NRL Power Rankings: Can the Tigers keep roaring?

The top four appears to be set in stone, but the race for the eight remains wide open with a few big guns misfiring and the Cowboys, Dragons, Broncos and Tigers leading the best of the rest.

Here's where your club sits after seven rounds.

Note: Throughout the year, ESPN will rank all 16 teams, from top to bottom, taking into account which teams are playing the best footy, injuries, each team's recent opponents, and which teams are looking most like premiership contenders.


1. Panthers

Last week: 1

The NRL's only undefeated team made light work of the Raiders with a 36-6 win, with Stephen Crichton scoring a hat-trick, Nathan Cleary producing a couple of try assists and the league's best defence shutting down the misfiring Green Machine. They'll make it eight from eight against the Gold Coast this weekend.

This week's opponent: Titans

2. Storm

Last week: 2

While the Panthers boast the league's best defence Melbourne has the most lethal attack, and with 10 tries, 30 goals and a field goal to his name Ryan Papenhuyzen has scored 101 points on his own -- more than the Tigers, Knights, Raiders or Bulldogs. Harry Grant leads the league in dummy-half runs, and their back-up No.9 Brandon Smith is the reigning Dally M hooker of the year. They crushed the Warriors 70-10 on Monday and will be looking to rack up another big score against the injury-hit Knights this Sunday.

This week's opponent: Knights

3. Sharks

Last week: 3

Siosifa Talakai produced one of the great first-half performances of all time against Manly on Thursday night, with two tries and three try assists in another lethal performance in the centres. It pretty much ended the contest, with Manly's second-half fightback just giving the result a more respectable-looking 34-22 scoreline. The Sharks have well and truly made the leap from top-eight team to genuine contender; now Craig Fitzgibbon's top priority will be to keep this momentum going.

This week's opponent: Broncos

4. Eels

Last week: 4

Parramatta's injury crisis in the outside backs is so dire that Dylan Brown -- one of the form halves of the competition -- was forced to play in the centres against Newcastle on the weekend. It didn't matter, with Brown among five try-scorers as the Eels routed the Knights 39-2. Isaiah Papali'i scored twice and is in terrific form of late, and the team is firing on all cylinders despite their backline depth being put to the test.

This week's opponent: Cowboys

5. Sea Eagles

Last week: 5

Manly can take something out of their second-half comeback after being ripped to pieces by Siosifa Talakai and the Sharks early in Thursday night's loss to Cronulla, but it's yet another case of the Sea Eagles coming up short against one of the league's better teams. It sets up a really interesting battle with Souths -- another top-eight contender reeling from a round-seven defeat.

This week's opponent: Rabbitohs

6. Roosters

Last week: 6

Trent Robinson and the Roosters are no strangers to starting the season slowly and timing their run for the finals: in 2018 they were ranked seventh through seven rounds with a 4-3 record, and went on to win the minor (and major) premiership. They currently have a 4-3 record that doesn't appear to reflect the talent in their team, especially with their defeats coming against the Dragons, Rabbitohs and Knights -- teams that haven't exactly been setting the NRL alight this year. Luke Keary hasn't been quite himself in his return from an ACL injury but there's still plenty of time for the Tricolours to get their groove back.

This week's opponent: Bulldogs

7. Rabbitohs

Last week: 7

A shock loss to the Wests Tigers continued a form line that has been all over the place for Souths this year. The absence of Latrell Mitchell has hurt their strike power in attack, although at least Cody Walker is starting to get back to his old self with a try and a try assist against the Tigers. Cameron Murray remains one of the standout players of 2022 so far and with injuries striking early he played out the full 80 minutes for the first time this year, making a whopping 66 tackles.

This week's opponent: Sea Eagles

8. Cowboys

Last week: 9 The Cowboys' clash with the Titans appeared to be a battle of two intriguing mid-table Queensland teams but turned out to be a mismatch, with Scott Drinkwater firing at fullback again, Jason Taumalolo having another strong game at lock and back-rowers Heilum Luki and Jeremiah Nanai both scoring tries for the second straight week. Todd Payten has his team performing well enough to play finals football this year, though they'll face a tougher test in round 8.

