NRL Power Rankings: Roosters starting to crow

The Roosters are up, the Sharks are down and the Cowboys got a wake-up call as half the NRL competition heads into their bye round.

Here's where your club sits heading into round 13.

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

Penrith came up against a red-hot Cowboys team, fresh from bringing down the mighty Melbourne Storm -- and it was a mismatch. The Panthers breezed to a 22-0 win at home, their third victory on the trot and 11th in 12 games this season. Now comes potentially the trickiest portion of the season with a crop of the team's best players leaving for Origin duty.

This week's opponent: Bulldogs

2. Storm

Last week: 2

Melbourne were nowhere near their best without Harry Grant and Ryan Papenhuyzen but still got the job done with a 20-point win over Manly, with Cameron Munster on fire. The five-eighth set up one try, scored two himself, and forced four turnovers from the Sea Eagles to continue his reign as the NRL's king of the one-on-one strip. A well-timed bye gives the Storm's injured stars an extra week to recuperate ahead of a couple of blockbusters against the Roosters and Broncos.

This week's opponent: Bye

3. Eels

Last week: 4

The Eels step up a spot after a good win over the Raiders, coming home strong in the second half after trailing at the halftime break. Dylan Brown was terrific with three line breaks, 10 tackle breaks and a couple of tries, Ryan Matterson had huge numbers off the bench again and the Eels produced some genuine razzle dazzle in one of the best team tries of the season -- finished by former Raider Bailey Simonsson (who also bagged a double).

This week's opponent: Bye

4. Roosters

Last week: 7

Here they come. The Roosters have played competition heavyweights Parramatta, Penrith and Cronulla in the past three weeks and won twice, with their 20-point thumping of the Sharks arguably their best win of the season. James Tedesco was electric on Saturday while wingers Daniel Tupou and Joseph Suaalii have both earned call-ups for Brad Fittler's NSW Origin squad. The Tricolours appear to be timing their run well once again and they could take off in the second half of the season.

This week's opponent: Raiders

5. Sharks

Last week: 3

After a brilliant start to the year the Sharks have had a few wake-up calls in the past seven weeks, going loss-win-loss-win-loss-win-loss including 20-point drubbings at the hands of the Raiders and Roosters. Are they really genuine challengers, or just the new Dragons -- specialists at winning games in the first half of the season? Cronulla will be hoping star halfback Nicho Hynes will come back even sharper after spending time in NSW camp as the Blues' new super-sub utility.

This week's opponent: Bye

6. Broncos

Last week: 6

At halftime on Friday night it looked like the absence of Adam Reynolds had caught up with Brisbane -- trailing 24-4 against the Titans. But with just under half an hour remaining the Broncos stormed back into the contest, a five-try burst carrying them to a 35-24 win. It means they go into their bye on the back of a six-game winning streak, a run that's all the more impressive considering the absence of Reynolds for the last couple.

This week's opponent: Bye

7. Cowboys

Last week: 5

North Queensland's own six-game win streak came to an end against Penrith, with a 22-point thumping at the hands of the premiers bringing them back down to earth a little. The Cowboys have been rewarded for their great start to the year with Reuben Cotter and Jeremiah Nanai joining Valentine Holmes in the Queensland side, with Murray Tualagi and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow in the extended squad. It'll be interesting to see how the Cowboys cope with a few stars away on Origin duty this weekend.

This week's opponent: Titans

8. Raiders

Last week: 8

When the Raiders led 18-16 at halftime against a team as good as the Eels on Sunday it was no real surprise that they'd finish the game on the losing side, but there were promising signs at least for Canberra in a high-quality contest. Jamal Fogarty set up a try in his first game for the club after a long injury layoff, Jack Wighton had another before joining up with the Blues, and Joseph Tapine had a monster return of 234 metres from 20 carries. There are still some kinks to work out -- talented youngster Xavier Savage remains a work-in-progress as a first-grade fullback and livewire dummy-half Tom Starling was only given 25 minutes off the bench -- but this Raiders team is well in the race for a top-eight finish.

This week's opponent: Roosters

9. Rabbitohs

Last week: 10

Plenty to smile about this week for Souths after a 44-18 thrashing of the Tigers, with Alex Johnston scoring a hat-trick on the way to breaking the Rabbitohs' try-scoring record. Halfback Lachlan Ilias is quietly becoming a very handy player, with another couple of try assists on Saturday.

This week's opponent: Bye

10. Sea Eagles

Last week: 9

An understrength Melbourne side was there for the taking on Thursday night but unfortunately the Sea Eagles didn't get close, and it's hard to see them competing with the top sides without the brilliance of Tom Trbojevic. They should bounce back this week against the erratic Warriors, even without Daly Cherry-Evans pulling the strings.

This week's opponent: Warriors

11. Titans

Last week: 11

Much has already been made of the Titans' horror capitulation against Brisbane on Friday night, blowing a 20-point lead with half an hour left to somehow lose 35-24. Again, the Titans have the least experience in the league when it comes to players in key positions, so these kinds of wild form swings are always a chance of happening. A big factor in their demise was the loss of halfback Toby Sexton -- in the 48 minutes when he was on the field the Gold Coast outscored the Broncos 24-4. The playmaking trio of Sexton, AJ Brimson and Jayden Campbell is loaded with talent and the more time they can share at NRL level the better.

This week's opponent: Cowboys

12. Dragons

Last week: 12

Three tries in the opening half hour against the Bulldogs should've killed off that contest, but the Dragons conceded the next three and had to battle for a 34-24 win in the end. But a win's a win, and meanwhile Cody Ramsey is playing well at fullback and Ben Hunt has hit the front of the Dally M race and won the Queensland No.9 jersey.

This week's opponent: Bye

13. Wests Tigers

Last week: 13

A week after a confidence-boosting win over the Bulldogs the Tigers are back in familiar territory, with more headlines around the future of coach Michael Maguire following a heavy defeat. They go into the bye with three wins to their name (two by a single point) and will need to perform well during the Origin period to at least keep those headlines at bay.

This week's opponent: Bye

14. Knights

Last week: 15

Newcastle beat the Warriors in one of the more forgettable games of the season to climb a spot in our rankings and stay within reach of the top eight. The win came despite the Knights trailing in most key stats, with new-look halves duo Anthony Milford and Jake Clifford getting a try assist each while David Klemmer -- seemingly out of the running for an Origin call-up these days -- topping the metre count and the tackle count for the forward pack.

This week's opponent: Bye

15. Warriors

Last week: 14

The Warriors led 12-0 early, dominated possession, made more metres and had fewer missed tackles than the Knights on Saturday -- and got beaten 24-16. Errors at key moments proved costly and the Warriors now find themselves on a four-game losing streak heading into this week's match against Manly.

This week's opponent: Sea Eagles

16. Bulldogs

Last week: 16

Sure, they lost again and remain at the foot of our power rankings (and the NRL ladder). But on the positive side -- Canterbury's attack is finally showing some sign of life! After failing to score 20 points in any of their first 10 games this season the Dogs have now done it in back-to-back weeks, and they could achieve the feat once more against a weakened Penrith side. It is the best possible time to be playing the reigning premiers.

This week's opponent: Panthers