Wolves the class act, Dragons more than dark horses
There's a strong sense of deja vu a month into the season with the two big Ws walloping everyone, but the Dragons from Perpignan are breathing the early fire.
Sitting at the Halliwell Jones watching Warrington ease past Hull KR on Sunday, I felt the Wolves were the best team I'd seen this season.
Had I gone instead to Castleford I have little doubt I'd have reached the same conclusion about Wigan.
Yet the rugby league eyebrows are being raised by the continuation of Trent Robinson's project in Perpignan.
Warrington Wolves' Richie Myler (centre) and team-mate Lee Briers have been in good form. PHOTO: Getty
Catalan boast the only 100% record and their thrilling comeback win on the St Helens hooter made sure we were all taking notice.
With the added guile of former Saints half-back Leon Pryce alongside the ever-ready Scott Dureau, whose cucumber-cool touchline conversion won them the game at Langtree Park, the Dragons have this season added finesse to their trademark brute force.
Wins at Bradford and Saints have come away from home, with Castleford dismissed at the Stade Gilbert Brutus. After each of those victories I received a bunch of tweets from fans marking up Robinson's side as this season's dark horses.
I don't agree, I see them as genuine contenders. And if you haven't seen their try to stun Saints last Friday, make sure you watch it. Incredible.
On the Saturday morning of a major Six Nations weekend, it was fantastic to see former England rugby union coach Brian Ashton preview their much-hyped Twickenham showdown against Wales with a eulogy for Welsh league great Lee Briers.
It was an effervescent Briers who I watched orchestrate Hull KR's downfall on Sunday, the same energetic half-back play and unrivalled decision-making with ball in hand.
The legs may have aged and the hairdo may now be more Westlife than Warrington Wolf, but the old magician has kept his box of tricks updated.
Ashton urged England's union squad to watch how Briers plays his rugby.
"Far more than most players in any form of rugby, he understands how to use the space around him," says Ashton. "And with his technical attributes - running and passing, along with highly developed kicking skills, both short and long - he creates havoc when he is on the ball."
Briers himself is now looking over his shoulder since the arrival of livewire Stefan Ratchford from Salford.
Ratchford was on the bench at the weekend, the brilliant Briers was on the ball and Warrington are already cruising through the early rounds in third gear, much as Tony Smith's side did last year.
Only Hull FC, who drew at the KC, have got near them. I went to watch Wigan beat Leeds at the DW Stadium in round two with the Wolves first-team coach Willie Poching, who told me Warrington's squad unit was happier than he has ever seen it during his time there.
Millionaire owner Simon Moran, who counts Gary Barlow among his celebrity pals, paid for the squad to spend pre-season in Sydney - nice work if you can get it.
I was in Melbourne at the time covering the Australian Open and my pal Ryan Atkins was poised to pop over to see some tennis once his training schedule allowed. Tony Smith worked them so hard he never made it.
Poching tells me the squad reaped huge rewards from gruelling sprints up the towering sand dunes and came together as a squad.
"A few of the guys had the odd disagreement on tour but they always sorted it out themselves and there's a great energy about the place," he told me.
Flame-haired winger Chris Riley also learned a valuable lesson about attempting to apply sun cream to your own back in the blistering Aussie sun. His back looked like a continuation of his hair for the next week.
As for Wigan, Sam Tomkins is swiftly chipping away at the thousands of pounds spent to keep him in the sport in the face of rugby union's overtures with a masterful start to the season.
He marked his 100th club appearance with an effortless hat-trick to crush Castleford. As my colleague Chris Irvine of The Times observes, watching Tomkins - like Briers - is like seeing a player operate in their own time and space bubble. At times the opposition is an irrelevance.
Amid all the iPitch bashing at Widnes, it would be remiss off me not to pass on the favourable observations from the Leeds Rhinos players at the weekend.
Having opted to go to Warrington I missed the game but have watched the tape back and you could sense that ball players Kevin Sinfield, Danny McGuire, Rob Burrow and Brent Webb loved the artificial surface.
It was McGuire's sharpest Leeds performance I've seen for some months, while Burrow tells me he loved the firm nature of the surface. "There were a few cuts and burns but I loved it," he told me after running in two tries.
A final word on the headline news of the week, with England international Gareth Ellis confirming his return to Super League.
Despite turning 31 this year the former Leeds and Wakefield back row remains one of the finest forwards in world rugby.
An unprecedented three successive Player of the Year awards at Wests Tigers underlined his place among the elite and, give or take a salary cap, Ellis should have his pick of clubs to which to return.