(1.) Sydney Roosters: Came together well and proved they are still a formidable opponent even without their State of Origin stars. Roosters look to have their attack and creativity flowing well and their squad depth is continuing to impress. Halves combination continues to blossom.
Grubberâ€™s Comment: Odds of Nick Politas adopting Brad Fittler as his long lost son, after Freddy continues to take the Roosters to new heights. 5/1
(2.) Gold Coast Titans: Another win. This time the Titans won ugly but they are proving to have all the qualities of a top 4 team. They can now be considered genuine contenders and look to be a well oiled unit. They needed to have a tough, grinding win like this – it will put them in good stead for tight games in the back end of the year. Will continue to travel well in the next few weeks with little if any State of Origin affect on them.
Grubberâ€™s Comment: Odds that coach John Cartwright bribed Queensland selectors into not picking Scott Prince. 2/1
(3.) Manly Sea Eagles: The quiet achievers so far in 2008. The Eagles look to be improving nicely each week and managed not only to beat the Cowboys but put on a lot of points in doing so. Their forwards and halves are performing well and the team has enviable depth. Coach Des Hasler looks to be at the top of his game.
Grubberâ€™s Comment: Chances that the continued rise of Adam â€œThe Hatâ€ Cuthbertson will help the Manly supporters forget Michael Monaghan. 5/1
(4.) Canberra Raiders: An A+ performance by an undermanned Raiders outfit. Everyone must take their hats off to coach Neil Henry and the Raiders players for turning on the afterburners in a tough home game. Todd Carney is in blistering form and the kicking game from Canberra remains top shelf. Raiders possess a good balance of speed, passion and creativity.
Grubberâ€™s Comment: Likelihood of Terry Campese having to call on the services of ‘Advanced Hair’ at the tender age of 24 as his devon patch continues to spread. Strong to Certain ‘Yeah Yeah’
(5.) St George Illawara Dragons: Dragons are to be commended for a good all round attacking display. The team fired on all cylinders and every player played their part. Many people forget that Saints were without Mark Gasnier, Matt Cooper and Ben Hornby. While they have lost several games in 2008 they are only being beaten by small amounts. The Saints still posses a good points differential and should gain a lot of confidence from this win. We should expect to see continued improvement over the next month. Jamie Soward well suited to the pivot role and looks to be relishing the 2nd receiver role.
Grubberâ€™s Comment: Odds that Mark Gasnier will stay in the NRL and prove this latest talk is just a push for more cash? 5/1
(6.) Penrith Panthers: Put on an impressive performance at home after showing glimpses of potential in recent weeks. They rediscovered their 2003 attacking prowess and blew the NZ Warriors away. Reports from inside the Panthers camp suggest that coach Matt Elliott and his players are all on the same page now and working together. Panthers could prove difficult to beat at home should their confidence and attacking cohesion continue for the remainder of the year.
Grubberâ€™s Comment: Odds that Panthers players were sent back to school so that they could understand Matt Elliotâ€™s game plans (judging by their recent win they all got an A+). 10/1
(7.) Cronulla Sharks: Continue to surprise everyone with their gritty in your face style. They managed to grind out yet another ugly win in terrible conditions at Toyota Park and look to have the physical and mental edge to be a dark horse challenger this year. Half back Brett Kimmorley should continue to play his best football with the finalisation of his contract now achieved. Playing a finals brand of football week in / week out.
Grubberâ€™s Comment: Chances of Ricky Stuart committing suicide should Brett Kimmorley take the Bulldogs to Premiership Glory in 2009? 2/1
(8.) Wests Tigers: Welcomed back Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah, the two stars immediately injecting confidence and belief through-out their ranks but poor defence was also evident at times. On their day, the Tigers are the best attacking side in the NRL; their quick hands and freaky plays are breath-taking to watch. Injury and defence remain their only question marks for 2008, otherwise they could sneak into a 7th or 8th spot.
Grubberâ€™s Comment: Truth in the rumour that Benji Marshall’s mum called Tim Sheens directly to express her anger at the coach after he gave Benji a pasting in the media? Strong to Certain
(9.) Brisbane Broncos: Can be excused for their loss as they were effected heavily by the absence of several Origin players. It was always going to be a tough assignment facing Cronulla at Shark Park with limited squad experience. This week was merely a speed bump for the Broncos. They will reap the benefits of a bye this week and will happily face an out of sorts Parramatta the week after at Suncorp Stadium.
