We have taken a look at how the British contingent got on in the latest round of NRL fixtures at the weekend.
It was another powerful performance from the Rabbitohs’ leading metre maker in the win over the Dragons last Friday. The 28-year-old again bulldozed his way to another 100 metre plus display with 197 while being solid defensively with 25 tackles in the process. Since the retirement of his brother Sam Burgess, the barnstorming front-rower has now become one of the biggest driving forces in South Sydney’s forward pack.
The Raiders players have not always been on the same page offensively this year but when they have been, Williams always looks to be at the centre of it all. The 25-year-old continues to make a decent name for himself in the NRL under the tutelage of Aussie great Ricky Stuart. In a tough win over North Queensland, Williams showed his great ball running once more after notching his third try of the year after a beautiful move involving himself, Nick Cotric and fellow Englishman John Bateman. There was no try assist this time, but the former Wigan man still leads all Canberra players in that category with eight so far this year.
The Broncos current woes went to new heights with a loss to Cronulla last week. It is unbelievable to think that Brisbane did not come away with the two points here, especially when they were the better team for 70 minutes of the game. However, a 10 minute collapse and a comeback from Cronulla condemned Anthony Seibold’s side to 15th on the NRL ladder. As previously mentioned, the Queensland side were actually the better performers for a large part of the game so there may be some positive aspects to take away. It can even be suggested that Farnworth had his best game of the season for Brisbane this time round as he proved to be a handful for the Cronulla defence at times. A combination of a quick turn of pace and ability to break the line were all on show and overall, the 20-year-old proved to be a catalyst and ran for 174 metres while securing two line breaks in the process.
Bateman made his return from injury and there is no doubting the fact that he picked up right where he left off last year. The electric back-rower was a spark for the Raiders in their win over the Cowboys, something that looks to have been missing from the Canberra set up at times this season. The 26-year-old made a huge impact both offensively and defensively while stuffing the stat line with 163 metres from 17 carries, a line break assist, a try assist and 28 tackles.
The Bulldogs were unable to follow up their impressive win over Newcastle last week with a narrow defeat to first place chasing Parramatta. However, Canterbury certainly had the opportunity to take the win here, especially when they were able to reduce an 18-0 deficit to just two points but in the end they just could not complete the comeback. Over the last couple of games though Thompson has looked to have been a great addition to the Bulldogs’ forward pack and has given them some extra punch through the middle of the field whilst at the same time Canterbury have become somewhat more of a competitive side. In the loss to the Eels, the Great Britain and England international had 34 tackles while putting up 111 metres.
Ever since the season’s restart Sutton just looks to be getting better with every game that passes as he continues to put in solid and dependable performances for Ricky Stuart’s side whether it be off the interchange or in the starting 13. The 25-year-old has looked to be furthering his chances of an international call up sometime in the near future and in the win over North Queensland he made the second most tackles by a Canberra player with 34 to his name while taking 13 carries for 112 metres.
Trent Robinson’s Roosters side came away with the win against the Titans to keep themselves within the top four. The game against the Titans also gave us another chance to see Hall in action who replaced fellow winger Brett Morris in the starting 13. The 32-year-old was right in the thick of the action after seeing plenty more of the ball with 23 runs to his name to go along with 167 running metres. Over the course of four games, Hall averages 19 carries and 153 metres per game.
The Raiders’ match up against the Cowboys gave us the opportunity to see the influential and dominant tandem of Whitehead and Bateman in Canberra’s back-row and as stated before, it looked to be the spark that was needed as Canberra sealed a narrow win over their Queensland counterparts. The former Bradford and Catalans star made 32 tackles and that now sees him take the mantle as Canberra’s top tackler so far this season with 364. Alongside that, Whitehead still has the joint second most tries (4) and the most line breaks (9) all by a Raiders player so far this year.
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