ah who am I kidding, the Cowboys are going to be fuming after last week's effort and they're going to run up a score on this mob.