The weekly wrap-up from the Grubber is here! The NRL Power Rankings – where the Grubber factors in NRL Results, NRL Scores, analyzes the NRL Ladder and add’s a touch of spice each week – letting everyone know where their NRL Team really sits on the Ladder. (Beside your NRL Teams Rankings – the number (x) in brackets denotes last weeks Power Rankings position.
NRL Power Rankings for Round 21
1. (1) Melbourne: Seem to be in a temporary slump at the moment and the heavy toll of Origin may have begun to pay its price in respect of key players. That said, the Storm still have the firepower and the execution needed to win this competition. Cameron Smith and Steve Turner will be better for the rest. A good test of their credentials in coming weeks against other NRL powerhouses. Power score: 9/10, Number of times a winger has been rested previously in rugby league history: 0 (what do they even do anyway?).
2. (3) Parramatta: Attack was sublime against Canterbury and the Eels go forward was devastating. Despite their customary lapses they absorbed pressure when it was needed and their power backline came to the fore. Power score: 8.5/10, Number of Parramatta fans who will rush to buy grand final tickets a la 2005 as soon as they are released: 40,000.
3. (6) Canterbury: Short of launching a terrorist attack on Australian soil, it’s hard to see what sin is possibly left for the Bulldogs. Despite their off-field troubles they look to be seriously improving on the field and provided they can nail enough victories to stay in the 8, the return of several superstars should prove timely – and concerning to their opposition. Power score 8/10, Number of Bulldogs players in current squad who have NOT been in trouble at some point in their career: 0.
4. (4) New Zealand: Showed flashes of attacking brilliance and were at their second-phase best against the resurgent Roosters. Get the feeling that if they can earn a home final and have their forward pack moving that they should build some momentum for a week three appearance in the play-offs. Power score: 8/10, Percentage of NRL fans that would be able to name the Warriors halves pairing: Probably less than 10%.
5. (2) Manly: Slayed their third consecutive hoodoo with an ugly victory over the Broncos in Brisbane. A poor first half however will have Des Hasler getting his side back to basics for the Friday night clash with Newcastle. Watmough is the form back rower in the NRL at this stage. Once ball control improves they may well be a force to be reckoned with. Power score: 8/10, Number of times Phil Gould praised the determination of the Broncos during Sunday’s clash: 6,598.
6. (7) Roosters: Have somehow managed to turn one of the slowest forward packs in the league into a dynamic, running gang which more than matched the might of the Warriors. While only a remote chance of making the finals if they get can over the Tigers this Friday night then the really hard work is out of the way in respect of their run home. Power score: 7.5/10, Odds that Roosters front office will continue to drag out coaching saga in the interests of motivating their players: 2-1.
7. (10) St George-Illawarra: A real middle of the pack side at the moment who, on their day, can win just as easily as they can lose. Veteran players have managed to remember how to win and are leading from the front. Pose a threat in all of their remaining clashes despite looking out of the running for the 8. Power score: 7/10, Odds that Nathan Brown will secure the Roosters coaching post for 2008: 100-1, although I’m sure St George-Illawarra would swap if they could.
8. (12) Gold Coast: Showed up a lot of pundits with their impressive victory over the Tigers on the weekend. Again, it’s hard to see them making the 8, or making a dent if they do, but they don’t have enough quality backs; but might just have enough grunt in the pack to do the job. Power score: 7/10, Numbers of finals teams in a competition of 12 sides when Gold Coast made their only finals appearance in 1997: 7, now that’s some good odds!.
9. (5) Wests Tigers: Running hot and cold right now and Friday night’s match up with the Roosters will be a good test of their premiership credentials. Looking less like a top 4 contender and more like a fringe side lacking the concentration to challenge for extended periods. Power score: 6.5/10, Odds that Wests Tigers v Roosters clash would have attracted more than 12,000 had it been held 5 weeks ago: 50-1.
10. (13) North Queensland: Limped over the line against feisty Canberra side and are hanging around the top end of the competition based on former glories, and the Bowen/JT factor. Need to recover offensive execution and ruck area control if they are to threaten the competition leaders at the business end. Power score: 6.5/10, Anticipated crowd figure for North Queensland v Penrith clash on Monday night, at Penrith: 5,678.
11. (11) Canberra: Didn’t have a great deal of luck against North Queensland and despite a solid effort at the back end of the game they lacked what it took to win at the death – a problem which has plagued them in the last couple of seasons. Get an opportunity to atone for their loss in 2 v 7 match-up in ’06 finals when they take on Canterbury this Sunday. Power score: 6/10, Odds that anyone picked former Matt Elliott-coached side Canberra finishing above current Matt Elliott-coached side Penrith in 2007: 10,000-1.
12. (8) Brisbane: Lacked play making options when they had the ball in hand against Manly and never really looked like scoring in the first half. Without Berrigan (and not that he’s a game breaker anyway), it’s obvious that they will battle without a genuine six or seven. Power score: 5.5/10, Odds of Tonie Carroll ever playing 5/8 again: 600-1.
13. (14) Penrith: With another loss by the hapless Sharks, Penrith does have something to play for – avoiding that dreaded wooden spoon (Now that South Sydney have finally exited the race after many years of winning the spoon award). Penrith have flashes of brilliance, accompanied by periods of ineptitude. Power score: 5/10, Odds of New Idea running an article in ’08 entitled Amanda (Flynn) Gower speaks: ‘Our wonderful new life in France’: 2-1.
14. (9) South Sydney: Demonstrated their lack of big match experience with loss to Penrith in crucial fixture. Need to improve attacking prowess if they are to make the finals. Defence still resolute, which is a positive in this competition. Power score: 5/10, Number of times sound clip of Russell Crowe professing his love to Dean Widders has been played in the last 7 days: 11,276.
15. (15) Cronulla: Surprised everyone with their competitive spirit in match-up with Melbourne and seem desperate to avoid breaking club record of 10 losses, set just last year under Stuart Raper. Season has been cruelled by injury and club officials will be praying for a swift and dignified end to 2007. Power score: 4/10, Number of times Ricky Stuart can get away with talking about how “proud he is of the boys” before it gets old: two, maybe three times.
16. (16) Newcastle: Nothing good to say other than that a win against Manly will make it all worthwhile and somehow salvage this train wreck of a season. Power score: 3.5/10, Ratio of Newcastle fans to Manly fans at Manly’s Gosford “home game” this Friday night: 10 to 1.
Yours in league,
We look forward to getting the Grubber back on deck soon, and await his analysis of all the NRL Form and NRL Table in the weeks ahead
NOTE: NRL News will be introducing a very special guest for next weeks ‘Power Rankings’