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Power Rankings: Broncos charging; Sea Eagles rebound

Another round of uncertainty in the NRL due to the coronavirus pandemic threw up new challenges.

The interesting thing for me was all the teams who flew in on game-day - whilst they started slow in some games - ended up winning.

They adapted to the situation a lot quicker and better than the teams that probably took the travel for granted.

1. Canberra Raiders (Last week: 1)

A soft draw to start the year with the bottom two teams. Their attack is a little bit questionable at the moment. They've scored tries just by being better than the other team - I don't know if they've really torn anyone apart. We'll get a good look at what they do with the Dragons this week, but I'm looking forward to the round-four clash against Manly. Canberra have done what they've had to do to win and that's what Ricky Stuart would be happy with at this point.

2. Melbourne Storm (2)

The Storm were nowhere near their best against Cronulla - probably their worst performance I've seen calling a game for a long, long time. Melbourne produced uncharacteristic errors, but they showed they'll come back at teams if they're left within distance. The big three down there now is Tui Kamikamica, Nelson Asofa-Solomona and Jesse Bromwich. My god, they're huge.

3. Parramatta Eels (4)

The Eels probably thought it was going to be an easy one when they led 12-0 after six minutes but the Titans made them work for it. They ended up scoring most of their points late. There's a huge question mark over what Parramatta may do to replace the injured Reed Mahoney. They need a genuine number nine, because playing Clint Gutherson there didn't work for his game or the attack.

4. Brisbane Broncos (6)

I'm a little bit surprised at the way the Broncos have played, but I'm not surprised at the talent in their team. Their forward pack dominated South Sydney on the weekend and their halves were classy enough to get them across the line. Anthony Milford looks like he's really comfortable with Brodie Croft - the big question now is if Croft is out injured, does Milford go back to trying to do it all himself or do they get someone in there to help steer them around?

5. Sydney Roosters (3)

I've given a little bit of leeway to the back-to-back champs. They've lost two in a row but I think they're going to be better having gone through that. With Josh Morris coming across and Boyd Cordner coming back, the Roosters will possibly be around that top three-to-six range. I'd like to see Kyle Flanagan step up a bit more with his kicking game and take some pressure off Luke Keary. I don't think you can ever write the Roosters off.

6. Manly Sea Eagles (8)

Great rebound from the Sea Eagles against the Roosters. My goodness, what a player Tom Trbojevic is and Daly Cherry-Evans came through in the clutch again. If I was allowed to change my tip, I'd like to get on Manly to be in the top two or three provided everyone stays healthy. They grind and work hard for each other and they've got two of the top six best players in the competition.

Get Caught Up: Round 2

7. Penrith Panthers (7)

I couldn't move the Panthers this week. As impressive as they were in round one, they took their foot off the pedal in their latest win over the Dragons. They had a 12-0 lead and really put the cue in the rack when a bit of adversity went against them. You can't do that if you're going to be a premiership threat. Their real test comes this week: on the road against Melbourne where they've only won once in the past 15 years.

8. South Sydney Rabbitohs (5)

South Sydney's attack probably isn't as good as what I thought it'd be, but I knew it would take time. With Cody Walker, Adam Reynolds, Damien Cook and Latrell Mitchell, you'd expect a few more points and more enterprise in attack than what we've seen so far. Their on-line defence and scramble has been a problem, which is uncharacteristic for a Wayne Bennett-coached side.

9. North Queensland Cowboys (11)

I didn't tip the Cowboys in my top eight but they're probably a bit better than I thought they'd be with the growing combination between Scott Drinkwater, Michael Morgan and Valentine Holmes. And they've got a nice dummy-half rotation. I've been surprised with their attack to start the year and I think they're going to be pushing for a spot inside the eight.

10. Newcastle Knights (12)

I wouldn't say it's been a soft opening for Newcastle against the Warriors and Wests Tigers, but it hasn't been the hardest draw either. They can only beat whoever's in front of them, however. Adam O'Brien wouldn't have been happy with the 24 points they conceded on the weekend but certainly their defensive scramble and being able to deal with adversity given they travelled down on game-day was impressive. They'll be better next week for the run.

Match Highlights: Wests Tigers v Knights

11. Cronulla Sharks (10)

John Morris would be ruing that last 10 minutes against the Storm when they lead 10-4 and didn't come up with a field goal. The pressure goes straight back on Shaun Johnson after a tough night out. Their attack just wasn't straight enough and I think Morris would have wanted more from his number one playmaker.

12. Wests Tigers (9)

Michael Maguire would be disappointed with what his team dished up after a gritty round one win. They had a real chance to go 2-0 but some of their defensive efforts on an edge were really disappointing and they conceded some soft tries to Newcastle. It was almost like two steps forward, one step back for the Wests Tigers.

13. St George Illawarra Dragons (14)

The Dragons may have scored five tries in a loss to Penrith but their attack isn't great. They're mainly scoring opportunistically. The injection of Matt Dufty at fullback I thought paid dividends and I'd probably keep him there. But again, the lack of communication between the 9, 7, 6 and 1 in crucial stages hurt them. They're letting in really soft tries and their attack isn't good enough to cover up those mistakes.

14. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (13)

The Bulldogs again lacked imagination with their attack after a positive start against the Cowboys. There was little direction from the halves and that's why Lachlan Lewis got taken off for Jake Averillo. I think having a halves option on the bench isn't good for the confidence of Lachlan or any young half. Canterbury have gone backwards on their finish to last year as they did the year before, which is why I was cautious about putting them higher in the rankings.

15. New Zealand Warriors (16)

The humanity side of me wanted me to get them higher after what they've done to keep the NRL going. Unfortunately, at the moment the Warriors are lacking some direction in their attack. They look really unenergetic and un-enthused. I'd like to see them mix it up a little bit with the ball.

16. Gold Coast Titans (15)

The Titans tried really, really hard against Parramatta and despite the result there were some good things on show. The scoreline was always going to blow out with about 25 minutes to go, but they produced some good defence and have built a base for what they want to do in that respect. You can't doubt their effort but they have to control the ball.

The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARLC, NRL clubs or state associations.