NRL 2023 Power Rankings - Round Three

Plenty of changes this week in the Power Rankings as teams show us exactly what they're made of this season.

Round three of the NRL saw another surprise win by the Dolphins, some more high-scoring matches and some surprise blowouts. Once again the NRL is delivering everything we wanted.

The Edge of the Crowd NRL team put their heads together to rank where each team is positioned after Round Three. Power Rankings are based on what team is best positioned for the whole season rather than a week-to-week performance.

Last week's rankings are included in brackets.

1 - Brisbane Broncos (1)

There is no reason to take the Broncos off the top spot this week after another big win. This time against the Dragons at home, a match that saw them run home 40-18 winners.

The Broncos were actually behind going into the second half of the match but six second-half tries including four in the last 10 minutes proceed just how fit the Broncos are and how able they are to run out a full 80 minutes.

The Broncos are set to face the new kids on the block in Round Four forced to be the guest in their own home when the Dolphins host the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium.

2 - Dolphins (4)

The Dolphins continue to prove everyone wrong in 2023, setting all kinds of records and winning their third match of the season. They've done it at home, in front of big crowds and now away from home with a 36-20 win over the Knights.

The Dolphins might not have the massive names of other sides but Wayne Bennett is doing something special. The Tongan Tesi Niu was the best of the bunch with a hattrick of tries including two in the crucial first half.

Wayne Bennett and the Dolphins are looking to write a rivalry in the history books this weekend when they return to Suncorp Stadium to take on the Brisbane Broncos, with the winner set to sit on the top of the table post-match.

3 - Penrith Panthers (2)

The Panthers did not play in round three and only move down because the Dolphins were so good.

The Panthers return on Thursday night fresh off a 14-day break to face the Eels in what could be a brutal Grand Final rematch.

4 - Manly Sea Eagles(5)

Manly kicked the round off in style on Thursday night with a big win over the fancied Eels. It was a close battle with a late comeback but the Sea Eagles managed to get home with a 34-30 win.

This was a try-scoring frenzy of a match with the first coming at just the 8-minute mark. But it was the last 10 minutes that saw all the action. Manly got over twice to just hang on as the Eels just over three times just before the close.

Still undefeated Manly will be well-rested following a seven-day break and there's no better time for the top three sides to face a walking-wounded South Sydney on Saturday night.

5 - South Sydney Rabbitohs (3)

The Prime Minister won't be happy with this result as the Bunnies lost their second match of the season now putting them outside of the top eight.

It was a tight one on Friday night going down by just two points to the Roosters. Latrell Mitchell did his best at the last moment but when there are 63 minutes between tries the Bunnies were always going to struggle. Like a lot of teams, it's now about putting in 80-minute performances.

With five forwards out due to injury including Tevita Tatola and Shaquai Mitchell, a win over the Manly Sea Eagles may be a tall order on Saturday night, however, it isn't an impossible task with Souths' defensive line shaping up nicely early on in the season.

6 - Sydney Roosters (10)

The Roosters might have beaten the Rabbitohs but their form from the first two weeks just goes against them in the rankings. However, with two wins from three matches, they certainly look like a side on the rise.

Unlike the Bunnies, it was a consistent performance from the Roosters seeing them score twice before the break and again twice after. A late sin bin to Manu was certainly not what they wanted though and something that will need to be worked on going forward.

The Roosters have the bye next week.

7 - Cronulla Sharks (7)

There is no movement for the Sharks who were predicted to finish in the first half of the ladder before the season began. However, with two losses, I the first three rounds they will now need to find a way to fix their side and become more consistent across matches.

It's always tough travelling to Canberra, especially for evening games in the cold but the Sharks paid the price for inaccurate kicking by Trindall, that being the only difference in the 24-20 contest. If they can't rely on their kicking through the season then the Sharks will just have to find a way to score more tries more often.

The Sharks now have the pleasure of trying to be the team that ends the hot streak of the Dolphins. In the wild Dolphins always get over the top of the Sharks but will that be the case this weekend?

8 - St George Illawarra Dragons (6)

A slight bump down the rankings for the Dragons after their loss to the Broncos away from home. While they weren't expected to win this match the fact it was a 22-point loss and a massive second-half collapse means they had to move down.

Jack Bird was the best in the forwards with 43 tackles, 13 more than the next-best in the match. The Dragons just didn't see enough ball movement with the top three in terms of metres run all being Broncos players.

The Dragons now get a little bit of time to think about their progress with them playing the final match of round four against the Sharks.

9 - North Queensland Cowboys (8)

A home loss against the Warriors of all teams certainly wasn't on the bingo card of the Cowboys going into this match. A good start was wasted in the back half with not a single point being added to the Cowboys' score after the 16th minute.

There isn't anything good at all to say about this performance. Reece Robson was okay with 46 tackles but still, the defence let through 26 points to just 12. Plenty to learn from this match.

