NRL Power Rankings: Panthers cruise, Roosters stumble as Origin period begins

Plenty of movement in the power rankings this week with the Bulldogs, Broncos, Cowboys and Rabbitohs climbing the ladder as the Roosters and Eels get a couple of wake-up calls.

Here's where your club sits heading into round 15.

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 had six players involved in last week's State of Origin opener but are showing no signs of fatigue yet, smashing Newcastle by 36 points on Sunday -- their biggest win of the season and their fifth victory on the trot. Winning has become so predictable for the Panthers now that the most intriguing story around the club is whether assistant coach Cameron Ciraldo will be poached by one of the Tigers, Bulldogs or Warriors.

This week's opponent: Warriors

2. Storm

Last week: 2

Rookie winger Grant Anderson scored twice on debut as the Storm got the better of the Roosters in a fierce contest on Saturday, with Marion Seve also grabbing a double and Jahrome Hughes laying on a couple of tries. Melbourne may have preferred to win by a bigger margin considering the Roosters lost both their halves to injuries during the game, but things are on track at least with back-to-back wins after a couple of heavy losses against Penrith and the Cowboys.

This week's opponent: Broncos

3. Sharks

Last week: 5

Alarm bells were ringing when Cronulla found themselves trailing 12-0 against the Warriors early on, but five tries in 25 minutes swung momentum their way in a 38-16 win. Matt Moylan had an excellent game in attack while wingers Ronaldo Mulitalo and Sione Katoa combined for five tries -- Mulitalo has now scored 10 in his past 10 games.

This week's opponent: Titans

4. Broncos

Last week: 6

Kevin Walters described Saturday's win over Canberra as one of the bravest performances he's seen as either a player or coach at the Broncos, with his team having lost Payne Haas, Adam Reynolds, Herbie Farnworth and promising playmaker Ezra Mam to injuries during the game. It stretches Brisbane's winning streak to seven -- their longest such streak since 2015, when they made the grand final -- and in livewire Mam they may have unearthed the perfect foil for Reynolds in the halves.

This week's opponent: Storm

5. Cowboys

Last week: 7

Another week, another win, with North Queensland getting past the Dragons with a comfortable 31-12 scoreline. And they did it without Maroons representatives Jeremiah Nanai and Reuben Cotter, while also losing back-rower Heilum Luki to a season-ending injury. They'll miss Luki this week but are set to sign Luciano Leilua a year early, a very capable replacement. This week's battle against a Manly side coming off two big wins will be an intriguing one.

This week's opponent: Sea Eagles

6. Eels

Last week: 3

While half the competition was in action last weekend, Brad Arthur took the opportunity to give his players a five-day break for the first time during the team's bye round. After a genuinely shocking thrashing at the hands of the last-placed Bulldogs on Monday, it's safe to say it backfired. Complacency is the best explanation for the Eels' dire performance against a fired-up Canterbury side, and at least they've already shown this year they can step up for the big games. If they struggle again this week the doubts will grow about whether they are a genuine contender.

This week's opponent: Roosters

7. Roosters

Last week: 4

There are a couple of ways to look at this week's game against Melbourne. On the one hand, a 26-18 loss isn't a bad result considering Luke Keary was knocked out after half an hour and Sam Walker left the field midway through the second half. On the other, the Roosters will need both of those guys back quickly with a couple of monster games against Parramatta and Penrith coming up. They are certainly a better team than their 7-7 record suggests, but if they go on a losing streak here it could be a genuine battle to secure a spot in the finals.

This week's opponent: Eels

8. Rabbitohs

Last week: 9

Alex Johnston brought up his 150th career try with a hat-trick in Saturday's win over the Titans, with Damien Cook and Cameron Murray backing up from Origin I. They're back into the top half of our rankings and obviously have the talent to play finals footy. Expect another win against St George Illawarra this round.

