Manly are still whining about the treatment of Brett Stewart, while at the same time managing to criticise the two referee system (a big winner, surely?) and the consistency of the NRL’s stance on other ball-playing inebriates.

The Sea Eagles have also threatened to boycott the Daly M awards at season’s end, which — if they maintain the form shown in round one — won’t be such a loss because none of them will poll any votes. So it can be safely said that the premiers are a little unfocussed just at the moment, opening the door wide for a powerful Warriors outfit to notch up a rare win at Brookvale on Sunday.

Tonight, Israel Folau plays host to some old acquaintances when the Storm travel to Brisbane. Last week, Melbourne showed just how integral Greg Inglis has become and, with his fitness a worry, the home team must be favoured.

Russel Crowe may well get his second opportunity in as many weeks to make disturbing thumb gestures when Souths aim to consolidate a stunning start to the season at Parramatta’s expense.

Wayne Bennett’s Dragons were, in the Hot Form Chart’s opinion, flattered by the scoreline last week. But still, they hung tough and should notch their first win over a notoriously road-shy Titans. The Cowboys, on the other hand, look improved and ready to win at home, though Wests Tigers will make them earn it.

Penrith appear destined to stay at the foot of the Form Chart for at least another week. On Saturday the Panthers take on the Bulldogs, resurgent under new coach Kevin Moore and boasting the world’s largest 18-year-old in the centres. Already the words Jamal Idris and Mal Meninga are appearing in close proximity.

Canberra will make short work of the Roosters — some of whom might be even more inclined to hit the bottle after the weekend — and Cronulla should stay at the top of the Form Chart with a win over Newcastle on Monday night … which is poor timing really as Ricky Stewart and his charges will have to wait until at least Tuesday to get on the sauce and “bond”.

Form* Team Last week NRL ladder position Sequence
1 Cronulla 2 4 W-W-W-L-W
2 Warriors 3 5 W-W-W-L-W
3 Brisbane 4 8 W-W-W-L-W
4 Manly 1 15 W-W-W-W-L
5 Melbourne 5 7 L-W-W-L-W
6 Tigers 10 6 L-L-L-W-W
7 Titans 14 3 W-L-L-L-W
8 Rabbitohs 15 1 W-L-L-L-W
9 Newcastle 6 14 L-W-W-L-L
10 Canberra 7 11 W-L-W-L-L
11 Dragons 8 10 W-W-L-L-L
12 Parramatta 9 12 W-W-L-L-L
13 Roosters 12 16 W-W-L-L-L
14 Bulldogs 16 2 L-L-L-L-W
15 Cowboys 11 9 L-L-W-L-L
16 Penrith 13 13 W-L-L-L-L

*Form over the past five games

Crikey’s Hot Form Tips for round one are:

  • Rabbitohs
  • Brisbane
  • Dragons
  • Bulldogs
  • Cowboys
  • Canberra
  • Warriors
  • Cronulla

Last week: 6 (Season total: 6)