Round 5 has been a round of upsets - well a few at least. Most people didn't see the struggling Bulldogs tipping up the Broncos back on Thursday night to open the weekend.

The heavy rain and slippery conditions were certainly a leveler but the Dogs pack laid a strong platform and under pressure Josh Reynolds delivered a big performance.

Manly backed that up a night later when they defeated the previously unbeaten Roosters to the surprise of many. The Sea Eagles were tipped by most to miss the playoffs this season as they undergo a rebuild but based on their three straight wins that might need reconsidering.

The Warriors got a vital win over the Titans while the Dragons continue their hot start to the year with another win.


Kiwi Watch
Roosters enforced Jared Waerea-Hargreaves tried his best to almost single-handedly lift his side past the Sea Eagles on Friday night. Fellow prop Dylan Napa was injured early and Waerea-Hargreaves was one of the best on the park but wasn't able to help his side win.

The same can't be said of Martin Taupau, who was equally as impressive for the Sea Eagles. If Taupau can keep his discipline he looms as a key player for the Kiwis ahead of the mid-year test.

Sam Kasiano provided some big go-forward for the Bulldogs in wet conditions as they upstaged the Broncos. He seems about as fit as the big fella gets and turned his best showing of the season this week. He too might find himself in the frame for a bench spot.

Jason Taumalolo returned from a two-game suspension to run for over 200m for the Cowboys as they picked apart the Rabbitohs. This is nothing unusual for Taumalolo, who made a habit of it last year as he claimed the Dally M Medal as the game's best player.
Jordan Rapana was dangerous again for the Raiders and is a certainty for a wing spot in the mid-year test should he stay healthy.

Best Performance
There are a few candidates but the Cowboys looked as good as anyone with the return of Taumalolo and fullback Lachlan Coote. They have so many points in them and danger men all over the field. The loss of prop Matt Scott hurts but with Taumalolo healthy and youngster Coen Hess improving each week the Cowboys will be a major contender this year.

Standout Player

Dylan Walker has been a frustrating player to follow through his short NRL career. A standout in the NYC he made an immediate impact with the Rabbitohs in his rookie season and earned a Kangaroos jumper in his first year. But he failed to kick on after that, ran into trouble last off-season with a prescription pill incident and made the move to Manly. He had a disappointing season in 2016 but was the player of the round as he tore the Roosters apart. He has all the skills and if he plays somewhere near that level each week the Sea Eagles should find themselves in contention.

Key Moment
It is hard to go past the Warriors last try as Shaun Johnson laid on a lovely short ball for Ryan Hoffman to run into a gap and score the match-winner. It is scary to think what the week would have been like had the Warriors not won that match and that single play may well be a massive turning point in the side's season.


It was a weekend pretty free of controversy to be fair but former Warrior Konrad Hurrell's late scratching before his return to Mt Smart Stadium with an ankle injury robbed fans of seeing him try and prove a point to those that ousted him from the Auckland club. He sat in the stands and would have been confident at halftime but had to see hopes of a win slip away in the second spell.

Team of the Week
1.Jack Wighton (Raiders)
2.Jason Nightingale (Dragons)
3.Dylan Walker (Sea Eagles)
4.Joseph Leilua (Raiders)
5.Suliasi Vunivalu (Storm)
6.Josh Reynolds (Bulldogs)
7.Daly Cherry-Evans (Sea Eagles)
8.James Gavet (Warriors)
9.Cameron McInnes (Dragons)
10.James Graham (Bulldogs)
11.Josh Papali'i (Raiders)
12.Sam Thaiday (Broncos)
13.David Klemmer (Bulldogs)
14.Martin Taupau (Sea Eagles)
15.Jason Taumalolo (Cowboys)
16.Aiden Tolman (Bulldogs)
17.Jordan Rapana (Raiders)

Power Rankings

1.Storm (+1)

2.Cowboys (+1)

3.Roosters (-2)

4.Sharks (0)

5.Dragons (+1)

6.Sea Eagles (+1)

7.Panthers (-2)

8.Raiders (+2)

9.Broncos (-1)

10.Eels (-1)

11.Rabbitohs (0)

12.Bulldogs (+3)

13.Titans (-1)

14.Warriors (+2)

15.Knights (-2)

16.Tigers (-2)