Brits Down Under: Burgess brothers shine, Sutton stars again, Bateman injury blow

We have taken a look into the stats and performances of the British contingent Down Under in round eight of the 2019 NRL season… 

Sam Burgess

The wins keep coming for the Rabbitohs and despite a few weeks of rather inconsistent play, it seemingly ended with ‘business as usual’ in their Thursday night fixture against Brisbane. After the retirement of Greg Inglis, it was only right that Burgess took up the South Sydney captaincy. For many players, the idea of it can always prove to be a distraction to their overall game but not for Burgess as he looks as good as ever.

The 30-year-old made his presence felt in the win over Brisbane and alongside his brother Tom, was a force with the ball in his hand. ‘Slammin Sam’ finished with the second most metres made by a Bunnies player with 155 and capped off a stunning 38-6 win for Wayne Bennett’s men with a try of his own. Another day and another Rabbitohs win spearheaded by their most influential player. Next up for Souths: North Queensland.

Tom Burgess

It was easily the best game we have seen from the 27-year-old this year as the Rabbitohs crushed the Broncos at the ANZ Stadium.

Burgess was a monster in the running game as the prop racked up over 200 metres for the first time this season along with taking on the most carries with 18. It was another perfect example of what the trio of Burgess’ can bring to the forward pack as the Rabbitohs have made the third most metres overall this season, with Tom being a large enough contributor with 875 of them.

George Burgess

In a game that was ran by Souths’ pack, it was another rather quiet game for the prop forward, making 46 metres from five runs alongside a steady 12 tackles made.

Despite not being as key as his brothers in the win over Brisbane last Thursday, the 27-year-old’s stats over five games make for steady viewing, averaging 10 metres per carry. Although he may not have proven to be as dominant as his brothers, there is no doubt that George is capable of being amongst those big games and he will no doubt look to reach new heights as the season goes on.

John Bateman

The Raiders march on once again and this time by cruising to an emphatic win over Penrith. However, despite another impressive showing, the NSW side will be left to ponder the injury to one of their star players.

The 25-year-old was forced to leave the field due to an HIA and would not return after a failed assessment. It would later be revealed by Canberra that Bateman suffered a fractured eye socket in a tackle with Penrith’s Viliame Kikau, requiring surgery and will be set to miss 6-8 weeks as result. A big blow for the Raiders after such an emphatic start to the season.

Elliott Whitehead

A good amount has been said over the past few weeks of Canberra’s big improvement defensively compared to last season and to put that into perspective, the Raiders have conceded the least amount of points by any team this season, conceding just 102 over eight games. A big pat on the back must go to Whitehead and Canberra’s dominant forward line.

In the win over Penrith, Whitehead strung together one of his best performances this season with another great showing for Canberra that featured 38 tackles, 89 metres and a try assist to his name. The 29-year-old now has the second most tackles by any Raiders player this season with 240, averaging 30 tackles per game.

Ryan Sutton

It looks as if the 23-year-old has now settled into life within the NRL following another star performance in their bruising win over the Panthers.

Despite losing Bateman to injury, the loose forward put forth the kind of display we are becoming used to seeing with good presence in the running game as he went over 100 metres again with 111 from 13 carries. Over the course of eight games, Sutton has been a more than consistent performer for the Raiders on both sides of the ball, making the eighth most metres with 674 along with the fifth most tackles at 187.

The injury to Bateman could now even mean a bigger role for the former Wigan man in the coming weeks and it will be very interesting to see how he adapts as the Raiders look to keep themselves within that mix of the top four.

Josh Hodgson

It is fair to say it was a fiery encounter in Wagga Wagga on Saturday and the Canberra hooker can testify that that after being on the end of an awkward but dangerous tip tackle from Penrith’s James Maloney that saw the 29-year-old land on his head.

However, the England international was able to pick himself up and do what he so often does and lead a spirited and organised performance by the Green Machine. Another heap of tackles was at the centre of another great defensive performance from both Hodgson and the Raiders.

James Graham

It was to be a second successive defeat for Graham and his St George Illawarra side as the Dragons found it difficult to deal with a Parramatta outfit that are looking to cement their new Bankwest Stadium as an imposing fortress for any visiting team in the future. A 32-18 Eels win saw Paul McGregor’s men take a strong foothold in the game, with a 14-0 lead after the first 30 minutes but a much stronger second half from Parramatta proved to be too much for the Dragons as their opponents scored four tries in a 30-minute second half spell.

The work rate and engine from Graham is something you are always going to see and his stats were a familiar sight, putting forth the third most tackles by a Dragons player with 32 along with making 77 metres from nine carries. Now sitting eighth in the league, St George Illawarra in the mix for post season rugby but face a tough test against New Zealand Warriors at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.

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