Brits Down Under: Burgess’ match winner, Sutton’s consistency & Rushton impresses in NSW Cup
We’ve taken a look at the performances and stats of the NRL’s British contingent in round six.
The performances of South Sydney’s leading forward just gets bigger and better, with the 28-year-old turning into a match-winner in the most dramatic of circumstances on Saturday. The Rabbitohs certainly did not have it all their own way against the Tigers, trailing 14-6 with 15 minutes to go but a spirited fightback sent the game into golden point extra-time. As the Bunnies marched forward, Burgess stepped up to the plate to receive a pass out of dummy half and weave his way through the Tigers line looking nothing like a player who had already put in a mammoth effort to score a miraculous try. There was a nervy wait as play was allowed to continue with the referee deeming the bulldozing prop had dropped it at the line, but replays showed a clear put down of the ball and, in the end, Souths would secure an incredible win and their fifth in a row. Overall, the 28-year-old had 188 metres, 62 post contact metres, 24 tackles, a line break and a try to his name as he once again proved why he is one of the best props in the league right now.
The 19-year-old continues to be a prominent feature in Canberra’s reserve side with the former Wigan man playing 80 minutes in the Raiders’ win over the Eels in the New South Wales Cup. In total, Rushton had 88 metres from nine carries, 32 post contact metres and the most tackles by a member of his side with 40 to his name.
The Bulldogs remain winless this year after a disappointing loss to North Queensland on Sunday but despite only making his return from suspension last week, Thompson has still made a solid impression in his return to a struggling side. The 26-year-old had 130 metres, 42 post contact metres, four tackle busts and 33 tackles in a great all-round effort against the Cowboys.
Canberra’s struggles continued Saturday as they had another stiff test awaiting them over the weekend when they came up against Parramatta. A close first half showed it was anyone’s game with Williams looking threatening in attack, scoring the Raiders’ second try of the game after great link up play with fellow Englishman Josh Hodgson and they would only trail by two points going into the second half. Unfortunately, it did not get any better in the second half as their defence faltered and the Eels stepped up their game to win 35-10. A second loss in a row now places the Raiders just outside of the top eight but with a match-up against North Queensland coming next week it provides a good opportunity to get back to winning ways and for the team to regain their spark.
As previously mentioned, it was a tale of two halves for Canberra, with Hodgson linking well with Williams by showing his own great attacking instincts to secure a line break and a try assist. Unfortunately, it would be a struggle in the second half from an attacking standpoint for the likes of Hodgson, Williams and Jack Wighton with Parramatta proving to be too strong in the second 40. The 31-year-old did cement his status as the Raiders’ top tackler though with a mammoth 46 against the Eels to take his season tally to 236, placing him inside the top 10 for the entire league as well.
The 26-year-old has been an imposing figure for Canberra and despite their struggles over the last two weeks, Sutton continues to be one of their more consistent players both as a powerful ball runner and tackler. In the loss to Parramatta, the former Wigan forward took 16 carries for 139 metres and 49 post contact metres along with the joint most tackles by a Raiders player on the day with 46. Throughout the first six games Sutton now has the fourth most metres gained (777) and the second most tackles (189) by a Canberra player.
Overall, it was a fairly quiet game in terms of stats for Whitehead but again his influence and hardworking nature defensively for Canberra were on show. The 31-year-old further added to his seasonal tackle count with another 24 in the defeat to the Eels to take his tally for the season to 176 which is the fourth most by a member of the Raiders.
Watch NRL and live stream every NRL game to keep up with how Tom Burgess, Josh Hodgson, Ryan Sutton, Elliott Whitehead, Luke Thompson and George Williams and all the others are getting on Down Under.
Subscribe to The Final Hooter on Apple Podcasts and get involved with the free-to-play Fantasy Rugby League 2021.
Rugby League Nostalgia is here! Get involved with Love Rugby League’s new group on Facebook to share all your rugby league nostalgia and celebrate the rich heritage of our sport.