Power Rankings, Round 2, Adam Reynolds, Broncos, Damien Cook, Rabbitohs, Mitchell Moses, Eels

The Broncos have shocked their way into the top four, while Souths are staring at an 0-4 start to the season.

Meanwhile, the Eels are proving premiership predictions premature after their second poor defensive performance in as many weeks.

Read on for the latest NRL Power Rankings ahead of Round 3.

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“How quickly the venom comes out!” | 03:42

16. TIGERS

Last week’s ranking: 13th (down three spots)

Analysis: The Tigers’ strong first half against the Storm in Round 1 looked a lifetime ago after a woeful 26-4 loss to the Knights in Round 2. Luke Brooks looked frustrated and like he didn’t want to be there at times, sparking new conjecture around his future. The lacklustre Tigers missed 26 tackles and remarkably could only manage one try despite the Knights also missing 26 tackles. Granted the Knights look a strong team in 2022, but if the Tigers continue to offer so little in both attack and defense the wooden spoon is theirs to lose in 2022.

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Luke Brooks and the Tigers looked flat against the Knights.Source: Getty Images

15. SEA EAGLES

Last week’s ranking: 10th (down five spots)

Analysis: Manly have come up against some pretty fair opposition in the opening two rounds, but the comprehensive 26-12 loss to the Roosters shows they are not even close to the top teams in the competition so far this season. Granted things could turn when they play a few of the lesser teams, but for a top four side to be so far off the pace is worrying for coach Des Hasler. For the second week in a row Tom Trbojevic has been kept quiet and since he is the focal point of their attack, the rest of the team won’t get much better until he finds more space to work his magic.

Tom Trbojevic is being shut down so far in 2022.Source: Getty Images

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14. RABBITOHS

Last week’s ranking: 15th (up one spot)

Analysis: They may have pushed the high-flying Storm to golden point, but that was more due to a sin bin and some Latrell Mitchell brilliance with a two-point field goal, rather than the performance of Souths. For 60 minutes the Rabbitohs were totally outplayed and were lucky not to be down by 30. There were signs of life for the Rabbitohs in Round 2, but with clashes against the Roosters and Panthers next up, they are still staring down the barrel of an 0-4 start to the season. The pressure is growing on under-fire hooker Damien Cook to turn around his poor run of form to start the year.

Damien Cook is struggling for form.Source: Getty Images

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13. RAIDERS

Last week’s ranking: 8th (down five spots)

Analysis: After their impressive win over the Sharks, the Raiders came crashing back down to earth with a convincing 26-6 loss to the lowly Cowboys. Jack Wighton looked to have turned a corner in Round 1 after a long period of indifferent form, but he too looked well below his best in Townsville. Brad Schneider was a big out against the Cowboys, but it might soon be time to bring in Xavier Savage to add some spark to Canberra’s attack and to take the pressure off Wighton having to do it all with the ball in hand.

Jack Wighton was well contained by the Cowboys.Source: Getty Images

12. WARRIORS

Last week’s ranking: 12th (no movement)

Analysis: The Warriors came close to their first win of the season, but ultimately blew a late lead to go down 20-18 to the Titans, for their second close loss to start the year. Reece Walsh offered plenty in attack, but the Warriors are still struggling to find their best halves combination after Ash Taylor and Chanel Harris-Tavita came in for Kodi Nikorima and the injured Shaun Johnson. Coach Nathan Brown said post match he is over developing players and wants to win footy games, but unfortunately they still look a couple of class players short of a finals team and they are missing the ever-reliable Tohu Harris on both sides of the ball.

Ash Taylor had a mixed debut for the Warriors.Source: Getty Images

11. BULLDOGS

Last week’s ranking: 14th (up three spots)

Analysis: They may have gone down in the end 16-10 to the Broncos, but the Bulldogs have shown enough in the opening two weeks to suggest they are headed in the right direction and they were more impressive against Brisbane than they were in Round 1. Matt Burton is growing into an excellent playmaker with each performance and Matt Dufty was exceptional at the back. Granted, they copped a few dodgy decisions however, the Bulldogs still need more from Jake Averillo and Tevita Pangai Jr to take them to the next level and help them win consistently.

Matt Burton was excellent against the Broncos.Source: Getty Images

10. COWBOYS

Last week’s ranking: 16th (up six spots)

Analysis: After their woeful first up performance against the Bulldogs, the Cowboys answered their critics with a convincing 26-6 win over the Raiders. Of particular importance was the return to form of lock Jason Taumalolo, who put the conjecture surrounding his future behind him to star for the home side. The halves partnership of Chad Townsend and Tom Dearden also showed promising signs and if they can keep progressing at this rate, calls they are one of the leading contenders for the wooden spoon could be premature.

Jason Taumalolo was back to his best for the Cowboys.Source: Getty Images

9. SHARKS

Last week’s ranking: 11th (up two spots)

Analysis: The Sharks were super impressive in Craig Fitzgibbon’s first win for the club, a nailbiting 18-16 win over the Eels in Round 2. The Sharks dominated the opening half and should have led by more than 8-6 at the break. The halves pairing was particularly impressive with Matt Moylan capping a strong game by setting up the match leveling try, while Nicho Hynes put the icing on the cake of his solid outing to slot the match winning conversion after the siren.

