With NRL News reporter ‘The Grubber’ in England on a Super League mission – this week we have brought in a special guest to share his ‘NRL Power Rankings’ with NRL News readers.

A former Newcastle Knights player – who team mates called ‘The Pudding’; a talented ball player through the 90’s who battled the bulge for most of his career, finishing his career at South Sydney a few years ago. If you can guess his real name – send an email to us at NRLfeedback@gmail.com and we will hook you up with a prize.

Now, its time for ‘The Pudding’ to share his ‘Power Rankings’
(Note: number in brackets is last weeks ranking)

1. (5) Manly Sea Eagles – Showing their true class in a match where motivation would have been hard. Every player looking good, Eagles look better without Steve Matai and with Jamie Lyon in the centres. Absolute contenders for the NRL premiership this year.
“Chances Geoff Toovey will take a hit-up, due to spending so much time on the field during Eagles games – 20/1”
Power Score: 9.5/10

2. (1) Melbourne Storm – Finally losing their no.1 spot, the Melbourne Storm have continued their average form over the past 3 weeks – failing to put away a spare parts Broncos. Have an arsenal of strike players but are looking frustrated and unmotivated. Concern for coach Craig Bellamy.
“The Chance of the WWE employing Greg Inglis and ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Turner to new wrestling contracts – 3/1”
Power Score: 9/10

3. (4) NZ Warriors – Continue to be the darkhorse that will challenge Melbourne and Manly. Again proved their power; possess quality off the bench, something other teams don’t have. Injuries haven’t hurt the Warriors and their consistent lineup is proving more than a handful for opposition teams.
“Chances of Warriors branding Michael Crockett with ‘ex-Wests Tiger’ tag – 2/1”
Power Score: 9/10

4. (3) Bulldogs – The bad boys from Belmore found their best form again this week. With their stars coming back into the roster, they are remaining confident. SBW if he stays healthy will be the MVP of the NRL finals series. Confidence was their big reward from this weekend. Keep an eye on the Doggies.
“Chances of the Bulldogs bark becoming worse than their BITE – 3/1”
Power Score: 8/10

5. (2) Parramatta Eels – Went missing against the Cronulla Sharks, several key players looking lethargic and bored. Consistency is escaping the talented Eels squad, fortunately for coach Hagan – even in 2nd gear, the Eels still nearly beat the Sharks. Big test comes this week against Storm. Missed Nathan Hindmarsh badly.
“Odds of Denis Fitzgerald coming out and bagging the Melbourne Storm this week, before the Eels travel to Olympic Park – 500/1”
Power Score: 7.5/10

6. (10) North Queensland Cowboys – Pulled a Rabbit out of their hat to get home against the motivated Panthers. Sustained injuries from their match will see them further struggle this year. Probably only making up the numbers, but if their forwards can improve – we all know how punishing Thurston and Bowen can be.
“Odds of Sione ‘Found My Weiner‘ – getting less than 3 weeks for THAT swinging arm! – 50/1″
Power Score: 7/10

7. (14) South Sydney Rabbitohs – Climbed the rankings big time after their effort against the Dragons. Showed a finals quality in edging out the Dragons at a rowdy WIN stadium; have proved their mettle – have some big games ahead, but have the mental and physical requirements to make the Top 8.
“Chances of Russell Crowe and Peter Holmes a Court buying a new Ferrari for every player and staff member of Souths if they make the Top 8 finals – 5/1”
Power Score: 7/10

8. (6) Sydney Roosters – The power of the passion, and the presence of Freddy continue to fuel the fire at Bondi. No other team is playing on such raw emotion, they continue their dream run – very similar to the Eels resurgence last year under Jason Taylor. Will fancy their chances against the Titans and Panthers – a Top 8 chance for sure.
“Odds of ‘Cool Hand Luke’ – Brad Fittler playing poker against Joe Hachim and winning – 2/1”
Power Score: 7/10

9. (9) Wests Tigers – Hard to read at present, Tim Sheens and his merry men look well down on confidence. Probably playing too much like millionaires, and simply need to roll their sleeves up and do the hard stuff first. On current form, hard to make predictions – have a fairly forgiving run home however.
“Odds of Benji Marshall being poached by the Sydney Swans next season – 5000/1”
Power Score: 6.5/10

10. (15) Cronulla Sharks – Finally broke their losing streak, getting favourable bounces of the ball and getting repaid for their efforts of late. Lack game breaking skills, but have a team full of spirit and will be refined even more in the off-season. Future outlook; positive.
“Chances of Ricky Stuart being invited as guest speaker at the annual Referees Ball – Slim to Very Slim”
Power Score: 6.5/10

11. (8) Gold Coast Titans – Proving strong at their home ground, but don’t look to have the strong mental requirements to win away. In their first year, the accolades they have received have probably played on their mind. Too inexperienced as a unit to push for Top 8. Will be a true force next year.
“Odds that Luke Bailey will have lost all his hair by the end of NRL 2007 – 10/1”
Power Score: 6/10

12. (12) Brisbane Broncos – Spiteful showing in the grand final rematch, still can’t score points without a true five eighth. Will prove nuisance value to teams in the 3 weeks ahead, considering their run home – impossible to make the Top 8.
“Chances of Wayne Bennett calling on ‘son in law’ Ben Ikin to run on in the No.6 jersey for the Broncos in the weeks ahead – 50/1”
Power Score: 6/10

13. (13) Penrith Panthers – Possess so much ability; but don’t have the patience or experience to win. Matt Elliott has the right players in the squad, they are simple to young at present. Fans have stuck by the Panthers mob – all is not lost, will be a chance to shake off the spoon yet.
“Odds of Jarred Sammut using the same barber as Tony Puletua – 10,000 /1”
Power Score: 5.5/10

14. (7) St George Illawarra Dragons – Flashes of brilliance, followed by injuries and brain explosions. (Sounds like Saints over the past 6 years) Even the big WIN Stadium crowd couldn’t get Brownies men home – can’t see things changing too quickly for the Dragons next year either.
“Chances that video referee at WIN Stadium had been consuming red wine or similar substance during the Dragons v Bunnies match – High to Extreme”
Power Score: 5/10

15. (11) Canberra Raiders – Totally mind wrecked by the Bulldogs; snuffing their 2007 NRL chances out totally. Playing too much touch footy; possess great backline – might need to inject some quality forwards for next year. Have a good coach at the helm in Henry, time to go shopping.
“Allan Tongue will win the ‘Raiders Plyers Player of the Year’ – by a nose!”
Power Score: 4.5/10

16. (16) Newcastle Knights – Total turmoil and a poor effort by players with their careers on the line. Injuries proving a real problem, but commitment and harmony just aren’t there. Brian Smith needs to be left to implement change – if things deviate then the players will rule the club forevermore. Financials could be hurt if crowd turn away from EA Stadium next year.
“Odds of Brian Smith winning Dally M coach of the year – 50,000/1”
Power Score: 4/10

By ricky

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