Round Four of the 2023 NRL season saw some one-point thrillers, some exciting comebacks and of course the occasional blowout.
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)
Once again there is no reason to take the Broncos off the top of the rankings table. They are the only team to be undefeated through the first four rounds of the season, having beaten the Dolphins by six points on Friday night thanks to two tries in the final 10 minutes of the game. The question about what the best team in Brisbane really has clearly been answered.
This weekend the Broncos will stay at home and host the Wests Tigers in what should be a pretty comfortable win for the ladder leaders.
2 Penrith Panthers (3)
Despite a loss this weekend to the Titans in golden point time the Panthers move up the table due to the Dolphins' loss. The Panthers are still clearly one of the best sides in this competition and will go a long way into September. Unfortunately for the Panthers, their slow start against the Eeels was the difference in what was clearly the best game of the round. Zac Hosking was the best for the Panthers, having 47 tackles along with 82 run metres out of the second row.
The Panthers now move on to Canberra for the early Friday night match. A match the Panthers should win.
3 Dolphins (2)
It may have taken four weeks but the Dolphins finally lost a game. Whether this is the start of a fall from grace is yet to be seen but it's hard to see the Dolphins now getting back up right away. Everything was building up to this match against the Broncos and while they were ahead for a long time, the Dolphins blew it. There is still plenty to like from this side as they build something special over the next few years.
The Dolphins now head south to play St George. This will be an interesting test, to see if the Dolphins can beat sides near the bottom of the table once again.
4 South Sydney Rabbitohs (5)
A pretty average start to the season for the Rabbitohs that now finally seems to be getting back on track. It was the second golden point match of the weekend and while it wasn't as exciting as the first, it was still one of the best matches from the weekend. Cody Walker was clearly the best afield, scoring twice for the Bunnies before Lachlan Ilias got the match-winning point. The Rabbitohs will certainly be a team looking to compete deep into the finals and tight wins like that certainly help move them up the ladder.
The Rabbitohs will now host the Storm at home as they look to move into the top four.
5 Manly Sea Eagles (4)
A one point loss wasn't what Manly wanted going into this weekend but it does prove they can compete with quality sides in this competition like the Rabbitohs. Sitting second on the ladder, having also had their bye week the Sea Eagles will be fancying their chances of a top four finish and double chance. However, with Manly not scoring at all in the second half they still have plenty to work on going forward.
Manly plays at home this weekend hosting the Knights on Saturday afternoon.
6 Sydney Roosters (6)
The Roosters had the bye this weekend and therefore have not moved in the rankings, they will host the Titans at home this weekend.
7 Cronulla Sharks (7)
The biggest win of the weekend belongs to the mighty Sharks after a massive 40-6 trouncing of the Dragons away from home. With two wins from four matches and sitting sixth on the ladder, the Sharks belong right about where predicted at the start of the season. There were plenty of scorers from this match with only Jesse Ramien getting on the board more than once. A thoroughly dominant display by the Sharks.
The Sharks will be hosting the Warriors this weekend as they look to break into the top four.
8 North Queensland Cowboys (9)
While the Dolphins and Broncos were going at it the other Queensland derby, this one off broadway was heating up. The Cowboys got a great win over the weekend with a 24-12 scoreline while playing at home. Four different try scorers for the Cowboys but it was Valentine Holmes who was the best afield with a try of his own as well as kicking successfully on four occasions.
The Cowboys could break into the top eight this week if they can manage a win over the Bulldogs down in Sydney.
9 New Zealand Warriors (10)
Despite being in the top four at the moment the Warriors just don't quite feel like a finals-ready team. With this being the first season back in New Zealand there is still plenty for this team to learn, especially after losing the very talented Reece Walsh in the off-season. However, the Warriors did get the win over the Bulldogs on the weekend by a margin of 16-14. Shaun Johnson was the best of the Warriors scoring a try of his own while converting on two occasions.
It's back to Australia this weekend for the Warriors as they take on the Sharks this Sunday.
