2 days ago
NRL Power Rankings - 2018 Round 1
Check out how we rate your team after one round of the 2018 NRL Telstra Premiership.
Clinical. There are many superlatives to describe this outfit but that seems to be the most obvious after the reigning premiers comfortably disposed of a spirited Canterbury side who challenged them for most of the contest in Perth on Saturday. No Cronk? No worries.
While the Red V held favouritism in Thursday's opener against the Broncos, not even the most ardent Dragons fan could've expected them to dominate the Broncos the way they did. Time will tell if the Dragons fade away after a strong start like last year, but the signs for a good season are certainly promising.
Where's this Warriors side been for the last few years? The addition of Blake Green has completely unshackled halfback Shaun Johnson and the men from across the Tasman look all the better for it.
Ivan Cleary might be quietly thanking his lucky stars Josh Reynolds was omitted prior to kickoff - the resulting reshuffle saw Benji Marshall play with Luke Brooks in the halves, and when the latter was sin-binned shortly after halftime, Benji stepped up and held his side together, ultimately ensuring they wouldn't concede and keeping them in a position to win the contest.
Not the most convincing of wins but the Cowboys' class was evident throughout against a Cronulla team that seems to be missing an ingredient. JT's 300th ended up being a fantastic occasion despite some worrisome weather across the weekend in Far North Queensland.
As far as second halves go, the one Penrith put on at home on Sunday was right up there. Trailing 14-6 at the break, something clicked in the Panthers Stadium sheds and when they came back out, they were a team possessed - particularly Viliame Kikau. What a performance.
It wasn't pretty, but boy did it have a lot of feeling. Newcastle sent 23,000+ fans into rapturous joy when Mitchell Pearce kicked a golden-point field goal and started the three-time consecutive wooden spooners off on the right foot for 2018. With Canberra struggling, there's no reason this mob can't be two and zero after next Sunday night.
Like Penrith, the Gold Coast Titans produced an outstanding second half - pipping Canberra at the post after having been down 18-0 after just thirteen minutes. There were worrying signs in the first part of the game but Garth Brennan's side can play. Their Saturday afternoon clash with a rejuvenated Warriors this weekend should be a cracker.
Plenty of unknowns for the Eagles, but they competed strongly with a Knights side buoyed by a passionate home crowd. Their halves conundrum remains unsolved but whilstever DCE is wearing the number 7, they're in with a shout.
This one probably seems odd given they copped the second-largest defeat of the round, but Canterbury were in the clash with Melbourne up to their eyeballs and against most other sides, would likely have jagged a win. Their brand of footy was refreshing as promised by new coach Dean Pay.
While their defence held up for the most part on Saturday afternoon, it was the Roosters surprising lack of ability in attack that's struck many. Cooper Cronk had flashes of brilliance but was otherwise quiet, the Tigers' aggressive defence taking care of him and five-eighth Mitch Cornish comfortably. Luke Keary's return on Friday against Canterbury should change things up for them a bit.
It looks like the Sharks' two key signings might take a little while to gel but the signs are promising. Moylan's style is vastly different to Maloney's, and Townsend's kicking game still has big question marks over it. These guys are likely to feature in September but they just didn't show it on Friday night. Let's see if a derby brings the beast out in them.
The Raiders looked utterly unstoppable for the first twenty minutes and while they did enough to lead for 78 minutes, the disappointment will be palpable at their Bruce headquarters this week. Plenty of focus will be going into not running out of juice ahead of Sunday's clash at home against the Knights.
Not sure if the Eels were doing an impersonation of some of their own players' haircuts on Sunday, but the fade was extraordinary. The Eels were choking the Panthers early, racing to a 14-0 lead before wilting in the hot Penrith sun and letting the mountain men run rampant. Mitch Moses' sin-binning will remain a sore point.
After opening the scoring the Bunnies looked refreshed, but the Warriors turned on the glamour and kept all the Rabbits' key men quiet. Not even a returning G.I. could spark them to a victory on Saturday in Perth and their halves seemed a little lost on occasion.
What do you even say here? Brisbane weren't predicted to win but you can bet Wayne Bennett wouldn't expected to see his side capitulate in such a fashion. Kodi Nikorima has come under intense scrutiny but the performance of Anthony Milford was also decidedly weak. The decision to bench McCullough and start Thaiday at hooker? Baffling.
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