This week's opponent: Dragons

9. Raiders

Last week: 8

An away trip to an in-form Broncos is never an easy prospect but Brisbane were ripe for the picking on Saturday when Adam Reynolds, Payne Haas and Herbie Farnworth all left the field with injuries. The Raiders will be frustrated they couldn't get the win in those conditions, after such a strong result against the Roosters a week earlier. Ricky Stuart will be expecting a couple of wins over Newcastle and the Dragons ahead of their round 17 bye.

This week's opponent: Knights

10. Sea Eagles

Last week: 10

Manly have thrashed the Warriors and Tigers in the past couple of weeks, with Reuben Garrick stepping up admirably in the absence of star fullback Tom Trbojevic. Is it a sign the Sea Eagles have turned the corner after three straight losses? Or does it just cement their reputation as flat-track bullies? Des Hasler's team has beaten every bottom-eight opponent and lost to every top-eight opponent so far in 2022 -- can they snap that trend against North Queensland?

This week's opponent: Cowboys

11. Dragons

Last week: 11

After leaving Townsville with a 19-point loss to the Cowboys the Dragons go into round 15 with a 6-7 record, having played six games against bottom-eight opponents and seven against top-eight sides. They're in a similar position to the Sea Eagles in that regard, but the gap between the two is in points differential -- Manly have a for-and-against of -2; the Dragons are -92. If St George Illawarra are to rise out of mid-table obscurity they'll need to fix that up or start beating some of the league's top teams.

This week's opponent: Rabbitohs

12. Bulldogs

Last week: 16

What a win! Josh Addo-Carr and Matt Burton were superb as the Bulldogs routed Parramatta, producing the kind of game Canterbury fans would have dreamed of when the star duo signed with the club last year. Addo-Carr scored a hat-trick to continue his superb form since being left out of the NSW Origin team, Burton set up three tries and kicked five goals, and the Dogs have finally found a way to score points under the guidance of interim coach Mick Potter. Things are looking up for the first time in a long time.

This week's opponent: Wests Tigers

13. Wests Tigers

Last week: 12

The Tigers have lost their last two games by 26 points apiece but the more interesting stuff is happening off the field: Michael Maguire is gone; Brett Kimmorley is interim coach; the club is reportedly laying out the red carpet for Penrith assistant Cameron Ciraldo; Adam Doueihi is fit again; and Luciano Leilua has been released from his contract early ahead of next year's planned move to the Cowboys. Last week fans' sympathies were with Maguire, this week their frustrations are over Leilua's exit (with no obvious replacement incoming), but the move allows the Tigers to tidy up their salary cap situation ahead of the 2023 campaign which club bosses are obviously focused on already.

This week's opponent: Bulldogs

14. Knights

Last week: 13

A 42-2 thrashing by the Panthers has put the pressure on coach Adam O'Brien, and it's the fifth straight flogging they've suffered at home -- after Brisbane (36-12), Melbourne (50-2), Parramatta (39-2) and Manly (30-6). But the really important games are coming up, with Newcastle facing two other teams also outside the top eight. If they can beat Canberra and the Gold Coast, and potentially a depleted Rabbitohs side ahead of Origin III, they'll keep their slim finals hopes alive. If not, they look destined for a battle to avoid the wooden spoon.

This week's opponent: Raiders

15. Titans

Last week: 14

Confidence is down at the Titans after nine defeats from their past 10 games, and there's no obvious solution to their problems in the short term. Improvement will come, sure, but with a crop of key players all in their early 20s we're talking about years rather than weeks. Tino Fa'asuamaleaui continues to lead from the front -- he had two tries, five tackle breaks and 177 metres against the Rabbitohs -- but it's not nearly enough at this stage.

This week's opponent: Sharks

16. Warriors

Last week: 15

The New Zealanders made the perfect start against the Sharks -- completing their first nine sets and taking an early 12-0 lead -- but they had seemingly lost control of things by halftime with a 24-12 deficit. Their eventual 22-point loss follows last week's 32-point thrashing at the hands of Manly, and it could get even uglier against Penrith this week.

This week's opponent: Panthers