Brits Down Under: Wonderful Williams, Farnworth shines for Brisbane & Hodgson makes comeback

Zach Holland

We’ve taken a look at how the British contingent got on in the opening round of the 2021 NRL season. 

George Williams

After such an impressive debut year in the NRL last season, Williams picked up from where he left off in the Raiders round one victory over the Tigers on Sunday. The 26-year-old was in fine form once again as he was an integral to Canberra’s attack after helping set up three tries as well taking the kicking duties for the injured Jarrod Croker. Overall, the former Wigan man had two try assists, a line break assist and 10 points to his name as he continues to show his worth Down Under.

Josh Hodgson

The 31-year-old missed most of last season due to injury but would show no game rust with a solid performance in Canberra’s 30-12 win over the Tigers. The England international is well known for his efficiency in defence and he showed that here as he led the way in tackles for his side with 35 to his name. The Raiders will certainly need the likes of Hodgson to continue to show a great connection and chemistry with both Williams and Jack Wighton if they want to go one better than last season and reach the Grand Final.

Tom Burgess

Tom Burgess in action for South Sydney Rabbitohs

The Rabbitohs came into the first round of the season with plenty of momentum with many tipping them to go well this year. However, after a slow start against Melbourne, the Bunnies would find themselves 22-0 down and from there they were always chasing the game and in the end would go on to lose 26-18 to the reigning champions. Despite showing glimpses of their offensive magic, it still was not the start that Burgess and his side were hoping for with the 28-year-old leaving the field after suffering a nasty burner injury. The England prop was a massive influence for Souths in 2020 so Wayne Bennett will no doubt be hoping he is free to play next week as they take on Manly in round two. Before leaving the field, Burgess looked impressive as he tallied 23 tackles and 58 metres from eight carries.

Elliott Whitehead

The 31-year-old still proves to be a smart player whenever he is on the pitch while showing dynamism in attack and a great work rate defensively. In their dominant win over the Tigers, Whitehead had nine runs for 58 metres and also had the second most tackles by a Raiders player with 34.

Herbie Farnworth

The Broncos may have succumbed to the wooden spoon last year, but Farnworth proved to be one of the side’s shining lights with some solid and impressive showings both on the wing and at centre. The 21-year-old was in top form yet again in Brisbane’s first game of 2021 against Parramatta on Thursday. It may have ended in a disappointing defeat as Kevin Walter’s side saw Parramatta fight back form 16-0 deficit but even with that Farnworth probably had his best ever game for the Broncos. Overall, the youngster put in a mammoth shift with 17 runs for 139 metres, 54 post contact metres and a try assist.

Ryan Sutton

The 26-year-old had his best year in NRL last season with his strong and effective ball running helping him become an impactful and influential player in Canberra’s back-row. In the win over the Tigers, the former Wigan forward continued to show just that, coming off the bench and putting together a big effort with 129 metres off 15 runs while making 17 tackles.

Dom Young

A new addition to this year’s Brits Down Under as the former Huddersfield man joined Newcastle in the off-season. The 19-year-old may not have been a part of the Knights’ squad for their first week win over Cronulla but still showed his great potential as he was a major factor for the side’s reserve outfit in the New South Wales Cup. In a 26-8 loss to Canterbury’s feeder side, the Mounties, Young played a full 80 minutes and made 103 metres from 14 runs while securing four tackle breaks and a try assist.

Harry Rushton

Wigan Warriors’ Ben Flower (left) and Harry Rushton (right) tackle St Helens’ James Roby (centre)

Another new addition to Brits Down Under as Rushton is the latest British recruit to join Canberra. Like Young, the former Wigan forward was not selected for the Raiders squad that faced the Tigers on Sunday but instead was a part of the club’s reserve side that faced the Western Suburbs Magpies in the NSW Cup. The 19-year-old racked up 80 metres from nine carries as his side went on to win 32-18.

Watch NRL and live stream every NRL game to keep up with how Tom Burgess, Josh Hodgson, Ryan Sutton, Elliott Whitehead, Luke Thompson and George Williams and all the others are getting on Down Under.

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