Round One of the 2023 season saw the super coach get his first win with the Dolphins, two drop-goal victories and of course the Warriors winning their first game back on home soil.
The Edge of the Crowd NRL team put their heads together to rank where each team is positioned after Round One. Power Rankings are based on what team is best positioned for the whole season rather than a week-to-week performance.
Pre-season predictions are included in brackets.
1 - South Sydney Rabbitohs (3rd)
Despite being premiership contenders for 2023 the South Sydney Rabbitohs overcame their first challenge of the season defeating the Cronulla Sharks in convincing fashion at PointsBet Stadium.
Lachlan Ilias starred with heroics at both ends of the park while captain Cameron Murray stood up once again leading the charge in defence (51 tackles).
The Rabbitohs have a difficult month ahead with a five-day turnaround and a Thursday night clash against the Penrith Panthers. However, another win next week will upgrade the Rabbitohs from premiership contenders to the early favourites.
2 - Brisbane Broncos (8th)
Adam Reynolds and the Brisbane Broncos stunned on Friday night when they took down Penrith on Friday night showing that the Broncos may be in with a chance in 2023 if they can manage their players' physical health throughout the 27-round season.
Herbie Farnworth showed what he was made of in the centre scoring two tries, while forward Payne Haas dominated averaging 10.8 metres from 19 runs.
The Broncos return home to Suncorp in the second round to face the North Queensland Cowboys.
3 - Melbourne Storm (2nd)
It was a depleted Melbourne Storm that defeated the Parramatta Eels in Round One, having lost a handful of players in the off-season to other clubs such as the Dolphins and star fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen out until at least the eighth round.
However, the lone Victorian side looked impressive in the opening match of the season with Harry Grant rising to the occasion in regular play and going even better in golden point to win the match for Storm.
Melbourne is only going to get better as its younger players get more comfortable in the side and its stars return from injury. The second round will be an opportunity to test combinations when Melbourne takes on the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.
4 - Penrith Panthers (1st)
The Penrith Panthers may have lost by the skin of their teeth against the Brisbane Broncos last week but the reigning premiers are still favourites for the 2023 season.
While the scoreboard told one story the stats told another with Penrith leading every attacking stat in its first-round match-up, running 427 metres further for the match despite having only three extra sets to Brisbane's 43.
Pressure will be on, for Thursday night's match against South Sydney, with the Panthers needing to get a win on the board and little excuses able to be made with the side having an extra day between their first and second round.
5 - Manly Sea Eagles (9th)
The Manly Sea Eagles trounced the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in what was one of the most dominant performances of the first round.
Captain Daly Cherry-Evans was right on the money in the scoring three tries in the second half, while the rest of the team dominated across the park only showing a few moments of ill-discipline.
With momentum now behind them the Sea Eagles may resent their second-round bye denying them the opportunity to snatch another win, but they'll take the free two points without any complaints.
6 - North Queensland Cowboys (7th)
As victors of the second one-point game in Round One the North Queensland Cowboys looked incredible in patches and sloppy in others. In the first half, the Cowboys looked like they were set to run away with the match but were brought back to reality in the second half to make it a tight contest.
Kyle Feldt and Tom Dearden led the side for the tackle breaks with five apiece. While Chad Townsend looked at ease at half-back kicking for 310 metres.
The Cowboys travel to Brisbane for Round Two to take on the Broncos in the XXXX Derby on Friday Night.
7 - Paramatta Eels (5th)
It was a devastating loss for the Eels on the season's opening night at home. Going down to the Storm in golden point has certainly pushed the Eels back slightly. Although they are certainly one of the better teams in this competition and the fact they were oh so close proves exactly that.
There were good things to take away for the Eels though with Will Penisini and Junior Paulo both scoring and the Eels youngsters performing as a unit. Reagan Campbell-Gillard also had a great game with 181 run metres including 68 post contact. All the pieces are there for the Eels, it's now about putting it all together.
The Eels will now stay in Sydney for Round Two as they prepare for the Sharks at 6pm on Friday.
8 - Dolphins (14th)
Who would've thought the Redcliffe, wait scrap that, just the Dolphins would win their first match of the season. Wayne Bennett is either a genius, or everyone has underestimated the Dolphins in 2023. They don't have the big names of some of the other sides but they clearly have the fight to take it to the best.
A 28-18 win over the Roosters may have been a surprise but Jamayne Isaako standing up certainly wasn't. He's now on to his third Queensland-based side and stepped up with two tries as well as five goals. Could this finally be the season that Isaako has been promising for so long?
The Dolphins stay in Queensland this week playing the Raiders at Kayo Stadium in the town the Dolphins aren't allowed to name.
