There were seven English players who competed in the NRL this round each coming away from the round with varying degrees of satisfaction
Among them was a debut for a former Wigan Warriors academy player who has been tipped to have a successful career down under
Let’s take a look at how the players vying for a spot in Shaun Wane’s England squad did in Round Seven.
Luke Thompson played shorter minutes than usual as the Canterbury Bulldogs were well beaten by the Brisbane Broncos. The bruising forward only played 40 minutes in what was a short stint for Thompson. During his time on the field, he made 99 metres and 36 tackles as he got through a lot of work in the middle of the park. Thompson’s limited minutes might have been due to the Broncos running away with the game in the second half and the Bulldogs saving their best forward for another day.
Back in the starting line up after missing last week though injury, Herbie Farnworth continued his great start to the season as the Broncos swept aside the Bulldogs. Back in the centres, Farnworth made 140 metres as well as an impressive eight tackle breaks as he helped lead his team to victory. Alongside Kotoni Staggs the Broncos may have one of the best centre partnerships in the competition as both players continue to shine for them.
After a short period in the starting line-up Tom Burgess found himself back on the bench as the South Sydney Rabbitohs were shocked by Wests Tigers. Although back amongst the interchanges, Burgess still produced a powerful display in the middle making a big 128 metres alongside 34 tackles in a 40-minute display. Seemingly playing better from the bench, Burgess will be a big help to Shaun Wane come the World Cup due to his ability to keep up the intensity when starting props Alex Walmsley and Luke Thompson need a break.
Coming in as a late replacement due to Kelma Tuilagi being ruled out with Covid, Gildart made the interchange bench as he was on the winning side for the first time as an NRL player. Playing 40 minutes off the bench in the centres, Gildart made 65 metres and 7 tackles as he looked to play his way back into the Tigers’ starting lineup. An injury to Wests fullback Daine Laurie may give the former Warrior an opportunity back in the starting 13 which he will need to capitalise on if he wants to make the England World Cup squad this winter.
Although the Canberra Raiders were well beaten by the Penrith Panthers, backrower Ryan Sutton got through his typical mountain of work as he spent most the game on the back foot. Sutton seems firmly back in the 17-man squad for the Raiders as he came off the bench for a 55-minute stint in which the former Wigan Warrior made 46 tackles and 61 metres. After struggling to get a game at the start of the season, the bruising backrower is now playing himself back into contention for the England squad.
Harry Rushton made his NRL debut in Round Seven and was given a baptism of fire coming up against the reigning premiers the Penrith Panthers and was on the losing side in his first game. In what was only Rushton’ second game at the professional level after a single appearance for the Wigan Warriors, the backrower came off the bench and played 20 minutes making 24 metres and 16 tackles. Although this year’s World Cup may come too soon for Rushton, there is a lot of promise and excitement surrounding the young forward who could go on to have an excellent career down under.
Still getting up to speed with first grade Rugby League, George Burgess played back-to-back games for the first time since 2020. In a 23-minute showing the front row forward made 14 tackles and 39 metres as the Dragons held on to beat the Roosters. As he looks to return to his best form, a consistent run of games will be crucial for Burgess to reach the level he was playing at in his first spell in the NRL.