The Roar
The Roar


NRL Power Rankings: New names at the top and bottom as Parra, Manly and Tigers make major moves

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22nd May, 2023
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Remember the NRL? Your favourite cuddly local rugby league competition?

Yes, it’s easy to forget that the boring old regular season continues when the ancient tribal battle of Origin begins, even though there were games as recently as this Sunday afternoon.

It’s just another chapter in the pointless rivalry between New South Wales and Queensland. They built a mini-mall, so we built a bigger mini-mall. They made the world’s largest pizza, so we burned down their city hall.

We don’t get into such business here at Power Rankings Towers: it’s NRL or bust. Here’s how they stand as the rep window opens.

1 – Panthers (+1)

Penrith’s crusade up the Power Rankings lifts them above Souths, though really, it could be either way around. 

We saw the best of the Panthers on Thursday night and they might be one of the sides that is wishing Origin wasn’t happening, because they’ve timed their run to coincide with losing their best players.  

Still, a week off and then the Dragons won’t hurt.


2 – Souths (-1)

This was a bad week for Souths, who were caught badly cold by a committed Parramatta, but in the long run, it might be the wake-up call that they needed.

What they might also need is a rest, because Cronulla, Melbourne and Penrith, the teams directly around them, are now on their second bye, while the Bunnies (and Parramatta and the Broncos) are yet to have one. Eh?

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

3 – Sharks (-)

The Sharks were a lot better than Newcastle, but didn’t have to be that great. Their goalline D can definitely still be got at, but it didn’t matter given the Knights’ decision to drop the ball so often, or in Lachie Miller’s case, not to even try catching it in the first place.

Still, win’s a win and they’ll only lose one player to Origin.

4 – Storm (-)


The Storm met their clone in the Dolphins and, unsurprisingly, were better than them. Plenty have been worse than Redcliffe this year, so this is a big plus. 

The way they put the cue in the rack after half-time is a worry, but it’s nothing Craig Bellamy can’t shout out of them. 

5 – Broncos (-)

Brisbane were reminded of the level on Thursday night against the Panthers, but needn’t be too worried. 

None but the most myopic Broncos fan would expect their team to be challenging with Penrith, Souths and the like quite yet, and even when they were 7-0, the more sage among them knew it was likely to be something of a mirage.

They’ve largely failed the big tests, but their success against everyone else confirms that this is a better Brisbane team than we’ve seen for a few years, and the age of the squad suggests that their Premiership window is only opening.

Big test this week though, where we’ll find out a little about their depth.


(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

6 – Eels (+4)

Parra have made an art form of playing well and losing, but on Friday, tried something novel by playing well and winning. It was their best showing of the year, in a game where nobody gave them a chance.

Mitch Moses can be a flat-track bully at times, but that wasn’t the case here. They were excellent, he was excellent, and Parramatta deserve all the credit they get.

It takes them up a few points this week, because these rankings are built on a theoretical idea of who finishes where at the end of the year, and there’s plenty of reasons to believe Parra could trouble anyone above them – more so than others around them in this list.

If they can sustain this form, there might be life in the old Eel yet.

7 – Warriors (-)


The Warriors trounced bye, then announced yet another double-barrelled signing with Chanel Harris-Tavata to return. Let’s gone.

8 – Raiders (-)

Oh Canberra. They picked a bad moment to run into a Manly team that decided to play some footy, and a few of the worst traits came out of the Raiders. Heads were lost. Red mists were seen. Mistakes were made.

It’s been a good trot, though, so let’s not bag them too hard.

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - MAY 21: Tom Trbojevic of the Sea Eagles is tackled during the round 12 NRL match between Canberra Raiders and Manly Sea Eagles at GIO Stadium on May 21, 2023 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Tom Trbojevic. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

9 – Dolphins (-1)

If you come at the King you best not miss, to quote Omar from The Wire. If you come at the Storm, then the same goes. The Dolphins met their match on Sunday but, as we’ve seen, their style will get plenty of results against lesser sides. A qualified, slightly half-hearted Phins Up this week, but they’ll come again.


10 – Manly (+3)

Manly aren’t quite a one-man team, but the one man who can make the biggest difference  turned up big time against the Raiders.

Daly Cherry-Evans and Jake Trbojevic are pretty much set and forget great, but throw in Tommy Turbo – and an interested Josh Schuster – and you’re looking at a borderline top four team, rather than one that could finish bottom four.

This column’s allegiances are well known and may be getting somewhat ahead of themselves. Book the parade on the Corso now.

11 – Roosters (-2)

The Roosters are officially bad now, a designation applied to any team that loses to the Dragons. James Tedesco and Luke Keary cannot do it alone.

Trent Robinson needs to sit the rest of them down during this week off and explain, in no uncertain terms, who they play for and the standards that are expected.

12 – Knights (-)


The Knights dropped Dom Young, then realised it wasn’t him that was the problem. Now they’ll drop Lachie Miller in an attempt to sort out what their problem is. Thoughts and prayers for Greg Marzhew, surely next for the chop.

Dane Gagai will remain in the team, especially since he’ll not be playing for Queensland. Connor Tracey, hardly Steve Renouf in the centres, made the Maroons legend look very silly indeed on Sunday.

The silver lining will be that they now face Manly at home on Sunday, without either Trbojevic or DCE. Given that they drew with a Sea Eagles side that had all three, they have to pick up the win or things could go very south very, very quickly.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – MAY 21: Kurtis Morrin of the Bulldogs is tackled during the round 12 NRL match between Canterbury Bulldogs and Gold Coast Titans at Accor Stadium on May 21, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

13 – Bulldogs (+2)

The spirit in this group is strong, even when the playing personnel haven’t always been. That was on full display against the mental midgets from the Gold Coast.

Dig and effort shouldn’t be enough to overcome a talent disparity in the NRL, but when the Titans wanna Titan, then they are.

On a weekend for much-maligned players – see Turbo, T and Brooks, L – it was nice to see Jayden Okunbor, who has turned from a widely-derided winger into a serviceable forward, get the winning try.


14 – Titans (-)

“That’s the Titans we know and love. Justin Holbrook must wonder why his side so frequently abdicates responsibility on the defensive front”

That was last week, and boy howdy, the Titans did it again.

(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

15 – Tigers (+1)

Luke Brooks Island, baby. What a night, what a performance. The hill at Leichhardt is one of the greatest sights in rugby league when the get something to cheer, and it’s been a long, long time since the punters had anything like Saturday evening’s performance to cheer.

One can’t begrudge the league’s most long-suffering fanbase an evening like that, and if truth be told, it had been coming. The Tigers had been better than results looked for a while, even when a few wins were jagged, it still looked like they could get better. 

Now the Tigs have to back it up, which could be a problem. Expectation is their kryptonite. But let’s allow their fans to soak this one up. All aboard.


16 – Dragons (+1)

It turns out that snatching victory from the jaws of defeat is a lot more fun than snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Who knew?

It’s hard to say if Ryan Carr’s incarnation of St George Illawarra are any better than Anthony Griffin’s but they look a lot more fun, which admittedly isn’t that difficult.

17 – Cowboys (-5)

What do you say about a team that concedes 66 points to the Wests bloody Tigers? Oh, that they’re rubbish.