Round 8 - My Mountain of Rankings

After this weekend each team will be one third of the way through their epic 2013 schedule, unfortunately some teams are yet to realise the season has started. Taking a nap for the first bit of your NRL schedule has proven to be an ineffective way to notch up wins and make the finals. Parramatta take note, losing is not good.

#1 - King of the Hill - Melbourne Storm

These guys are at that point where they're just messing with their opposition. Poor Warriors, thinking they actually had a chance to beat the Storm. I kind of wanted to see the Warriors steal the win; just so that whoever faced the Storm in the weeks to come would face their true wrath, not just a team who is going through the motions week to week.

Expectations for Round 8: It's not hard to imagine why the Storm are just ‘going through the motions' when they play host to quality sides like the Canberra Raiders. It's annoying to see that they might be getting complacent but until a team puts them in their place it's how they will stay.

#2 South Sydney Rabbitohs

This was just a phenomenal game to experience as a fan of Rugby League, so I'm glad it was the only Friday night game on Free to Air TV. These teams just gave it to each other old school style and it was just so gritty. Whatever their coach said to them at the break was awesome because they came out and ran like they had a fire cracker stuck where it hurts. Their defence was amazing and they just really impressed me.

Expectations for Round 8: I expect Souths will be energised from their massive game against Manly and they'll be prepared to give Brisbane a good friendly smacking. Brisbane however are not the pushovers many expect them to be, they've shown in the past that they have quality defence when it matters and I'm sure it'll come in handy here.

#3 Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles

These bloody concentration lapses will be the death of this mob. They must have left their brains in the change room at half time because they had no idea what to do at the start of that second half. It was tough for Manly though, had they been taking on any other team in the competition (except the Storm) they probably would have won. They will be back and on the right track soon enough, they are still one hell of a footy team.

Expectations for Round 8: Manly are going to be angry from last week's game against the Bunnies. If there is one this you don't want, it's to have an angry team going up against you when that angry team plays very very very good football. The Dragons will very likely get blown away.

#4 Sydney Roosters

Alright I'll admit it, I'm drinking the Roosters Kool-Aid after last week's performance. I still don't think they are up there with the top three teams just yet, but they're bloody close and we'll be finding out just how up there they are in a few weeks when they take on the Storm and Manly. James Maloney has really come into his own at the Roosters; he's even over-shadowing his halves partner Mitchell Pearce on some occasions.

Expectations for Round 8: Penrith have been a bit of a bogey team for the Roosters for quite a while now. They always seem to be able to switch on and teach the Roosters a lesson or two, so everyone needs to be prepared for that possibility. The Roosters however have been playing very good football, so what pulls through? Scissors or Paper?

#5 Brisbane Broncos

Those two points shouldn't have been that difficult for the Broncos to get, but somehow they managed to keep the Tigers in the game and even gave them a little sniff towards the end there. It wasn't a very convincing game for me and I somewhat feel like the Broncos are starting to play down to the level of their opponents which is not what you want to see. They need to keep themselves focussed during their games and try to keep the foot on the pedal.

Expectations for Round 8: I expect the Broncos to give the Bunnies a real workout. No matter how well Souths play I believe that Brisbane has the defensive expertise to be able to contain them in what should be a low scoring affair. Of course I could be completely wrong and Souths will send them back to the middle ages.

#6 North Queensland Cowboys

They were taking on the Raiders away from home, if they didn't put them to the sword I would have ranted endlessly about what a horrible club they are, let's be thankful I don't have to do that. The Cowboys seem like they're starting to get a hang of things here and they could get themselves of a bit of a roll if they manage to stay focussed and injury free.

Expectations for Round 8: I haven't made up my mind about the Cowboys yet so at the moment I'm still under the impression that they could lose to the Eels this weekend if they don't have the correct mindset for the game. They need to keep their foot on the pedal when they're leading at half time or they'll get run down.

#7 Newcastle Knights

The Knights played pretty well on the weekend and managed to notch up their first win of the season away from home, but the win was made quite a bit easier when the Titans lose three of their players to injury. The Knights can't rely on that sort of stuff to help them out each and every week; they need to be able to make the plays that are required of them on a regular basis. But I give them the benefit of the doubt this week.

Expectations for Round 8: There is a little bit of expectation on the Knights this weekend to bash the life out of the Sharks. The Sharks are reeling and are in some disgraceful form, if the Knights can't beat them at home than many questions will have to be asked of Newcastle.

#8 Gold Coast Titans

Much like the Tigers, the Titans have the unfortunate privilege of looking at their injury report and having to see a host of quality players missing. It's easy to make the excuse that it's hard to win a game with only 14 men but it's wasn't really close to an even contest. It's going to be hard to play consistent football when you're playing with a different bunch of blokes every weekend.

Expectations for Round 8: The Titans have to be very careful this weekend or they'll lose what should have been a gimme two points. Injuries can be tough but you have to work through them, the Titans need to work together and be disciplined this weekend. They need to make sure that they don't lose this game.

