Brits Down Under: Bateman departs with everlasting impression & Burgess one of NRL’s top props

John Bateman returns to Wigan in 2021 after two seasons in the NRL with Canberra Raiders

In the last edition of Brits Down Under this season, we look at the performances and stats of the league’s British contingent after week three of the NRL finals.

John Bateman

It was not to be the fairytale ending that both Bateman and Canberra were hoping for as the Raiders could not match last year’s heroics after bowing out following a 30-10 defeat to Melbourne in Friday’s preliminary final.

The Raiders just had no answer for the Storm’s red hot start and were chasing the game right from the get go. Bateman did his best to step up as he ran for the most metres by a Canberra player (105) and racked up the second most tackles (33) by the end of the game. Even though his stint Down Under would not end with silverware, the 26-year-old has certainly left a magnificent impression on the league and the Canberra faithful after two years in the competition and even won the 2019 Dally M Second-rower of the Year in his first season. The dynamic forward’s intensity and hard-working tendencies in both attack and defence will most certainly be missed as he makes his way back to Wigan in 2021.

Tom Burgess

The red hot Rabbitohs came into the second preliminary final on Saturday looking to do something no one had been able to do in 16 games and that was beat Penrith.

But, despite a courageous effort in a hard-fought match, the Bunnies would succumb to a 20-16 loss and overall end their season. After the retirement of his brother Sam Burgess and the departure of his twin George to Wigan, the 28-year-old became the veteran presence in the Souths front-row and with a youthful forward pack he cemented himself as one of the top props in the league. Throughout the season, Burgess was the Bunnies’ leading metre maker in 2020 after several hard-running displays saw him consistently set a platform through the middle of the field.

George Williams

It was not to be a title-winning year for Williams but the talented half-back has made a great case himself with his performances for Canberra throughout the regular season and the play-offs.

It may not have clicked offensively against Melbourne on the day but Williams would go on to set up a try as well securing a line break assist. All in all, it will go down as a debut season to look upon extremely fondly as he perfectly slotted in the Canberra halves after the departure of Aidan Sezer to Huddersfield. The 25-year-old led the side in try assists throughout the season with 17 and his connection with Jack Wighton was a great highlight of the Raiders’ campaign and can be something to build upon over the next few seasons.

Elliott Whitehead

It was another showcase of pure consistency and hard work from Whitehead. As mentioned on plenty of occasions, the 30-year-old may not produce the biggest stat lines but his work and influence in the Raiders back-row is something that cannot be looked past.

After Josh Hodgson’s season ending injury, the former Bradford and Catalans star went on to lead Canberra in tackles during the 2020 with 623 a figure that also places inside the top 20 of the entire league.

Watch NRL and live stream every NRL game to keep up with how Tom Burgess, John Bateman, Ryan Sutton, Elliott Whitehead, Luke Thompson and George Williams and all the others are getting on Down Under.

Listen to The Final Hooter podcast, featuring exclusive interviews, every week. SUBSCRIBE to Love Rugby League on Apple Podcasts.

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