After the seventh round of the NRL season we look at the performances and stats of the league’s British contingent…
There is no question it has been a tough season so far for Canterbury and that was clear in the emotions of the Bulldogs’ players and staff as they earned their first win of the year against a sluggish Cronulla side. Ever since making his return from suspension, Thompson has been a big influence in Canterbury’s forward pack, showcasing brutal ball running and great tenacity in defence in the last three games. In the win over the Sharks, Thompson ran for more than 100 metres for the third straight game with 136 to his name alongside 37 metres post contact. The former St Helens star also made the second most tackles by a Canterbury player with 30 as well as registering a tackle bust.
Canberra’s struggles again showed on Saturday as they found themselves on the end of a come from behind loss to North Queensland. The Raiders put up 24 points in the first half as they looked on course for a smooth victory but after failing to register a single point in the second half, the Cowboys took advantage to win 26-24 and condemn Canberra to their third straight defeat. It was another inconsistent outing from an attacking standpoint for Williams and company with a stellar first 40 minutes coupled with a pointless second half and some defensive troubles.
The 26-year-old still looks energetic when out on the field and always looks to be trying to find a way through the defensive line of his opponents with his creative skillset. The half-back did manage to bag himself a try for the second straight week on the bounce too after a dazzling run and pass from Tom Starling allowed the former Wigan ace to secure his third try of the year, the second most by a Canberra player. On top of this, Williams also has the third most try assists this season for Canberra with four.
It certainly was not the return from injury that Farnworth was hoping for as Brisbane defensive woes continued after a disappointing 46-6 loss to Parramatta on Friday. The 21-year-old has been one of the Broncos most consistent performers this year but like most of the Broncos struggled to make an impact here due to the Eels dominance. Even in defeat, the Lancashire-born centre still put together a decent stat line, taking 12 carries for 96 metres and 33 post contact metres whilst also registering 13 tackles and a tackle bust. Despite Brisbane’s struggles, Farnworth keeps improving as a solid backline player and will undoubtedly be a big consideration for England selection come the World Cup.
There is no doubting the 26-year-old has been one of Canberra’s most improved and consistent performers. The former Wigan forward has come up big on plenty of occasions this year with some great all-round efforts both as ball carrier and defender. The Raiders may have had their issues over the last three weeks, but Sutton has still been a big presence and in the defeat to the Cowboys he had another solid display with 94 metres, 26 post contact metres and a big 40 tackles. Overall, he now has the fourth most metres (777) and second most tackles (229) by a Canberra player.
After his heroics against the Tigers last week, the 28-year-old came up with another big running performance as South Sydney again found themselves in a tough and dramatic game but this time against the Titans. For the second week in a row the Rabbitohs fought from behind to come away with a 40-30 win over Gold Coast, with Burgess leading from the front in the Bunnies’ forward pack. As a 36-year-old Benji Marshall spearheaded their attack, the powerful prop helped drive his side forward with plenty of big carries. Even though he did not get himself a try this time, the England international still showed why he is one of the best props in the league after another monster game that saw him secure 16 carries, 151 metres, 60 post contact metres and 20 tackles.
Despite three straight defeats, the 31-year-old still looks dynamic and influential player in the Raiders’ back-row. In the loss to the Cowboys, Whitehead had a stellar first half securing a line break assist and a try assist as the Raiders looked on the front foot in the first 40 minutes before a downward turn in the second. Altogether, the former Catalans and Bradford star put in a decent shift and also went onto make 32 tackles to take his tally for the season to 208, the third most by a Canberra player.
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