Grubberâ€™s Comment: Odds that injured pivot Darren Lockyer will have make his return from injury through the Queensland Cup after his side continues to bristle with quality? 10/1
(10.) Newcastle Knights: Performed well at home considering they had several players out. Five-Eighth Chris Bailey looks to be a real find and is playing a great brand of football in the halves. At times the team lacked concentration but the Knights should be ready for next week and this loss wasnâ€™t a major concern. While they did have defensive lapses this Round, they do look to have a good nucleus of talent in both defence and attack – won’t be embarrassed again this year.
Grubberâ€™s Comment: Odds that John Singleton will make a public apology to Brian Smith should the Knights miraculously win the NRL Premiership? 500/1
(11.) Melbourne Storm: This week was always going to be a tough ask with so many players missing, the young Stormers were brave but to green to compete with the hot Dragons. Hard to be critical of this spare parts Melbourne team. Barring any origin injuries, we should expect to see the normal Melbourne Storm squad back next week to crush the Bunnies.
Grubberâ€™s Comment: Chances of Melbourne and NSW Coach Craig Bellamy instructing Blues players to ‘bash’ any of his Storm players wearing Maroon colours? 250/1
(12.) Canterbury Bulldogs: The Doggies put up an impressive fight but are still in an almighty hole. With injury and morale problems – their lack of cohesion and consistency is really hurting them. Showing snippets of grit against the Titans, but look to have too many talented players that are simply playing for themselves. Will almost certainly continue to be a long year.
Grubberâ€™s Comments: When Kevin Moore takes the helm in 2009 it looks like heâ€™ll be inheriting a 1985 Falcon (Ex-Taxi) as opposed to a 2004 model Lexus judging by the Bulldogs current busted state.
(13.) NZ Warriors: Away form remains disgraceful. They need to secure back to back wins to take the pressure off their players and their coach. Would benefit from veteran Steve Price returning to the field. The experienced Ruben Wicki looks to be playing injured and a yard short on grunt. In saying this, the Warriors have rarely lose at home – so all is not lost. The next month should determine their 2008 season outcome.
Grubberâ€™s Comment: Odds that Air New Zealand will step in and sponsor the Warriors, helping them fly family and friends to each away venue to try and ‘take a little bit of home with them’ in the hope of improved away results. 25/1
(14.) Parramatta Eels: Still in woeful form and there doesn’t seem to be too much light at the end of the tunnel. The new halves combination is not being helped by lack of go forward from the pack. The Eels are probably lucky to be on 10 points. Definitely not a good time to have the bye next week. Parramatta need more football to tweak and improve combinations; will benefit from the return of Kris Inu and Josh Cordoba in the weeks ahead.
Grubberâ€™s Comment: Odds of Parramatta boss Denis Fitzgerald coming out in the media and making some ridiculous statement to try and boost the Eels chances of winning, only to find it inspires the opponents? 2/1
(15.) North Queensland Cowboys: Threw their coach a hospital pass as their heavy loss virtually sealed his fate. Don’t expect a strong turnaround in form with Graham Murray leaving, there is trouble in paradise and it extends beyond the coach. Too much in fighting and players performing like millionaires is hurting their cause. Cowboys will continue to win the odd game but consistency should prove a problem this season.Grubberâ€™s Comment: Odds that Graham Murray could take on a ‘consultant’ role with other clubs and plot the downfall of his former team after being backstabbed by the senior playing group? 20/1
(16.) South Sydney Rabbitohs: Had the worst possible start conceding a try inside 60 seconds and never recovered. The Bunnies turned in a disappointing performance and were never really in the game. Minor set backs on the field are having an enormous effect on their confidence (Early try, Asotasi injury). Coach Jason Taylor simply needs to keep the faith in 17 players week in / week out and cannot afford to keep changing players and their positions. Dean Withers is not a 5/8 and his form of late has only marginally justified his selection in first grade. Luck looks to be deserting them by the bucket-load at the moment.Grubberâ€™s Comment: Fellas, just remember ‘All you need is love!’ Just ask Russell.