#9 Penrith Panthers

I'm not sure if that was as convincing a win as it should have been. Not on a scoreboard level, on an “how do I feel about the Panthers” level. It's not the Panthers fault really, it's just the Eels are really bad and I'd only get worried If a team didn't beat the living daylights out of them. But that's how bad Parra are, they have no daylights left inside them to be beaten. Back to the Panthers, they're okay, this week's game should tell us a lot about both sides.

Expectations for Round 8: These Panthers will be feeling good about themselves heading into what could be a blockbuster match against the Sydney Roosters, however these Chooks have been on a pretty solid run themselves. Honestly it could go either way, I actually have no idea. Roosters have been letting in a few tries from kicks this season, Penrith seem to be good at that.

#10 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

It wasn't an Earth shattering win which caused countrymen to cheer from the streets or anything like that, but it was enough to prove that the Doggies aren't completely useless and it took some weight off the shoulders of some of the Doggies hopeful. The win was encouraging, but they've still got a massive list of things they need to work on ahead of their upcoming games. Not every team will be as rubbish as the Sharks.

Expectations for Round 8: This looks like it could be a pretty ugly game to watch, especially if it's wet weather footy. Doggies diehards will still be there however. I think everyone's intrigued to see how Miller and Sironen combine in the halves for the Tigers, and how they match up against Reynolds and Hodkinson. It could go either way but i'm somewhat expecting a Doggies win.

#11 St. George Illawarra Dragons

The Dragons didn't really turn up for their annual ANZAC Day match against the Chooks once again their inability to score points just killed any chance they had of winning the game, as they were only able to muster two tries (both from kicks). They just couldn't keep up with everything the Roosters had going on. If they grab Josh Dugan that might provide them with something sexy in attack but they've got a long way to go.

Expectations for Round 8: The Dragons spirits looked down after last week, and they're about to get even lower as the Sea Eagles come to town and dig up a storm. These Sea Eagles are nothing to mess around with and I expect they will just completely dominate the Dragons, I can't see anything else happening.

#12 Wests Tigers

These guys just can't catch a break on the injury front, with Tigers halves (and a few other positions too) dropping like flies. It's not a good way to go through a season. Despite this they were still very much in the game until the final few minutes. They've got a good crop of tight-knit players, and I really like this youngster Curtis Sironen. If they can somehow hold off this injury plague they might just be able to knock over a few teams.

Expectations for Round 8: Another new halves combination for the Tigers and hopefully this one lasts them till Benji comes back. The young pair of halves could be the sole reason the Tigers win/lose on Friday night. If Sironen is on song and the forwards lay a solid foundation for him to build off I can see the Tigers actually being in with a chance.

#13 Canberra Raiders

The Raiders showed a few flashes of excitement and flair but in the end they just don't have the hunger to win games when they're away from home which is a major buzzkill for all the Raiders fans out there who want to see their team succeed. On the plus side, they've got Campo back, so hopefully he'll be able to stay injury free and regain some form from the days where he was a Canberra stud.

Expectations for Round 8: I don't think I've said this yet this season, but there is no way in hell that Canberra is even thinking about winning this game. First of all, they've got to beat Melbourne, which is hard enough already. Secondly they've got to do it away from home. They never win away from home. They are going to be at extremely long odds to take out this one.

#14 New Zealand Warriors


It's hard leaving the Warriors down the bottom here when they're playing so much better than a lot of the teams above them. The key difference is that the Warriors just don't know how to win. You can play as well as you want but if you can't win then it's all for naught. They just need to take that extra step and they will moving up the mountain.

Expectations for Round 8: This is where the Warriors get their second win of the season. The Titans are stacked with injury, and they have to take a flight to New Zealand to play footy. When mixed together that means bad news for any team. The Warriors won't be handed the win though, they'll have to work for it big time.

#15 Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks

Things are just going from bad to worse for the Sharkies hopeful. On and off the field nothing is looking close to promising. Carney tried his guts out but he had no one helping him out for the entire game. I don't know if there is a way back for these guys, they just look like all the hope in their camp is lost. It's not a pretty sight at all. The Sharks are the epitome of the term “missed opportunity” right now.

Expectations for Round 8: Taking on the Knights at home is no easy task. Taking on the Knights at home when you're playing completely rubbish football is even harder, so they'll have to be creative in attack and disciplined with the ball in hand.. Though I expect it will be a long night for the Shire boys.

#16 - Why do you even turn up? - Parramatta Eels


I don't know how many different ways I can say that this team is atrocious. But I've got to do it for 18 more rounds of footy so you better get used to it. Ricky Stuart didn't know what he was getting himself into, these guys made Penrith look like world beaters, how is that even possible? Parra fans are in the midst of a very very very long year and it's only going to get longer (that's what she said).

Expectations for Round 8: Parramatta got embarrassed last week, so I have a feeling that they might get shocked into putting on a good performance at home this weekend against the Cowboys. It's not in the realm of impossible; it's just super duper unlikely. But stranger things have happened.