Dale Budge is a sports writer for the NZ Herald.

League: NRL Round 4 redux

Daly Cherry-Evans was in top form against the Bulldogs. Photo / Getty Images
Daly Cherry-Evans was in top form against the Bulldogs. Photo / Getty Images

Four rounds in and we are starting to see the top sides flex their muscles while at the other end of the ladder some teams are already in big trouble.

It is hard to see the Warriors, Bulldogs, Tigers and Knights turning around a slow start.

The Roosters and Storm continue to set the pace and remain the only unbeaten sides through the opening month while the highly-fancied Cowboys, Sharks, Panthers and Broncos have begun to show their class as well.

Kiwi Watch
The round began with the Roosters beating the Rabbitohs on Thursday night - Kiwi enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves was at the forefront for the tri-colours. Waerea-Hargreaves played the entire first half and was heavily involved in setting up the win. Winger Shaun Kenny-Dowall continued his rocks and diamonds form - making some telling runs but also committing a couple of inexcusable blunders.

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves on the charge against Souths. Photo / Getty Images
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves on the charge against Souths. Photo / Getty Images

Winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak was superb for the Panthers as they thrashed the Knights on Friday.

He will surely be the first winger picked for the upcoming test against the Kangaroos. Dean Whare and Te Maire Martin were impressive as well in a big Panthers win.

Jordan Kahu kicked the match-winning field goal to help the Broncos beat Canberra on Friday night - winger Jordan Rapana was impressive again for the Green Machine.

Martin Taupau produced his best display since joining Manly to help the Sea Eagles wipe the floor with the hapless Bulldogs while Cowboys fullback Kalyn Ponga looked tremendous in the number one jersey. He is Kiwis eligible but has yet to commit to the side.

The Bromwich brothers helped the Storm fight back from a 14-0 deficit to beat the Tigers on Sunday.

The Dragons were too good for the Warriors on Sunday. Photo / Getty Images
The Dragons were too good for the Warriors on Sunday. Photo / Getty Images

Best performance - Sea Eagles v Bulldogs
The Sea Eagles have been impressive two weeks in a row as they blew the Bulldogs off the park in the opening exchanges. The Dogs' much vaunted forward pack had little answer for a fired up Manly side, led by Taupau. If Daly Cherry-Evans and the Sea Eagles backs can get that sort of ball regularly the silvertails could well be a contender this season.

Standout player - Daly Cherry-Evans
He's been a dud since signing a contract for life with Manly in 2015 but Cherry-Evans hit top form against the Bulldogs. He totally dominated the match, laying on a number of tries and generally being dangerous whenever he touched the ball. It wasn't long ago that he played test and Origin football. If he keeps this form up he will be in contention again in 2017.

Kieran Foran had to watch from the stands. Photo / Getty Images
Kieran Foran had to watch from the stands. Photo / Getty Images

Key moment - Foran injury
Literally moments before the Warriors ran out onto Jubilee Stadium Foran went down with a hamstring injury. It appeared to be a joke until video footage from inside the Warriors changing room showed him getting his leg attended to by medical staff. Any hope of a Warriors win seemed to disappear with his withdrawal.

Controversy - Des Hasler
Bulldogs coach Des Hasler might well be the next coach to be shown the door after his side's embarrassing loss to Manly on Saturday night. The perennial contenders look anything but a side capable of competing in 2017. The spine is not firing and even their strong forward pack was out-played by Manly. Hasler will be under enormous pressure this week as rumours out of Sydney suggest he could be on his way out at any time.

Panthers and Kiwis winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak was in top form. Photo / Getty Images
Panthers and Kiwis winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak was in top form. Photo / Getty Images

Team of the week
1.Michael Gordon (Roosters)
2.Josh Addo-Carr (Storm)
3.Latrell Mitchell (Roosters)
4.Tyrone Peachey (Panthers)
5.Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (Panthers)
6.Luke Keary (Roosters)
7.Daly Cherry-Evans (Sea Eagles)
8.Scott Bolton (Cowboys)
9.Andrew McCullough (Broncos)
10.Paul Vaughan (Dragons)
11.Luke Lewis (Sharks)
12.Matt Gillett (Broncos)
13.Josh McGuire (Broncos)
14.Martin Taupau (Sea Eagles)
15.Jarrod Wallace (Titans)
16.Paul Gallen (Sharks)
17.James Maloney (Sharks)

Power Rankings (week 4)
1.Roosters (+1)
2.Storm (-1)
3.Cowboys (0)
4.Sharks (+2)
5.Panthers (+3)
6.Dragons (+1)
7.Sea Eagles (+5)
8.Broncos (+2)
9.Eels (-5)
10.Raiders (-1)
11.Rabbitohs (-6)
12.Titans (+2)
13.Knights (0)
14.Tigers (+1)
15.Bulldogs (-4)
16.Warriors (0)

- NZ Herald

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