17) WESTS TIGERS (-3)
With the game-script in their favour, the Knights lost 3 of their top handful of players before halftime topped off by playing against 12 men for the closing moments of the game. This was an abomination of a performance where their playmakers continuously butchered their red zone opportunities and they dropped the ball every time they looked to gain momentum. Tim Sheens and the crew have a lot of work to do quickly.
16) NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (-)
Without Kaylyn Ponga this side is about as appealing as the prospect of having a beer with Jackson Hastings and Tyson Gamble. Gutsy performance but in all reality the Tigers did everything they could to hand that game over on a platter and still nearly pinched it.
15) GOLD COAST TITANS (-2)
Bad week to be Tanah Boyd, might be the first player in history to not find touch with two penalties only to put his following two kicks in play out on the full. They really need to find a way to narrow their best and worst football especially when they produce them regularly inside the same game.
14) NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS (-3)
Probably didn’t do a hell of a lot wrong. The Roosters outclassed them which will happen to plenty better teams than the Warriors. Plenty of good signs and probably a victim of a few sides below them exceeding their ranking.
13) CANBERRA RAIDERS (-3)
Will be very disappointed with a game they seemed to control for large portions. The opposition and the conditions really seemed to favour the Raiders playing style which makes this loss even harder to swallow. Once again will be hoping Paulo and Savage are back quickly to get them heading in the right direction.
12) CANTERBURY BULLDOGS (+3)
A week is a long time in football as they say! The Bulldogs gave us a 40-minute insight into just how exciting this roster can be. Jacob Kiraz is an absolute jet and Reed Mahoney is the clubhouse leader for buy of the year. The challenge is now making that the benchmark moving forward. There is a great energy coming out of Belmore though.
11) ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS (+6)
A complete 180 on what they showed in the trials. Hunger for contact, speed around the ruck and absolutely whacking the Titans middles from pillar to post for the duration of the contest. Tyrell Sloan took a step in the right direction to turning around a difficult 12 months and Ben Hunt looks on track to replicate his stand out performance of 2022. Huge test this week to see where they stand without an extended preparation in a game the opposition halfback wont gift them short fields and extra possessions.
10) PARAMATTA EELS (-3)
After going up 12-0 in the blink of an eye it looked like Paramatta were going to right the ship in week 2. They went on to concede 30 points to a Sharks side missing its star halfback. Brad Arthur will be itching to get Shaun Lane and Ryan Matterson back into this side to add some starch without the ball.
9) MANLY-WARRINGAH SEA EAGLES (–)
No movement for the top of the table Sea Eagles. Will be looking to consolidate their two week rest and early season form, expect to see Schuster back this week which could make this side even better.
8) THE DOLPHINS (+4)
Not sure too many people outside of diehard Dolphins truthers saw this roster getting out to a 2-0 start. Found a way to beat a tough Canberra side by winning the big moments. Kudos to the playing group for backing up a historic win in week 1. Big watch on whether they can bring that same intensity and hunger in a game they are likely start favourites.
7) SYDNEY ROOSTERS (+1)
With essentially a whole representative forward pack watching on from the stands the Roosters just had to get the win and did so. Still a lot to work on and surrendered ascendancy in key moments again but individual class was enough to get them by a willing Warriors outfit. Would need a significant improvement to beat their old rivals on Friday night.
6) MELBOURNE STORM (-3)
With an injury list Craig Bellamy described as the worst in his 23-year Tenure at the club the Melbourne Storm showed an uncharacteristic lack of defensive discipline against the Bulldogs. Will be a frosty old video session south of the border this week.
5) NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS (-1)
With their depth already seemingly being tested more in 2 weeks than we saw in their captivating season last year it will be interesting to see if they can bounce back this week without stars Scott Drinkwater and Peta Hiku. The Cowboys will need to bank wins early as their draw was perceived to be much stronger pre origin.
4) CRONULLA SHARKS (+2)
There is a bit of a gap between the boys from the shire and the top 3 sides as it stands. Part of the Sharks’ resurgence under Fitzgibbon was a defensive mentality that seems to have evaded them thus far this year. Will need to fix this if they are going to bridge the gap to the top 3 sides and challenge at the business end. Hynes back soon certainly won’t hurt.
3) BRISBANE BRONCOS (+2)
The combination of Reece Walsh and Ezra Mam might be the hottest ticket in town this year. They have a plethora of players who rate elite amongst all KPIs in their position as well as a healthy balance of youth and leadership. It really is hard not to get excited about the small sample size that is season 2023.
2) SOUTTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS (-1)
A tight loss to last years premiers in a game where their middles struggled, was also a grounding game for young halfback Lachlan Ilias who struggled to replicate his heroics from their win over Cronulla. Souths fans will be hoping to see a more disciplined game than the calamity of their finals game against the Chooks. Calmer heads should prevail as they are in the midst of a tough early draw and suspensions won’t help their cause.
1) PENRITH PANTHERS (+1)
Penrith have shown they aren’t going to hand their mantle over just yet. Although they still had a few kinks in their game and bombed a bunch of tries their notorious physicality through the middle was on show once again.