Round 19 was a decisive weekend in the NRL run to the playoffs. The Panthers and Raiders picked up important wins to remain in the fight for a top eight finish while the Dragons dropped some crucial points to fall to eighth and become vulnerable to the chasing pack.

The Warriors suffered a costly loss to the Panthers in Auckland and they lost star halfback Shaun Johnson to a likely season-ending ACL injury and will be really battling now to make the Finals for the first time since 2011.

Kiwi Watch
Johnson's injury has huge ramifications - not only will he miss the rest of the season for the Warriors but it seems likely he will miss the World Cup later in the year in what is a devastating blow to David Kidwell's side.
With Jesse Bromwich and Kevin Proctor already banned from playing because of their drugs scandal during the mid-year test the Kiwis are already looking very under-strength.

Best Performance


The Gold Coast Titans are a long shot to make the Finals but they gave themselves a sniff with a superb performance in horrendous conditions on the holiday strip. They overcame driving rain and standing water to beat the defending premier Cronulla Sharks in convincing fashion.

Standout Player
Nathan Cleary used to be the Warriors' water boy but he turned in a masterclass in helping the Panthers dismantle the Auckland side and keep pace with the top eight sides. Cleary was dominant in every aspect of the game and reminded everyone of his undoubted ability just as NSW contemplate a rebuild following their Origin capitulation.

Key Moment

The Raiders are almost drinking at last chance saloon and they went to golden point extra time against the Dragons in Canberra. Halfback Aiden Sezer stepped up with a crucial 40-20 kick to put the Green Machine on attack before Elliott Whitehead crashed over for the match-winner.

It could have had massive implications but the Panthers found a way to win. Second rower Corey Hawawira-Naera was sin-binned for minimal contact on Warriors hooker Issac Luke, who had taken a quick tap. Luke took a dive to draw a penalty and the referees obliged, sending the rookie to the sin bin for 10 minutes. The Warriors scored twice to take the lead while he was off the field but they came back to win the match late.

Team of the Week
1.Tom Trbojevic (Sea Eagles)
2.Matthew Wright (Sea Eagles)
3.James Roberts (Broncos)
4.Solomone Kata (Warriors)
5.Nene MacDonald (Dragons)
6.Ash Taylor (Titans)
7.Nathan Cleary (Panthers)
8.Junior Paulo (Raiders)
9.Jake Granville (Cowboys)
10.Aaron Woods (Tigers)
11.Gavin Cooper (Cowboys)
12.Alex Glenn (Broncos)
13.Mitchell Barnett (Knights)
14.Agnatius Paasi (Titans)
15.Paul Gallen (Sharks)
16.Martin Taupau (Sea Eagles)
17.Jason Taumalolo (Cowboys)

Ash Taylor was great for the Titans in terrible conditions. Photo / Getty Images
Ash Taylor was great for the Titans in terrible conditions. Photo / Getty Images

Power Rankings

1.Storm (=)

2.Roosters (+1)

3.Sharks (-1)

4.Sea Eagles (=)

5.Broncos (=)

6.Cowboys (=)

7.Eels (+1)

8.Dragons (-1)

9.Panthers (=)

10.Raiders (+1)

11.Warriors (-1)

12.Titans (+1)

13.Rabbitohs (-1)

14.Bulldogs (=)

15.Tigers (=)

16.Knights (=)