Nicho Hynes led the Sharks to their first win of the year.Source: Getty Images

8. TITANS

Last week’s ranking: 9th (up one spot)

Analysis: The Titans were arguably better in a week one in terms of their attack, but importantly they got the job done in a 20-18 win over the Warriors. AJ Brimson returned from injury to inspire his side to victory and showed his transition to five-eighth could pay real dividends for the team in 2022. Justin Holbrook still needs to work out how to get more out of David Fifita, who ran for just 62 meters against the Warriors, but all in all the Titans are trending in the right direction.

AJ Brimson was brilliant in his return at five-eighth.Source: Supplied

7. EELS

Last week’s ranking: 4th (down three spots)

Analysis: Premiership predictions for the Eels suddenly look very premature after their second mediocre performance in as many weeks in a 18-16 loss to the Sharks. He may have scored a brilliant try and he was targeted unfairly at times by the Sharks, but Mitchell Moses still needs to do more to lead the Eels attack. The side’s edge defense is Brad Arthur’s biggest concern at the moment and until he fixes the leaks, they won’t be a top four team any time soon let alone a title team.

Mitchell Moses was hot and cold against the Sharks.Source: Getty Images

6. DRAGONS

Last week’s ranking: 7th (up one spot)

Analysis: They may have gone down 20-16 to the defending premiers, but there was still plenty to like about the Dragons’ performance against Penrith. A crucial sin bin to Jaydn Su’A saw the score blow out from 6-6 to 20-6 to the Panthers, before the Dragons launched a spirited late comeback. The injury to Andrew McCullough is a big blow, but in Moses Mbye and Jayden Sullivan the Dragons have enough to cover the hooker until he returns and they are still on track to be one of the biggest movers on the ladder this season.

Andrew McCullough is a big loss for the Dragons.Source: Getty Images

5. BRONZES

Last week’s ranking: 6th (up one spot)

Analysis: The Broncos are one of just four unbeaten teams after two rounds following their come-from-behind 16-10 win over the Bulldogs. They may have got a bit of help from the referees, but Adam Reynolds also showed Brisbane what they have been missing with a clam head and a solid kicking game getting them home in a tight one. Most importantly the Broncos defense stood up for the second week in a row and if they can maintain the rage on that side of the ball, they have the attack to match it with most teams in the competition this season.

Adam Reynolds was solid in his Broncos debut.Source: Getty Images

4. ROOSTERS

Last week’s ranking: 5th (up one spot)

Analysis: The Roosters put their shock defeat to the Knights in Round 1 behind them with a clinical 26-12 win over the Sea Eagles. James Tedesco proved why he is still the most consistent fullback in the game with a starring display, while Siosiua Taukeiaho led the pack from the front after being promoted to the starting team. Sam Walker put a shaky first round performance behind him and combined well with Luke Keary, with Trent Robinson’s side back on track for a top four spot this season.

James Tedesco was back to his best in Round 2.Source: Getty Images

3. STORM

Last week’s ranking: 2nd (down one spot)

Analysis: The Storm were cruising to victory against the Rabbitohs after 60 minutes before a sin bin saw them do it the hard way in golden point in a 15-14 win. Cameron Munster was impressive in his return and Ryan Papenhuyzen showed his class to ice the match winning field goal. However, man-of-the-match Harry Grant is out this week after contracting Covid, which will put a massive strain on their hooker depth, with Brandon Smith already sidelined. The Storm’s injury crisis is the only thing keeping them from the top two spots in the power rankings this week.

Harry Grant was best on the ground in the win over the Rabbitohs.Source: Getty Images

2. KNIGHTS

Last week’s ranking: 3rd (up one spot)

Analysis: The surprise packets of the opening fortnight of the season, the Knights dominated the admittedly woeful Tigers 26-4 to remain unbeaten and on top of the table. More importantly, the Knights showed they can fill a massive void with the side not missing a beat despite Kalyn Ponga being a late scratching through injury. The Knights have now conceded just 10 points in their first two games and if they can keep up that commitment in defense, their attack can only improve. Dane Gagai looks like being one of the buys of the season and halves Jake Clifford and Adam Clune are playing above themselves, so the Knights can continue to shake up the NRL this year.

Jake Clifford is leading the Dally M count.Source: Getty Images

1. PANTHERS

Last week’s ranking: 1st (no movement)

Analysis: The defending premiers may not have been at their best in their 20-16 win over the Dragons, but they still got the job done. Viliame Kikau answered his critics with a superb showing in front of his family, while Isaah Yeo and Jarome Luai continue to step up in the absence of Nathan Cleary. Sean O’Sullivan has been solid at halfback, but with Penrith’s main man named in jersey No.24 this week, the Panthers are set to get a whole lot better when he returns from his shoulder injury, even if it’s not this week. That could mean their top spot on the power rankings might be assured for a while yet.

William Kikau was superb against the Dragons.Source: Getty Images

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