This week's opponent: Eels

9. Dragons

Last week: 10

The Dragons went into Monday's traditional Anzac Day match with the Roosters as underdogs and left it as 14-12 winners, with Ben Hunt once again showing he's one of the premier halfbacks in the competition. Hunt ranks first in the NRL for line engagements, equal first in 40/20 kicks, second in try assists and third in kick metres, and he outperformed star Roosters duo Luke Keary and Sam Walker on Monday. Jaydn Su'A has been one of the team's best recruits and his syndesmosis injury is a real blow.

This week's opponent: Wests Tigers

10. Broncos

Last week: 14 A shock first-round win over Souths and two victories over the Bulldogs have given Brisbane a 3-4 start to the season, with Kevin Walters' side within reaching distance of the top eight. Te Maire Martin played well at fullback in his first game for his new club but it was star recruit Adam Reynolds who stole the show in Friday's win over the Dogs with a try, three try assists and five goals. Cory Paix also scored a try and seems to have locked down a job-sharing hooker role with Billy Walters. Now, can they match it with one of the NRL's elite teams?

This week's opponent: Sharks

11. Wests Tigers

Last week: 15

What a difference a fortnight makes. Two weeks ago everyone was debating Michael Maguire's future, and now his team is celebrating back-to-back one-point victories, with halves Jackson Hastings and Luke Brooks both taking their chances to be the match-winner. Hastings has been superb at halfback and is getting more touches of the ball than any other player, while Brooks has embraced his role as secondary playmaker and has looked better than he has in years. Can they keep the dream run going?

This week's opponent: Dragons

12. Warriors

Last week: 8

Nathan Brown now holds the unenviable record of having suffered 70-10 defeats as both a captain and as a coach after Monday's disastrous loss against the Storm, after his Dragons team was beaten by Melbourne by the same scoreline back in 2000. They've got a few new faces in the team this week as well after Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (concussion), Josh Curran (knee) and Aaron Pene (suspension) were ruled out. On the plus side, it's a pretty good time to be facing the struggling Raiders.

This week's opponent: Raiders

13. Knights

Last week: 11

Oh boy. Such a bright start to the season has faded fast with Dane Gagai growing an ever-expanding injured list and the Knights slumping to five straight defeats -- a streak almost certain to be extended to six this Sunday. They were no match for the Eels last weekend, with the understrength forward pack struggling and the inexperience of halves duo Jake Clifford and Adam Clune starting to show. Newcastle have a month of winnable match-ups coming up, they just need to put in a spirited effort against Melbourne first.

This week's opponent: Storm

14. Titans

Last week: 12 This could be the toughest three-week stretch of the Titans' season -- after being thumped 30-4 by the Cowboys they face the practically unbeatable Panthers this week before a trip to Mackay to face the Roosters. Their current losing run is especially frustrating because we know they can compete with anyone on their day -- they got within a try of the high-flying Eels, twice -- but at this stage Justin Holbrook continues to tweak the roles of his key players with AJ Brimson shifting to his old fullback role and David Fifita returning to the forward pack after being tried in the centres last week.

This week's opponent: Panthers

15. Raiders

Last week: 13

The Raiders aren't as bad as this ranking suggest -- their tumble has as much to do with the two teams below them grabbing rare wins -- but after four straight defeats something needs to change fast. Fortunately one thing that is changing is the strength of their opponents, with games against bottom-eight teams the Warriors and Bulldogs coming up. Canberra have actually only played one game against a bottom-eight team this season (a two-point win over the Titans in round 3) so there's every chance they can start climbing the ladder soon.

This week's opponent: Warriors

16. Bulldogs

Last week: 16

After starting the season with three close games -- one win, two losses -- the Bulldogs are in a real rut now, having been beaten by 20 points or more in each of their past four games. Heavy defeats at the hands of the Storm, Panthers and Rabbitohs are understandable; a flogging against the Broncos, not so much. There are still some positives -- Josh Addo-Carr scored twice against Brisbane, and young rookie Jacob Kiraz looks a real find (albeit one who is ineligible to play again until round 11, unless more injuries strike).

This week's opponent: Roosters