We’ve taken a look at how the British contingent got on in round 18 of the NRL season.
The Raiders kept themselves within distance of the Roosters in fourth with a more than convincing win over St George Illawarra on Friday. The connection between Williams and Jack Wighton was a joy to watch with the Canberra halves pairing utilising their creativity and vision to continuously find holes in the Dragons defence. The former Wigan half-back further added to his collection of try assists this year with another three to now take his seasonal tally to 14 whilst also adding three line break assists and 23 tackles in another great performance for the Raiders. The 25-year-old still leads all Raiders players in try assists and is in the top 10 for the entire league in that area also.
Despite a slight second half comeback scare against the Tigers, the Rabbitohs’ dominant first half display was enough for Wayne Bennett’s side to take the win. Once again, Burgess showed just how difficult an entity he is stop after another barnstorming performance saw the 28-year-old take to the Tigers’ defensive line with 177 run metres and 73 metres after contact. It has undoubtedly been a fantastic year so far for the former Bradford man as without his brother Sam marshalling the troops, South Sydney needed him to step up to plate and help lead a youthful forward pack and that he has.
Since his return from injury, Bateman has been a true spark for the Raiders as they seemingly look like a different outfit whenever he is out on the field which certainly bodes well for Ricky Stuart’s side as they look to repeat their finals heroics from last year. The 26-year-old again cemented himself as a huge factor both with the ball and in defence after recording 102 metres and the most tackles by a Raiders player with 35 in the win over the Dragons. In seven games, the England and Great Britain international has totalled 699 metres and 238 tackles, averaging near 100 metres and 34 tackles per game.
For the first time in their 13 years history, the Titans recorded their first back to back wins over Brisbane and in turn succumbed the side to their ninth straight loss. The 20-year-old Farnworth maybe one of the potential bright spots for the Broncos this year but it was a very quiet affair for the youngster in the loss to Gold Coast after not seeing much of the ball and only registered 30 metres from five carries. As mentioned though, Farnworth has easily been one of Brisbane’s more solid performers and has seen plenty more game time this year as he continues develop into a great backline threat with his ability to shift between centre and wing as well being capable to take up goal kicking duties when called upon.
As Williams and Wighton wreaked havoc in the halves, Whitehead made sure to make his impact in the win over St George Illawarra. The 30-year-old was able to record a try assist, a line break assist, 26 tackles and 68 metres from nine carries as the Dragons had no answer for Canberra’s creativity, attacking flair and defensive prowess.
I think we can certainly say this has been a season to remember for the 25-year-old, with Sutton cementing his place within the Raiders’ forward pack whilst being a great asset to the back-row alongside compatriots Bateman and Whitehead. The former Wigan man has been an efficient unit after another 100-metre display in the victory over St George Illawarra, racking up 121 metres alongside 23 tackles. Overall, this season, Sutton has the fifth most metres by a Canberra player with 1,419 and the fourth most tackles at 407.
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