After the NRL’s Magic Round we take another close look at the recent performances and stats of the league’s British contingent.
The Bulldogs just cannot kind find a way to win at the moment as their latest loss saw them fail to break down a 12-man Canberra side on Saturday. Even in adversity, there is always a shining light and Thompson has been exactly that for Trent Barrett’s side as he continues to put in big efforts both as a ball carrier and a defender. The 26-year-old led the way in run metres and tackles for Canterbury in the loss to Canberra with 161 and 38 respectively whilst also racking up 55 metres post contact and two tackle busts. In six games, the former Saints prop has averaged 16 carries, 129 run metres, 33 tackles and two tackle busts per game.
After a few troubling weeks, Canberra finally snapped their extensive losing streak with a hard-fought win over Canterbury. As Jack Wighton was sent to the sin bin and Josh Papalii was sent off, it did look like it was going to be another second half implosion from the Raiders who have made a habit out of losing games in recent weeks due to poor second half performances but a strong last 15 minutes saw them come away with a 20-18 win. Williams was integral to his side’s first try of the game. A perfectly executed step allowed the former Wigan man to break through the Bulldogs’ defensive line and allow Corey Harawira-Naera to score. Overall, Williams looked his creative and dynamic self securing 46 metres, a line break, a tackle bust, a try assist and 20 tackles to his name whilst also taking over goal-kicking duties in a strong performance.
Despite being on home soil for this year’s Magic Round, Brisbane were put to the sword by a dominant Manly side in a 50-6 defeat. With such a big loss, it is always hard to pick out a standout player on the losing side but there is no doubting that Farnworth was one of the best players on the field for the Broncos yet again. The young centre did his best to make himself a handful for the Sea Eagles with 132 metres, 26 post contact metres, four tackle busts, a line break and 23 tackles. So far this season, the 21-year-old now has the fourth most metres (1,083) and the fourth most tackle busts (26) by a Brisbane player as he continues to establish himself as a solid attacking weapon for Kevin Walters’ side.
The Raiders have been without captain Jarrod Croker and Josh Hodgson on a few occasions this season and in his absence, Whitehead has shown his influential nature alongside plenty of leadership qualities after recently taking over the captaincy from Hodgson. The former Bradford and Catalans star was a big voice in Canberra’s second-row, as he so often is, as he spurred on his team-mates to help them secure their first win in five games against a stubborn Canterbury side. The 31-year-old racked up 35 tackles, 85 run metres and 35 post contact metres in another solid display.
The 28-year-old was back to his barnstorming best in the win over Cronulla after a couple of quiet weeks. After a 50-0 mauling to Melbourne in the last round, the Rabbitohs found themselves on a much surer footing with a 32-22 victory over the Sharks to cement themselves in fourth place. The powerful prop forward again showed his tenacity and ruthlessness with the ball in his hand as he recorded the most metres (158) and post contact metres (64) by a Souths player and further established his status as his side’s leading metre maker so far this year with 1,339.
The 31-year-old marked his return from injury off the bench in the win over Canterbury and even in a short space of time he was able to leave his mark on the game. Altogether, Hodgson tallied 58 metres, 23 post contact metres, 14 tackles, two tackle busts and a line break.
The 19-year-old again featured for Canberra’s reserve side at the weekend as they went up against Parramatta in the New South Wales Cup. It was a close one, but the Raiders succumbed to a 26-24 loss to the Eels with Rushton seeing 69 minutes of action. Despite defeat, the former Wigan youngster yet again made a case for himself to be called up to make his full NRL debut with another impressive all-round outing. Overall he had eight carries, 90 metres, 44 post contact metres and 37 tackles.
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