The Knights recorded a strong win against a struggling Titans outfit who now have won only three game from 16 appearances.
The Roosters have again failed to record a win and still sit outside the top eight, while the Eels were bested by the Rabbitohs on Latrell Mitchell’s return.
Meanwhile, Des Hasler’s Sea Eagles have broken a longstanding record after a win over the Storm.
Read on for the NRL Power Rankings following Round 16.
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Last round’s ranking: 14th (down two spots)
The Titans have slumped to a sixth straight loss in a 38-12 loss against the Knights, a side many believed they should have been competitive against. Justin Holbrook’s side were abysmal in the first half, handing the Newcastle side a 22-0 lead before they showed some resistance in the second. Many tipped the Titans to be finals football contenders in 2022, but they now sit on the bottom of the ladder and Holbrook, a man who many consider to be one of the best up and coming coaches in the game, is now reportedly looking over his shoulder with time running out to see an improvement. David Fifita’s return was a timely one and the million-dollar man sparked his side’s first try with an impressive offload, but the Titans desperately need their gun backrower to return to the starting side. But overall, the Titans defence has been poor, which allowed winger Edrick Lee to score a record-breaking five tries.
Last round’s ranking: 16th (up one spot)
The Tigers were bested by the Warriors on their return to New Zealand and again looked uninspiring. It was always going to be a big task to beat Stacey Jones’ team, who were ready to put everything on the line to get a result for their home fans, but the merger club failed to score a single try. As it stands, the Tigers have scored the least points of any team and have yet to make a big shake-up after it was reported Luke Brooks was ready to be dropped from the club’s first 17. Brett Kimmorley will be desperate to spark something in his side who take on a near full-strength Eels line-up. For Kimmorley, the remainder of the 2022 season is a chance to stake his claim as an NRL coach, but as it stands the Tigers are struggling to even cross the tryline.
Last round’s ranking: 15th (up one spot)
It was a truly memorable day at Mt Smart Stadium over the weekend. Coming into their clash with the Tigers, the New Zealand side had recorded seven losses in a row. But, there was never any doubt Stacey Jones’ men would deliver in front of their home crowd for the first time since travelling to makeshift base in Redcliffe. Following weeks of constant scrutiny, veteran playmaker Shaun Johnson also delivered a strong performance, notching two try assists with kicks and Warriors fans will be hoping he can kick on for the remainder of 2022. Halves partner Ronald Volkman also looks to be growing into the role only two games into his NRL career. The Warriors’ homecoming could be exactly the spark the New Zealand side need to finish the 2022 season on a positive note.
Last round’s ranking: 10th (down three spots)
The Bulldogs had a huge chance to knock off a top four team in Round 16, but failed to find the attacking spark needed to dismantle the Sharks. Things are looking up at Belmore, but Mick Potter’s side need to kick on after big wins over the Eels and Tigers and continue to improve. Although the Bulldogs played in torrential rain and a soaking wet field against the Sharks, the Canterbury-Bankstown defence missed 38 tackles and allowed the Sharks to break the line five times. Potter will be looking to improve his team’s defence for Round 17. As it stands, the Bulldogs sit in 14th place on the competition ladder with four wins, and will be looking to Matt Burton to lead for the remainder of 2022.
Last round’s ranking: 12th (no movement)
The Knights were strong in Round 16, albeit against the Titans who sit in last place. Adam O’Brien’s side welcome back a number of stars in Round 17 including Daniel Saifiti, Bradman Best and Jayden Brailey, so expect the men from the Hunter to make moves up the Power Rankings in weeks to come. Edrick Lee is also in career-best form after a record-breaking five try haul, meanwhile the halves partnership of Anthony Milford and Adam Clune is forming nicely, recording five try assists between them, adding to Milford’a impressive 423 kicking metres. With Kalyn Ponga back in the fold the Knights will be hoping to finish the 2022 season off strong.
Last round’s ranking: 11th (no movement)
The Roosters performed admirably against the Panthers, despite one refereeing mistake which cost them dearly. Sam Verills penalty for a dangerous tackle on Scott Sorensen was the wrong call according to NRL head of football Graham Annesley, and led directly to a Viliame Kikau. Despite luck going against Trent Robinson’s side, they showed they were improving and came within eight points of the Panthers who currently sit as the competition benchmark. The Tricolours now have recorded four straight losses and sit outside the top eight, but their Round 16 performance is an improvement in the right direction.
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Last round’s ranking: 8th (down two spots)
The Raiders came desperately close to beating the Dragons and should have been handed the opportunity to take the game to golden point. NRL head of football Graham Annesley admitted Ricky Stuart’s side should have been awarded a penalty in the dying seconds for three separate infringements. Nevertheless, the team from the nation’s capital could have put the game to bed earlier and handed Junior Amone a crucial four-pointer after Jack Wighton batted the ball into his path. In windy conditions in Round 16 the Raiders were unable to down the Dragons and now sit outside the top eight by one win.
