The top three teams in the NRL Premiership race

The NRL is halved, we are on the verge of origin, and the three teams deserve to feel strong about their title hopes.

3. North Queensland Cowboys
The Cowboys have shocked the League Shell. They are currently third on the ladder and have rolled through teams throughout the league.

Many doubted their successful season – I predicted they would win – but their simple gameplan led them to great success.

North Queensland has beaten top-of-the-line parties like Paramatman and Melbourne, and while the storm has lost some of their major stars, you can’t help but shy away from the great statement the Cowboys made on Saturday night.

When Todd Petten brought Chad Townsend to the north I thought it was not the right move but he seems to be the perfect halfback for the club. Scott Drinkwater has been absolutely outstanding and I don’t understand why he was dropped from the team in the 1-3 round.

Chad Townsend Pass

(Photo by Bradley Canaris / Getty Images)

Tom Deirden and Hamiso Tabuai-Fido were also great, which is a big headache for Peten – ‘The Hammer’ is almost back to perfect fit and it’s hard to decide which of these 14 people should play or be out. To completely open the way for another forward.

The Cowboys will face the Panthers in Friday night’s round match and unfortunately will be without Jason Toumalolo and Kyle Feld, who gave a great push for Origin.

If they can knock out the ruling premiers, it will be one huge statement after another and shows that they are real competitors.

2. Melbourne storm
Storm has once again found itself around the top of the table, although they have gone down a somewhat rocky road, losing back-to-back games.

Both matches were without the forces of Ryan Papenhuen and Jahrom Hughes, but the last two performances still show some worrying signs. They have struggled to score points which rarely happens, even when they are at full strength.

Hughes will return after the fortnight, with Papenhuen expected to return within a month. Both will play a key role in bringing Storm’s Premiership goals back on track.

The main time will hit Melbourne again, as we clearly know that their list is usually close to the top of the list of selected players.

We haven’t been able to respond well since last week and I’m sure Melbourne will comfortably be in the top four at the end of the season, giving them an original title shot as always.

1. Penrith Panthers
No wonder my number one slot is the current premieres.

Penrith has been outstanding again and has been at the top of the table after losing just once in 11 weeks.

Nathan Cleary is once again in the limelight, though the most fascinating is Isa Yeo. Currently leading the Daly M race, Yeo is an outstanding ball runner as well as a generally hard worker in defense.

Like the other top teams, Origin can be a scary time, but during that time they face the Bulldogs, Knights, Warriors, Rosters and Tigers. From what these teams have shown so far this season, these are not things you need to be extra prepared for.

The Panthers may cough up one or two of these matches, but as long as it doesn’t affect their performance in the long run, they should be fine.

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