We’ve taken a look at how the British contingent got on in the penultimate round of the 2020 NRL season.
For so long this year it looked as if Canterbury were all but condemned to the wooden spoon and with South Sydney and Penrith their last two opponents the task was that much harder. However, in a spirited effort, the Bulldogs stood tall against South Sydney at the weekend after coming away with a 26-16 win and the result saw them leapfrog Brisbane out of last place with one more game to go. It was a powerful and hard-working display from Thompson as he ran for 127 metres while being stellar defensively with 28 tackles to his name. In nine games, Thompson has averaged just over 100 metres and 29 tackles per game as he continues to adjust well to life in the NRL.
As each game passes Sutton looks well and truly more comfortable amongst Canberra’s impressive forward pack. It was another solid showing from the 25-year-old as the Raiders claimed a 26-14 win over the Warriors. Overall, the former Wigan man ran for 95 metres while making 28 tackles in the process and throughout the season he now has the sixth most accumulative metres (1,535) and the fifth most tackles (435) by any Canberra player.
The Broncos’ season went from bad to worse over the weekend as after Canterbury’s shock win over South Sydney, Brisbane sit right at the bottom of the ladder following their 26-12 loss to Parramatta at Bankwest Stadium and a defeat to North Queensland this week will condemn them to their first ever wooden spoon. The Broncos did keep themselves in the game for most of the first half but a backline re-shuffle due to in-game injuries certainly limited their attack even more so. The 20-year-old again provided some glimmer in an otherwise gloomy year though as he again showed quality form when securing his sixth try of the year after collecting a grubber kick from Darius Boyd in the 45th minute to keep within a slight distance of Parramatta. Throughout the game, Farnworth racked up 93 metres and 15 tackles alongside a try.
A measure of consistency all year with the 30-year-old easily being one of Canberra’s biggest workhorses. As mentioned on plenty of occasions, his influence and leadership in the back-row are hard to argue against. In the victory over the Warriors, Whitehead had a steady 79 metres from carries while further securing his spot as the club’s top tackler this year with another 16 to his name.
Throughout the year, Burgess has consistently been one of the spearheads of the Rabbitohs’ forward pack and despite a shock loss to Canterbury last Thursday, they still have the NRL finals to look towards in the coming weeks. It was a quieter affair from a ball running perspective from Burgess in the defeat to the Bulldogs as the 28-year-old ran for 69 metres from 10 carries but even with that he still continues to lead all South Sydney players in run metres for the season with 2,623. It was another solid performance defensively as well as the big front-rower made 32 tackles to take his seasonal tally to 452, the third most by a Bunnies player this year.
The 26-year-old showed warrior mentality to play through some obvious elbow discomfort to lead all Canberra players in tackles (34) in the win over the Warriors. Similar to Burgess, it was a much quieter game for Bateman in terms of ball running after taking six carries for 61 metres. Despite a place in the top four a possibility, the Raiders still have an NRL finals place in the bag and with only Cronulla left to play we will have to wait and see if Bateman’s elbow issue becomes an issue and whether he needs time to finally recuperate before the post season.
It was unfortunate day for the Raiders in terms of injury issues as Bateman dealt with discomfort in his elbow in the win over the Warriors while Canberra also lost Williams after seven minutes of action due to a failed HIA. As the NRL finals draw closer, it will be interesting to see if just like Bateman, Ricky Stuart risks fielding Williams come the last round of the season this week with a top four spot still up for grabs or decides to be extra cautious and have one of his top performers this year fully ready come the play-offs.
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