1. Gold Coast Titans – The NRL’s new boys are still flying high. Have blown everyone away with their impressive form and consistent results given some missing stars. Question marks still remain over the depth for the whole season, but with their current attack anything is possible. The maturing of Nathan Friend continues to the cog that is silently driving this new force on the Coast. Power Ranking 9/10
Grubbers Comment: Likelihood of the Gold Coast Council awarding Titans CEO Michael Searle the keys to ‘Cocktails and Dreams Nightclub’ if the Titans win the comp? 5/1
2. Brisbane Broncos – Another sublime performance by the new look Brisbane side. Full credit must be given to coach and squad, the team remains a force even with various illness and injury in the ranks. Look to have a perfect full depth squad that is required to win the comp in these long NRL seasons. Power Ranking: 8.5/10
Grubbers Comment: Odds that Darren Lockyer was going to make the Australian Centenary Test Side, even if he required the aid of a zimmer frame to take the field? 2/1
3. Melbourne Storm – We all know how good this Melbourne Storm side is, but their ability to grind out the hard games this year has been a new element to their impressive resume. Showing a toughness they previously didn’t have, coach Bellamy would be happy with their tough away win. Still boast enough depth to field 2 x first grade sides and look to be travelling well so far. Power Ranking: 8/10
Grubbers Comment: Odds that Billy Slater will be crowned ‘toughest man in the NRL’ at years end, after copping the three stooges poke to the eye – but retiring early. 150/1
4. Wests Tigers – Came from the clouds to steal this game at Shark Park. What was most impressive with the Tigers was their defence. Repelling Cronulla for several sets and still having enough petrol to get out of jail was a real gutsy effort by Wests. Matt Head looks to be the man to take them to the next level and the likes of Chris Lawrence and Keith Galloway continue to rise in the playing ranks as they become the next batch of genuine NRL superstars. Will be a real darkhorse this year, capable of beating anyone on their day. Power Ranking: 7.5/10
Grubbers Comment: Estimated amount of pace Chris Lawrence would gain if he trimmed down his ‘Dawn Fraser’ haircut? 7-8 kph
5. North Queensland Cowboys – The Cowboys while losing this close contest, have well and truly recovered from their shocking season start. Jonathan Thurston remains fit and is getting back to his career best form and things look to be on the up for the Cowboys. Coaching musical chairs may yet cause a problem, but if they can keep away from any more slumps – the sky is the limit. Power Ranking: 7/10
Grubbers Comment: Odds that any journalist had the courage to ask Carl Webb if he really did cry after making the Australian Centenary Test team for 2008? 250/1
6. Manly Sea Eagles – The Eagles have again won without being totally in control. While Des Hasler won’t be ecstatic with the form, at least the Manly boys have reversed their early season poor results and are able to grind out a good hard win. Are improving each week and their only concern would probably be the injury dramas around their ranks. Will be their come show time at seasons end. Power Ranking: 7/10
Grubbers Comment: Chances of Matt Orford making NSW Origin this year. 500/1
7. St George Illawarra Dragons – Fired up on ANZAC Day and showed what their playing roster is capable of when they get it right. Some impressive attacking moves and a clear message they will be more than just walkovers this year. Soward and Hornby look to be a good combination in the halves, as the forwards finally did their job. Power Ranking: 7/10
Grubbers Comment: Likelihood of Jason Ryles having a future at the ‘Red Vee’ post 2008, after talk of trades, off-loads and back room deals continues to abound. 100/1
8. Cronulla Sharks – Were shown up in their own backyard and realised they won’t be able to win every game on just their defence. Brett Kimmorley tried valliantly and ran at the line regularly, as did Brett Kearney – however their attempted second phase passing blitz brought them undone with too many lost balls. Unable to even manufacture attacking moves, let alone generate natural offensive raids. Power Ranking: 6/10
Grubbers Comment: Chances of the Sharks ending the season with a positive points difference, regardless of NRL Competition points? Slim to none.
9. Bulldogs – Surprised many with their opening assault at Brookvale, coming out all guns blazing. While they did cop some poor referee calls, the Dogs don’t look to have the experience or the stars to keep them in the mix this year. Still lack pace in various quarters and obviously have the coaching cloud hanging over their head. However, a fair performance all things considered. Power Ranking: 5.5/10
Grubbers Comment: Likelihood of Steve Folkes telling Bulldogs players not to worry about coming to training for the rest of the year and just ‘having fun’ for the remainder of 2008?
10. Sydney Roosters – Went missing and record their second win on the trot, committment must be a concern for coach Brad Fittler as the Roosters are finding it hard to lift for the less important games. While Braith Anasta and Anthony Tupou played well, the same couldn’t be said for several other of their team mates. Surprisingly the Roosters attack hasn’t come easily in the past few weeks – the Bye next week might be a handy one for them to take stock and re-focus. Power Ranking 5/10
Grubbers Comment: Odds that Brad Fittler will need to take out an AVO against Nick Politis or enter witness protection – if he goes through a Chris Anderson like slump at the Roosters? 2/1
11. NZ Warriors – Still having a tough time travelling and felt the wrath of the new ‘Temple of Boom’ at Skilled Park, Robina. Look disinterested at times and with injury now setting in – they need to get some points in the bank or they can start planning an end of season trip. While Michael Witt was a beaming light in a beaten side, the Warriors need to cut the simple errors from their game before considering themselves a weekly force. Power Ranking: 5/10
Grubbers Comment: Chances of the NZ Warriors Premiership Odds firming strongly now that Manu Vatuvei is out for 4-6 weeks with a broken leg? Strong to certain.
12. South Sydney Rabbitohs – Looked eager in the first 10 minutes, but passion alone can’t get you the cookies. Made basic errors and confidence continues to plague even their more experienced stars. Simply can’t afford to be in such a hole so early, will be fighting themselves soon let alone the opposing team. Real worries in Refern after this 7th consecutive loss. Power Ranking: 4/10
Grubbers Comment: Chances of the Rabbitohs results improving if coach Jason Taylor delivered the team instructions in several different pacific languages? 5/1