Last rounds’s ranking: 13th (up four spots)
Latrell Mitchell’s return couldn’t have come at a better time. In a crucial match-up against the Eels, the Rabbitohs fired. In the first half, Jason Demetriou’s team could have been 30 points ahead, such was the weight of possession but ended up taking a strong 30-12 win over a team considered premiership threats. The Rabbitohs barnstorming fullback was in full-flight after a 12-week hiatus and afforded playmaker Cody Walker the freedom he has been craving for the first 15 rounds of the season. Mitchell ended the game with five tackle breaks and a try assist to stamp his authority and send a warning shot to the rest of the competition.
Last round’s ranking: 6th (down two spots)
The Eels were poor in Round 16. Against a Rabbitohs outfit that have struggled in 2022, the Eels attack looked clunky and were only tackled 19 times in the opposition’s 20 metre zone. Latrell Mitchell’s return inspired the South Sydney side, but many consider the Eels genuine premiership threats. Brad Arthur’s side lack consistency, having been flogged by the Bulldogs before putting in a strong performance against the Roosters in a 26-16 in Round 15. The Eels need to find their groove if they want to compete in finals football and make a run for the big dance.
Last round’s ranking: 7th (no movement)
The Dragons weren’t flashy or impressive, but got the job done against the Raiders in windy and wet conditions. Albeit, their final play move to force a six-again has been ruled a mistake by NRL bosses, Anthony Griffin’s men showed grit and determination to keep the Raiders out, despite a number of potentially costly errors including Cody Ramsey’s knock-on in the final minutes. Ben Hunt steered his men around the park and as a reward sits atop of the Dally M Leaderboard.
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6. SEA EAGLES
Last round’s ranking: 9th (up three spots)
The Sea Eagles finally broke their abysmal record against teams above them in the ladder, beating the Storm in what looked like a comprehensive performance — until the final 10 minutes. Although the Melbourne side dragged themselves within reaching distance of stealing victory, Des Hasler’s men still came away with the points and broke their record of six straight losses against the Storm. Daly Cherry-Evans was again pivotal to the Sea Eagles success and proved he one of the best players in the competition — again.
Last round’s ranking: 5th (no movement)
The Broncos had an off night against their Queensland rivals. Adam Reynolds labelled his own performance “embarrassing” but he was clearly still nursing a rib injury sustained two rounds prior. While they were unable to best the Cowboys, the Brisbane side are still sitting pretty, if they can get through this round unscathed. The Broncos are without seven regular first graders through Origin and injuries so have a big test to beat the Dragons while severely understaffed.
Last round’s ranking: 3rd (down one spot)
Brandon Smith revealed that the Storm received the worst spray he has ever been a part of at halftime of Melbourne’s clash against the Sea Eagles, and rightfully so. Bellamy’s side were disappointing by their own lofty standards and were down 18-6 at halftime. The Storm lacked composure in the middle of the park and had 43 missed tackles to allow the Sea Eagles to run riot. While they flew home late with three tries in the final five minutes it was too little too late for the Storm. Rarely do the Melbourne club ever play two bad games in a row, so expect them to come back strong this round.
Last round’s ranking: 4th (up one spot)
It wasn’t pretty but the Sharks got the job done against the Bulldogs. They were also able to play some expansive football in ridiculously wet conditions, passing the ball around the Bulldogs to score the opening try courtesy of Ronaldo Mulitalo. Craig Fitzgibbon’s side showed they are lethal in attack, recording seven linebreaks to the Bulldogs two and have secured their place in the top four, one win ahead of the Broncos and Eels. Nicho Hynes again was strong, while Matt Moylan’s game has improved leaps and bounds in recent weeks and a strong defensive effort in Round 16 proved he is Hynes’ long-term halves partner.
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Last round’s ranking: 2nd (no movement)
Todd Payten’s side were unstoppable in Round 16. In a huge Queensland grudge match, the Cowboys stood tall and came away with a 40-26 win. The North Queensland outfit completed at 82% and made five less errors than their opponents, although Payten would likely be displeased with his side conceding 26 points, even when they record a win. The Cowboys applied continuous pressure and were lethal in attack, led by star fullback Scott Drinkwater and veteran half Chad Townsend. The Cowboys were one of the biggest surprise performers at the beginning of the season but are clearly here to stay.
Last round’s ranking: 1st (no movement)
The Panthers remain alone on top of the ladder and were able to see out a win against the Roosters. While it was no means their best showing, Ivan Cleary’s side showed their ability to ground two points out of any given contest. Apisai Koroisau’s performance was simply outstanding and his form in 2022 takes pressure off Cleary and Luai, especially in wet conditions when passes need to be shortened. Add in the red-hot form of Dylan Edwards, Liam Martin, Viliame Kikau and Isaah Yeo and it is hard to spot any chinks in the Panthers armour coming into the back-end of the 2022 season.
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