Brits Down Under: Knights duo return, Thompson shines (again) & Sutton stakes World Cup claim

Zach Holland

We’ve taken a look at the performances and stats of the NRL’s British contingent following Round 12…

Luke Thompson

In a battle of first versus last, the Bulldogs faced the most uphill of tasks going up against the formidable Panthers and the difference in class certainly showed as Canterbury had no answer to Ivan Cleary’s side as they succumbed to a 30-4 loss. The Bulldogs put in so much work in the first 40 minutes to only trail 4-0 but a second half fade away saw Penrith run away with it in the end. Despite a number of defeats, Thompson has been one of his side’s most integral and consistent players on both sides of the ball and that was the same again here. The 26-year-old led the way in run metres for Trent Barrett’s men with 144 alongside the third most tackles with 29.

Elliott Whitehead

The Raiders’ woes continued over the weekend as another second half implosion saw them lose further ground on the top eight with a 44-16 loss to the Roosters. Once again Canberra started brightly, jumping into a 10-0 lead inside the first 25 minutes but in what has been the case on several occasions, they couldn’t keep up the pace as Sydney ran in eight tries to take the win. Whitehead has been one of his side’s key and most consistent figures this season despite all the issues and, overall, he had a solid display against the Roosters with 29 tackles, 82 run metres, 28 post contact metres and a tackle bust. The influential second-rower also helped set up the Raiders’ first try with a precise kick through to allow Josh Hodgson to score.

Herbie Farnworth

The 21-year-old was a late withdrawal last week due to injury but returned to the Brisbane starting line-up over the weekend as the side came up against a high-octane Melbourne. The Broncos just could not hold back the Storm who extended their winning streak with a 40-12 win. However, even in defeat, Farnworth continues to show his worth as a hard running centre as he topped the run metres charts for the Queensland-based outfit with 110 metres on top of 51 post contact metres and a tackle bust. Even though he has missed three games this year due to injury, he has the fifth most metres gained (1,193), the fifth most tackle busts (24) and the third most line breaks (6) all by a Broncos player.

Ryan Sutton

It may have ended in defeat for Canberra yet again but there is no question that Sutton is still playing some of his best rugby since joining the Raiders in 2019. The 26-year-old produced a solid effort despite a loss to the Roosters, totalling 109 metres, 30 post contact metres, two tackle busts and 25 tackles. Overall, the hard-working back-rower has the second most run metres and tackles by any Raiders player so far this year and continues to stake his claim for a England spot come the World Cup later this year.

Josh Hodgson

Over the last couple of games, Tom Starling has been the preferred choice as starting hooker for Canberra with Hodgson coming off the interchange. However, the 31-year-old was given starting orders this time around against Sydney but this time it would not prove fruitful as his side struggled to contain Trent Robinson’s men. The dynamic dummy half did look to be one of the better players on the field for Ricky Stuart’s side though, leading the way in tackles with 40 to his name as well as racking up a try, an assist, a line break assist and two tackle busts. Despite missing a couple of games this year, Hodgson still has the second most try assists and fourth most tackles by a Raiders player this season.

Harry Rushton

Wigan’s Ben Flower (left) and Harry Rushton (right) tackle St Helens hooker James Roby (centre)

The 19-year-old still awaits his full NRL debut but if his performances in the New South Wales Cup are anything to go by then it could be much sooner rather then later. The former Wigan man featured in Canberra’s loss to North Sydney over the weekend but he still had another solid outing despite the Bears’ dominance. In 60 minutes of action, Rushton led the way in tackles yet again for the Raiders with 41 while putting together a positive running display that saw him take 10 carries for 86 metres and 31 post contact metres.

Dom Young

The talented centre was back in action over the weekend for the first time since suffering an injury in the fourth round of the NSW Cup. Before sitting on the sidelines, Young was in remarkable form for Newcastle’s reserve side and while his return saw a defeat against the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles, his pure talent was there to be seen. Altogether, the 19-year-old had took 11 carries for 119 metres, 40 post contact metres whilst also producing four tackle busts in a powerful effort.

Bailey Hodgson

Hodgson is a new addition to Brits Down Under as the young Englishman finally made his debut for Newcastle in the NSW Cup after recovering from off-season surgery. The 18-year-old started at full-back in the defeat to the Sea Eagles, seeing 40 minutes of game time and, overall, producing a strong effort with the third most metres by a Knights player with 121 from 12 carries alongside 25 post contact metres and a tackle bust.

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

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