(For Round 14 NRL Team LineupsClick Here)

It’s that time of the week again, when we introduce ‘The Grubber’ – the man even the media fear. The Grubber reviews and power ranks each team from last weekends games. From predicting riots in Townsville to giving Paul Gallen the new title of ‘Lay Down Sally’ – The Grubber gives us the lot. For those that haven’t sent their feedback to the Grubber already – feel free to send in your thoughts via email: NRLfeedback@gmail.com

NRL Power Rankings Week 13
By The Grubber

1. Melbourne: Hung in without their stars to win a crucial away fixture. Have gone a long way toward securing the minor premiership with Sunday’s victory. Will only grow in confidence when Origin talent returns and still have bye up their sleeve. Power score: 9/10, Number of time delaying tactics employed by Clint Newton in first game with new club: 5.

2. Wests Tigers: Bounced back reasonably well to beat strong emotion from Newcastle in “feel good” encounter following weekend storms. Missing Hodgson at the back but on track for a top four finish. Power score: 8/10, Odds of Chris Lawrence cementing a regular start at 5/8: 40-1.

3. Cronulla: Showed poor discipline against Dragons in second half and so were unable to close out result against a 12 man outfit. Took a major step toward turning rugby league into soccer with spectular diving display. Power score: 7.5/10, Number of Sharks fans who have seen their side play in a venue other than “Shark Park”: 47 (all at Kogarah on Monday night).

4. Parramatta: Didn’t turn up to play against Canberra and were accordingly punished. Players seemed unwilling to put themselves on the line and hard-core-Cumberland-Oval-burning fans will be hoping this was a one off effort. Missed Hindmarsh. Power score: 7/10, Number of tackles missed by Luke Burt: 75.

5. Canberra: Were hot at home against weakened Parramatta side and took full advantage of their opportunities. Will be keen to break “away from home” hoodoo against inconsistent, Brian-Smith-coached and injury ravaged Knights on Monday night. Power score: 7/10, Odds of Michael Weyman ever playing a season free of serious injury or suspension: 100-1.

6. North Queensland: Were outclassed and outenthused by junior Roosters. Will relish return to Townsville, and return of Thurston in match of the round against Melbourne this weekend. Power score: 7/10, Odds that Townsville will be trashed “Macquarie Fields style” by locals if Thurston is injured by NSW forwards on Wednesday night: 2-1.

7. Roosters: Would normally take about 6 games to score as many points as they did on Saturday night. Were creative and hard working against the Cowboys but will need to be far better defensively to challenge the Panthers at Penrith. Power score: 6/10, Number of commentators who use every opportunity to say the full name of Shaun Kenny-Dowell: 20.

8. South Sydney: Turned up to play on Friday night and produced good wet weather football to beat the ill disciplined Panthers. Travel to Brookvale this Friday night and will draw inspriation from Penrith’s successful lateral ball movement which defeated Manly in their last start. Power score: 5.5/10, Odds of any council in Sydney giving planning approval for a new ground for Souths: 1000-1.

9. Newcastle: Hopeless around the ruck against Wests Tigers and now in tough middle of the table battle after promising start to season. Recovery sessions at “Nobby’s Beach” may need to be worked around grounded coal ship. Power score: 5/10, Odds that Jarrod Mullen will ever be picked for Origin again regardless of Kimmorley’s form on Wednesday: 60-1.

10. St George-Illawarra: Peek send off seemed to galvanise the Dragons when they looked in trouble. A gutsy effort and with a bit of luck could have at least forced the match into extra time. A good test of their credentials this weekend against Parramatta. Power score: 5/10, Odds that Nathan Brown will last out the season: 3-1.

11. Penrith: Offered another poor performance backing up from a decent win and may have suffered from over confidence. A chance of the wooden spoon if they cannot find some ball handling skills, wet or dry. Power score: 4.5/10, Likelihood of Luke Rooney being asked to join Clinton and Wallace at Brisbane: 80-1.

12. New Zealand: Probably the only side in the competition with less creative halves combination than the Dragons. Gave themselves a mountain of possession through good second phase play but barely looked close to scoring a try against Melbourne. Power score: 4/10, Odds that home crowd will rise about 10,000 (legitimately) again this season: 20-1.

Bye teams:

Ok, so I thought about including the bye teams in the regular power rankings, but there didn’t seem any point. With week to week form being what it is in the NRL – completely inconsistent – it was a waste of time trying to slot in the teams with a week off into what is becoming an extremely even competition. Almost reminiscent of 2005 really.

Manly: Face a serious test about Souths this Friday night. The Sea Eagles will have at least Kite, Lyon and Bell backing up. Souths, well, they’ll be “full strength”. The Rabbitohs will be keen to put two wins together and always seem to bring a bit extra against Manly.

Canterbury: Match against Broncos on Friday night at Homebush will surely produce headlines such as “Origin rematch” or “3-0?” (if Maroons have clinched the series by that point). May be keen to avenge loss to Brisbane which ended their 2006 campaign.

Gold Coast: Tend to travel very poorly and face Wests Tigers at Campbelltown. A kind of reverse exchange program whereby people will travel from the Gold Coast to the western suburbs of Sydney as opposed to the other way around. Forwards will need to muscle up against Wests enterprising ruck play.

Brisbane: Do the Bronco’s Origin stars just stay in Sydney after Wednesday night’s game? Surely they’d have to. What would be the point of going back to Brisbane only to return to Sydney two days later. Either way, it’s going to be pretty disruptive on them. May be riding high though if they can defeat NSW on Wednesday.

And…some quick “around the grounds”:

1. Paul Gallen – Before this issue gets completely done to death I want to have my say. On Monday night Gallen showed all the sportsmanship of an Italian soccer player with the way he layed down and then had the gall to wink after he milked the penalty. And his Lay Down Sally teammate Adam Dykes wasn’t much better. You could have fit a half of football into the time between the elbow he copped and the point that he hit the deck. Ricky Stuart has more blokes laying down for him than a gay man’s pimp. A lot of clubs were interested in signing Gallen when he came off contract. As far as I’m concerned the Sharks can keep him.

2. Rivalry scheduling – One issue that got a little bit of press last week was a proposal to amend the current scheduling system in the NRL. An idea that needs some serious consideration is that of a rivalry based conference system. Every team should have its five key rivals nominated and the draw should be structured so that each plays its rivals twice every year. This would result in higher crowds, more interest from fans and would end that annoying situation where you end up playing your worst enemy on their turf and not on yours.

3. Trouble in paradise One of the more interesting aspects of the Monday night game on Fox was witnessing cracks appearing in the usually loving relationship between Warren Smith and Laurie Daley. The dispute was over the clearly forward pass which set up Luke Covell’s try. Daley naturally toed his employer’s (St George) line and argued that it was forward (so I’m not saying Daley was right, he just happened to be on the side of right given that it was against the Dragons. Just so we’re sure here. I didn’t say Daley was ever correct about anything). Smith naturally took the side of the Super League side in the contest (the Sharks) and it was a frosty few moments while the two of them argued the toss. Smith tried to defuse the situation with a predictable “agree to disagree” line, but the damage was done. Daley’s silence (for a few seconds thank God) said it all.

Yours in league,
The Grubber.

By ricky

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