We have taken a look at how the NRL’s British contingent got on in an action packed weekend of NRL finals action.
Despite a staggered first half that saw a plethora of errors while being slightly lethargic in defence, the Raiders produced an inspiring second half display led by the star halves duo of George Williams and Jack Wighton. As mentioned, there were warning signs early on as Cronulla capitalised on a poor start from Canberra to lead after 30 minutes of action. However, the Sharks were found to be there for the taking as Williams took a brilliant interception all the way to the try-line on the stroke of half-time to reduce the deficit. From then on, the Raiders seemed to step up a gear with both Williams and Wighton leading from the front as both players secured a brace of tries, with the Englishman securing his second of the game in the 57th minute after barging his way over the line following an assist from his halves partner. Overall, it was an influential display from the former Wigan half-back as he continues to look right at home in the NRL. In total he secured 81 metres, 22 tackles, a try and an assist to cap an outstanding effort. The question will now be can he repeat this kind of performance as a 2019 Grand Final rematch sees Canberra take on Sydney in the semi-finals.
Like Canberra, it was not the greatest of starts for South Sydney over the weekend as Newcastle scored two tries and notched a penalty goal within the first 15 minutes of the game to find themselves leading 14-0. However, from what we have seen in recent weeks, the Rabbitohs can be a dangerous team to hold back and in the end that would certainly be the case as Wayne Bennett’s side ran in an unanswered 46 points to take a resounding win over the Knights. The 28-year-old continued his fine form after bulldozing his way to another 100+ metre game with 153 and with his sheer size making him a difficult entity to stop, he totalled 56 post contact metres. The Bunnies now take on Parramatta in next week’s semi-finals and undoubtedly Burgess will be called upon again to push his side onto the front foot with his strong ball carrying through the middle.
The 26-year-old again proved to be a huge workhorse in defence for the Raiders after making the second most tackles by a Canberra player throughout the game with 37. As the finals go on there is not much doubt that Bateman will be a key cog in Canberra’s engine room as we have seen how much of a difference maker he can be both as a productive runner and efficient tackler.
The 30-year-old produced a solid display defensively in which he put up 27 tackles as well as sealing Canberra’s last try of the game after latching onto a grubber kick from captain Jarrod Croker.
Watch NRL and live stream every NRL game to keep up with how Tom Burgess, John Bateman, Ryan Sutton, Elliott Whitehead, Luke Thompson and George Williams and all the others are getting on Down Under.
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