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NRL Rugby league Power ranking round 8

1. Cowboys (last week: 1)
After impressing everyone over the last month of football, the Cowboys now have serious trouble on the horizon. Rampaging forward Jason Taumalolo will miss between six and eight weeks with a knee injury, and while they were able to cover his loss in the opening minutes against Newcastle, the task won't be so easy after the break for the rep weekend.
2. Dragons (3)
Just when it seemed like nothing could stop St George Illawarra's run, the weather intervened and the players were taken from the ground after torrential rain so heavy they were struggling to see the ball. The Dragons lost all the momentum after the break, but still managed to cling on for the win, showcasing just how far this side have come since the start of the season.
3. Broncos (7)
Probably worth issuing an apology here. We were accused of reacting too harshly by dropping the Broncos so far last week, and we're big enough to admit we were wrong.
4. Roosters (8)
Has this side forgotten how to win? Another narrow loss against – this time the best defensive side in the competition – has us scratching our heads. The week off for rep footy might be just what the Chooks need to regroup before a soft return to the winner's list against the Wests Tigers.
5. Titans (10)
Put on 32 points in the win against the Warriors and in the process sealed their position as the best attacking side in the competition, only marginally ahead of the team that they beat. If they had finished all the chances they blew against the Warriors they could have opened up a much bigger gap.
6. Panthers (11)
It is looking like 2014 all over again, with the Panthers winning in the face of what should be insurmountable injury problems. Already missing six regular first graders going into the match against the Sharks, Penrith lost James Segeyaro and Dean Whare before the start and the case looked hopeless. Yet somehow they got the points. We can't explain it, so we'll just look on in wonder, like we did last season.
7. Storm (2)
The much-vaunted Storm attack couldn't score a point against one of the worst sides in the competition in the second half, posing questions over whether Melbourne are the real deal this season. There is no faulting their defence, but they looked to be out of options while Fijian flyer Marika Koroibete was off the pitch for a concussion test.
8. Sharks (5)
As if losing to Penrith isn't bad enough, the Sharks have further bad news, with Michael Ennis and Chris Heighington sure to spend time on the sidelines after a lifting tackle on Jeremy Latimore. They'll be hard pressed covering for this pair as well as Paul Gallen in the coming weeks.
9. Warriors (9)
The Warriors continue to have real problems at right centre. Against the Titans youngster David Fusitu'a was the latest to try his hand in the role, and while he scored his side's opening try, he was opened up defensively on several occasions. Looks like it is back to the drawing board for Andrew McFadden.
10. Bulldogs (4)
There can be no side in the competition wanting the break for rep footy more than the Bulldogs. They should get David Klemmer and Josh Morris back after the break, and things might start turning around after that.
11. Raiders (14)
It looks like there is a new side vying with the Titans for the best away side in the competition. The Raiders have now managed four wins on the road after getting across the line against the Bunnies, while still remaining winless at home.
12. Rabbitohs (6)
With every passing week that Adam Reynolds is out of the side it appears his next contract will only continue to increase in value.
13. Wests Tigers (15)
We still can't understand why Jason Taylor was complaining about having to face the Bulldogs a second time, when he met them at what was probably their most vulnerable. That aside, how exciting is it watching Pat Richards?
14. Eels (12)
As good as Parramatta look at times, they always let their opponents back into the game at some stage through basic errors or lapses in concentration. If teams are patient enough to wait and absorb pressure, the mistakes will always come.
15. Knights (13)
Newcastle certainly pushed the Cowboys a lot harder than we were expecting, but we think that had more to do with the injuries suffered by North Queensland than any huge lift in intensity from the Knights.
16. Sea Eagles (16)
Was the win over Melbourne a sign that the tide has turned, or was it a dead-cat bounce? At the minute we are not ready to say Manly have turned things around, but we should get a clearer sign of whether they have lifted when they play the Knights after the break.

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