10 Melbourne Storm (11)
It's been a pretty disappointing start to the season for the Storm who may finally be coming down the ladder after almost two decades up the top (except for the salary cap years of course). The Storm still have a lot of work to do if they are to climb back up the table in 2023 but their win against Wests was certainly a good place to start. Eliesa Katoa was the best of the Storm with a couple of try assists as well as 115 metres run and 31 tackles, simply a great game.
The Storm are off to Sydney this week to take on the Rabbitohs in a match that should be a much better test for them.
11 St George Illawarra Dragons (8)
One of the biggest drops down the rankings this week belongs to the Dragons after one of the worst performances of the season. An 8-40 loss was certainly not on the radar heading into this season with the Dragons predicted to sit around the top eight. Now with them sitting in 14th having won only one game, the finals look a long way away. Unbelievably the Dragons were actually leading after two tries within five minutes but with no conversions and no second-half tries there was no hope.
St George have the luxury of hosting the Dolphins this weekend. It's a chance to get back up the table.
12 Parramatta Eels (15)
Coming into the season, the Eels were fancied by plenty of pundits with thoughts they were going to improve on last season and finally go deep into the finals. But based on the first month of football the Eels look nothing like a side that could make or play finals. The good news though was over the weekend they beat the much-fancied Panthers in golden point. Is it the start of their season turning around? Who knows, but now their fans will at least have hope, and with most of the season to go there is still a chance.
The Eels will now play the Roosters on Thursday night as they look to turn this single win into a bigger streak.
13 Gold Coast Titans (12)
The Titans came out on the wrong side of the North and South Queensland derby losing 12-24 to the Cowboys in Townsville. It was the second loss of the season for the Titans who are the only Queensland club currently sitting outside the top eight. The Titans got off to a quick start scoring in just the fourth minute before having to wait until the 57th before another try was scored. Simply outclassed by the boys from the North.
The Titans have the bye this weekend.
14 Newcastle Knights (16)
The Knights currently sit 12th on the ladder, having won just two of their four games. Once again this is a side under a clear rebuild so give it a few years and the side should be back in the top half. A 24-14 win over the Raiders was a great effort at home, the win keeps the fans invested in what could be a very dark season the further we get into it. Greg Marzhew had an incredible match running 211 metres and having 12 tackle busts, a complete attacking performance.
The Knights now have to make the trek out to Mudgee to play Manly this weekend, the match kicking off at 3:00pm on Saturday.
15 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (13)
It was a win for New South Wales' most powerful Dogs supporter in Chris Minns over the weekend but a loss for his side. The Bulldogs now sit 10th on the ladder after a disappointing but predicted loss to the Warriors over the weekend. It's always tough making the trip out to New Zealand and that was no different for the Dogs who went down 16-14. Josh Addo-Carr got on the scoreboard which would have delighted the Bulldogs fans but the inability to run out the whole game was their biggest issue.
The Bulldogs have to wait until the very last match of the round to take on the Cowboys at home this weekend.
16 Canberra Raiders (14)
There can't be a man under more pressure in the NRL at the moment than Ricky Stuart. He was almost let go last year and with results not going the Raiders way this year either it's hard to see them keeping the divisive figure beyond 2023. Their 24-14 loss to the Knights was not the performance of a side that prides itself on competing to the end of every match. And with news coming through that Jack Wighton wants to explore the open market, things couldn't be going worse for the Raiders.
Canberra has another tough challenge coming up with them hosting the Panthers this Friday.
17 Wests Tigers (17)
Is there really any need to explain why the Tigers are 17th? They are clearly the worst team in the competition, but at least they have explained why. Their rebuild has been well-publicised and the transition to Benji Marshall as head coach has been even more publicised. The 24-12 loss to the Strom shows just about where the Tigers are. Plenty for this young squad to learn this season before the competition really begins for them.
The Tigers are set for their biggest challenge yet this week as they travel to Brisbane to take on the first-placed Broncos.
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