The Cowboys take part in the second Queensland derby of the round against the Titans, both teams have plenty to prove going into the fourth round with the Cowboys needing a win at home to steer their season back on track.

10 - New Zealand Warriors (15)

In contrast, the Cowboys and the Warriors will be hugely excited to get a win in Australia before heading back home. They may not have started all that well defensively but on either side of the break, the Warriors were great scoring four times and keeping things tight in defence.

The only criticism may be the kicking game which saw Johnson miss two of his five attempts, something to be worked on. With the Warriors now sitting in the top four and heading back to NZ they will be very comfortable on the flight over the ditch.

The Warriors return home this weekend to Mt Smart Stadium to face the Bulldogs, in a match that could end up defining the first half of both clubs' seasons.

12 - Gold Coast Titans (12)

The Titans are another Queensland side sitting in the top eight after three rounds. And while they might not stay there they should enjoy it while they can. A 38-34 win over the Storm shows just how good they can be on their night, or afternoon in this case.

It's not often we see matches this high scoring be this close but the fast first-half start was exactly what both teams needed. In the end, though the second half of the Titans scoring three tries was enough. Schoupp was the key scoring two second-half tries to seal the match.

The Titans are hungry to go two in a row and now is the right time with the Cowboys on the precipice of a losing streak. It'll be a tough trip to Townsville with temperatures set to sit in the low 30s for the 4:30 pm start.

10 - Melbourne Storm (9)

The Storm will be both happy and worried about this match. To put on 34 points away from home is a great effort but to let through 38 is a concern of defence. Is the Storm dominance of the last two decades finally on the way out?

It's too early to tell but it's certainly a different-looking side, not so much in personnel but in style than the last few years. Currently sitting 13th on the ladder with just one win the Storm need to find something extra this weekend.

The Storm will be happy to travel home for the week and the crowds will roll into AAMI park on Friday night with the hopes of rallying their side back to winning form. Fortunately for Storm, they'll face the 17th-place Tigers who could still be in recovery mode after their brutal outing last Sunday.

13 - Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs (13)

It was a battle between two lower ladder sides on Saturday afternoon and the Bulldogs managed to finish just that little bit higher at the end of 80 minutes. A 26-22 result shows pretty much perfectly where these sides sit.

The Dogs started perfectly scoring three times within the first half but couldn't follow it up scoring just once in the second. Some great kicking by Flanagan was what gave the Dogs the win in the end. Addo-Carr is the best of the side showing his incredible speed once again scoring twice.

The Bulldogs are off on a long journey out to New Zealand next week as they take on the fourth-placed Warriors at 2 pm on Sunday.

14 - Canberra Raiders (16)

A win for the Raiders, finally, says all of Canberra. The puffer jacket lanyard wearers will be very excited as they buy their 9-dollar coffees in Civic this week.

The Raiders had a touch-and-go season last year and if something doesn't improve soon then we could well see a complete cleanout ahead of 2024. That being said a good win against the Sharks at home certainly showed the signs of a team on the improve.

The Raiders now travel up to Newcastle to play on Sunday afternoon against the Knights. It's a battle of two pretty average teams, but could it be a game we look back on at the end of the season and think 'what if'?

15 - Paramatta Eels (11)

The Eels were fancied coming into the 2023 season but starting with three losses (one of only two teams to do so) has been far from ideal. Wins going forward will be crucial if this side is to avoid finishing the season early.

The Eels did mount a late run-scoring three tries in the last 10 minutes but in the end, it was all just a consolation with Manly never really in trouble. The Eels did show fight which is good but it's now about putting it all together for 80 minutes rather than 10 at a time.

For the second week in a row, the Eels will play the team coming off the bye and in Roud Four, it will be the awaited Grand Final rematch against the Panthers to avoid going 0-4.

16 - Newcastle Knights (14)

The Knights were on the receiving end of yet another surprise Dolphins victory, although at this point are they a surprise? Just three tries were scored by the Knights in their 20-36 loss on Friday night.

Dane Gagai was the best of the bunch but when the bunch are this bad are there any highlights? We knew it would be another rebuilding year for the Knights but how long can the fans put up with performances like this?

The Knights are lucky enough to be able to sleep in their own beds this week before hosting the Raiders in what will be a big game for both teams.

17 - Wests Tigers (15)

Last on the ladder and now rightfully last on the power rankings for the week. It was another loss for the Tigers as they went down 26-22 to the Bulldogs.

This was though the Tiger's best performance of the season. They managed to run out the who game scoring on three occasions in the last 15 minutes, something that couldn't be said about previous weeks. A lot of learning to do for a side clearly under a massive rebuild.

The Tigers are taking a trip down to Melbourne this week to play the Storm in what is potentially a make-or-break match with the Tigers looking to shake off their winless record and avoid cementing their place as the wooden spoon favourites.