9 - St George Illawarra Dragons (11th)
The St George Illawarra Dragons were the first team to experience the bye in 2023, picking up two points for their added week of pre-season. Coach Anthony Griffith still put the side through its paces in training with a big match against the Gold Coast Titans on Sunday night.
10 - Cronulla Sharks (6th)
The Sharks were another one of the sides initially predicted to make finals who have slid back in the rankings after a very average performance in their 27-18 loss to the Bunnies. It was a slow start for the Sharks not scoring until the 19th minute and even then they looked behind the pace.
Wade Graham being sent off in the 66th minute encapsulated the disaster that was this match for the Sharks. That being said there were good performances Braydon Trindall, for instance, who scored a try as well as three goals. And then there was Blayke Brailey who laid a massive 52 tackles. Hopefully just a road bump in what should be a good season.
The Sharks next play the Eeels on Friday night.
11 - Gold Coast Titans (13th)
The Tigers are one of the few teams predicted not to make finals to actually move up in these rankings. The Titans had a great win over the Tigers in Sydney even fending off a couple of second half tries by the Tigers.
Phil Sami was the clear standout being on the receiving end of some great work on the left edge before scoring again just 10 minutes later. With 28 tackles and 170 run metres, David Fifita was of course a beast again both while attacking and defending. Much of the Titans' season will come down to how he performs.
The Titans are in Sydney once again this weekend taking on the Dragons.
12 - New Zealand Warriors (15th)
In their first post-covid match back in New Zealand the Warriors rallied to get an unexpected win against the Knights on Friday night. It wasn't without a small heart attack for Warriors fans though with a couple of last-minute tackles ensuring the 2023 season and new era would start with a win.
The Warriors didn't have a single stand out player, no one scored more than once, the Warriors play a team game and it was a team win. Tohu Harris was a beast on the defensive end though laying a massive 54 tackles to get in our Team of the Week.
The Warriors now come back to Australia to take on the Roosters Saturday afternoon.
13 - Canberra Raiders (10th)
It was a thriller that was the Cowboys just get past the Raiders by one point. That being said it was a game the Raiders were hoping to win and a loss puts them behind where they wanted to be. It might be early in the season but every win counts. It was a slow start but the Raiders should be pleased with how they came back in this match.
A late first half try and conversion saw the Cowboys take a 18-6 lead into halftime before two tries in the second half saw the Raiders square things up. Emre Guler was a standout coming off the bench almost sealing a win. He certainly won't be on the bench for long if he keeps up this form in 2023.
The Raiders will now get a taste of the Dolphins as they travel to Queensland this weekend.
14 - Sydney Roosters (4th)
The biggest drop of the week has seen the Roosters going from double chance certainties to cellar dwellers. While this ranking change may seem dramatic there were almost no positives for the Roosters to take out of the match that saw them lose to the Dolphins.
Perhaps it was the big crowd, perhaps it was not knowing how the new side would play but the Roosters were frankly terrible. While the Roosters got the early lead thanks to a Joseph Sua'ali'i try, it didn't last long before the Dolphins got on top. There will be plenty of lessons for the Roosters who need to bounce back well in Round Two.
The Roosters will host the Warriors this weekend.
15 - Wests Tigers (17th)
There isn't a lot to say about the teams sitting on the bottom of the rankings. The Tigers played a bad game against the Titans at home, a game they would have been hoping to win. The Tigers are certainly building something but losing home matches against other bottom-eight sides will not help at all.
Adam Doueihi was the best of a bad bunch on the weekend with his 94 metres run and five tackle busts. There is no doubt the Tigers will win games this year but whether they can win more than the four games they won last year is yet to be seen.
The Tigers next play the Knights on Sunday.
16 - Newcastle Knights (16th)
The Knights are the only team this week to finish Power Rankings in the same spot they started. While we are likely to see it more going forward the Knights won't be happy that they are the first. No one is expecting a massive season from the nights but last weekend's efforts were abysmal.
It's always tough going to New Zealand to play, it's of course the longest travel in the NRL but that should be no excuse for the 20-12 loss. The late efforts were good but taking 60 minutes to get into a match won't see Newcastle win too many this year.
The Knights will next play the Tigers on Sunday afternoon.
17 - Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (12th)
If it was hard to take positives out of the Knights or Tigers matches the Bulldogs had an even worse weekend. A massive 31-6 loss to Manly was certainly not the way the Dogs were hoping to start the season.
A lone try to Reed Mahoney was the standout moment in a match without highlights for the Dogs. They did some good recruiting during the off-season and will no doubt pick things up but a big loss was not a good way to kick things off.
The Bulldogs now have the task of playing the Storm in Melbourne.
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