Brits Down Under: Will Pryce scores points again, Tom Burgess’ perfect tackling, Max King’s enormous effort

Ben Olawumi
Will Pryce, Tom Burgess, Max King

From left to right: Will Pryce, Tom Burgess & Max King were among the best performing Brits in the NRL in Round 18 Down Under

Round 18 of the NRL season is complete, with former Huddersfield Giants young gun Will Pryce scoring points again for Newcastle Knights and Max King putting in a huge performance for Canterbury Bulldogs.

Brits Down Under is a weekly feature here on Love Rugby League in 2024, checking out how the NRL‘s British players get on every week.

The Dolphins were the team with the bye this week.

Here is a recap from Round 18…

John Bateman (Wests Tigers)

Bradford-born Bateman played the full 80 minutes in the second row for Wests on Saturday as they were beaten 40-28 on home soil by Melbourne Storm, and he was the Tigers’ second-highest metre maker with 177 to his name, just four behind team-mate Jahream Bula (181). Nobody on the field made more post-contact metres than Bateman’s 76.

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Tom Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

Souths won 32-16 at Parramatta Eels on Thursday, and Burgess – who will join Huddersfield Giants in 2025 – played 39 minutes across two stints off the interchange bench. The 32-year-old had a 100% tackle efficiency with 19 tackles attempted and executed, managing to make 127 metres in 13 runs.

Bailey Hayward (Canterbury Bulldogs)

Two-time Scotland international Hayward, born and raised in New South Wales with heritage linking him to the Bravehearts, played 54 minutes off the bench across two stints for the Bulldogs on Saturday as they picked up a 13-12 win at home against the New Zealand Warriors.

With those two stints split into 49 & five-minute spells on the field, the 23-year-old made 82 metres in the space of 14 runs, making 39 tackles and ending with a tackle efficiency above 88%.

Max King (Canterbury Bulldogs)

Bulldogs team-mate King – born in Huddersfield – played a whopping 68 minutes at prop – split across 29 and 39-minute stints. Across those 68 minutes, his tackle efficiency was an impressive 98.21%, and only Josh Curran (17) made more hit-ups than King’s 16. The 27-year-old also made a huge 153 metres.

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Kai Pearce-Paul (Newcastle Knights)

Sunday saw four Brits square off as the Knights picked up a 16-12 win at Canberra, and Pearce-Paul played the full 80 minutes in the second row for the visitors. The ex-Wigan Warriors young gun made 91 metres in just nine carries, with 48 of those coming post-contact. He also made 40 tackles, bettered only amongst his team-mates by hooker Jayden Brailey (46).

Will Pryce (Newcastle Knights)

Bradford-born Pryce kept his spot in the Knights’ halves, and followed last week’s debut try with a conversion on his second NRL appearance, earning the visitors two points. His 114 metres – made in 10 carries – included 41 post-contact, with a tackle efficiency of above 91%.

Elliott Whitehead (Canberra Raiders)

Starting in the Raiders’ second row, 34-year-old Whitehead – born in Bradford – did a 64-minute stint before being replaced. The veteran made 30 tackles, carrying the ball eight times and making 80 metres including 34 post-contact. Whitehead’s tackle efficiency ended up at just over 83%.

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Morgan Smithies (Canberra Raiders)

Halifax-born team-mate Smithies meanwhile made 40 tackles, the second-most of any Raiders player behind only hooker Tom Starling (54). He played 50 minutes in total at loose, split between 46 and four-minute stints. The 23-year-old made 55 metres in the space of seven carries, with 18 of those coming post-contact.

NRL Round 18 results

Parramatta Eels 16-32 South Sydney Rabbitohs

Cronulla Sharks 16-20 Gold Coast Titans

Brisbane Broncos 6-14 Penrith Panthers

Canterbury Bulldogs 13-12 New Zealand Warriors

Wests Tigers 28-40 Melbourne Storm

North Queensland Cowboys 20-21 Manly Sea Eagles

Sydney Roosters 42-12 St George Illawarra Dragons

Canberra Raiders 12-16 Newcastle Knights

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