Will Pryce debut, Dom Young at the double, John Bateman returns: Brits Down Under

Drew Darbyshire
Will Pryce, Dom Young, John Bateman NRL Alamy

From left to right: Will Pryce (Knights), Dom Young (Roosters) and John Bateman (Tigers) in NRL action

Round 17 of the NRL is complete, with Newcastle Knights’ Will Pryce becoming the latest Englishman to make his debut in the competition.

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.

Manly Sea Eagles, South Sydney Rabbitohs and Gold Coast Titans had bye weeks. Here is a brief recap of how the NRL’s British contingent got on in Round 17..

Max King

The 27-year-old produced a mammoth display in the Bulldogs’ 15-14 win over the Sharks, starting in the front-row and playing 61 minutes in total. King made 151 metres from 19 carries, including 18 hit ups, whilst making 45 tackles with a tackle efficiency of 90 per cent. A huge effort.

King, who was born in Huddersfield whilst his dad David was playing for the Giants, has previously spoken to the i about his aspirations to represent his birthplace and mother’s side of the family one day, although he has yet to earn the call-up to the England national team.

Will Pryce

The 21-year-old became the latest English player to make his NRL debut, playing alongside former Man of Steel Jackson Hastings in the halves in the Knights’ win over the Eels.

It might be a cliché, but it would be fair to say it was a dream debut for Pryce, whose family, including father Leon, made the trip over from England for the proud occasion. Pryce, who is a product of the Huddersfield Giants academy, played the full 80 minutes and scored a try in his first NRL appearance. Aside from that, he ran for 98 metres from 12 carries, making two line breaks and three tackle breaks, whilst making 19 tackles, dealing well with a lot of traffic thrown his way.

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Kai Pearce-Paul

There was another Englishman lining up for the Knights in the shape of Pearce-Paul. The towering back-rower played the full 80 minutes in the back-row in Newcastle’s victory over Parramatta, making 32 tackles to go alongside his seven carries.

Elliott Whitehead

Elliott Whitehead Canberra Raiders Alamy
Elliott Whitehead in action for Canberra Raiders in 2024

The Bradfordian played the full 80 minutes in Canberra’s 16-6 defeat at Melbourne. Whitehead, who has been linked with a return to Super League with his former club Catalans Dragons in 2025, made an impressive 46 tackles, with a tackle efficiency of 86 per cent. He also made 72 metres from eight carries, including seven hit ups.

The England international has subsequently been charged by the NRL’s match review committee following the match. He has been charged a grade one dangerous contact on Melbourne’s Shawn Blore in the 30th minute. If he takes the early guilty plea, Whitehead will pay a $1,000 fine.

Morgan Smithies

The Wigan Warriors academy product has made a strong start to life in the NRL following his arrival in the off-season. Smithies played 58 minutes in Canberra’s defeat to the Storm, making 45 tackles, five carries and eight passes.

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Herbie Farnworth

The Lancastrian featured in the Dolphins’ 26-6 defeat to the Dragons. Farnworth, who represented England at the World Cup in 2022, made 107 metres from 14 carries which included six tackle breaks. Farnworth made 11 tackles from his centre position, but registered seven missed tackles. He also made two offloads.

Dom Young

The towering England winger just can’t stop scoring. Young bagged another brace and provided an assist in the Roosters’ 40-6 win over the Tigers and made the most line breaks in the game with three to his name. Young, another product of Huddersfield’s academy, made 177 metres from 14 carries, including five tackle breaks.

Victor Radley

It was another game in the back-row for Victor The Inflictor, and he came up with a strong display in the Roosters’ big win over the Tigers. Sydney-born Radley, who qualifies to play for England through his father, made 128 metres from 10 carries, including three tackle breaks and nine hit ups. The 26-year-old even got on the scoresheet whilst making 34 tackles.

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John Bateman

The Bradfordian made his return from a seven-week lay-off after recovering from a pectoral tear. Bateman came on from the bench in the Tigers’ defeat to the Roosters, playing 60 minutes in total. The England international made 66 metres from 10 carries whilst making 30 tackles in what was a pretty good individual performance on his first game back from a lengthy lay-off.

NRL Round 17 results

Canterbury Bulldogs 15-14 Cronulla Sharks

New Zealand Warriors 32-16 Brisbane Broncos

Newcastle Knights 34-26 Parramatta Eels

Melbourne Storm 16-6 Canberra Raiders

St George Illawarra Dragons 26-6 Dolphins

Penrith Panthers 6-16 North Queensland Cowboys

Sydney Roosters 40-6 Wests Tigers

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