After Injuries to Dominic Young and Herbie Farnworth, there were a smaller number of English players competing in the NRL Round Six as Oliver Gildart also missed the round after not being selected.
All five of the remaining players were forwards and each one will have been looking to impress this round in an effort to make England’s World Cup squad.
Let’s see how the bruising big men got on this week
The Canberra captain moved back to his usual position of second-row for this round after starting the previous five at 13, with Whitehead having arguably his best performance of the season in a losing Raiders side. Back in his normal position, Whitehead played the full 80 minutes for the first time this season making 40 tackles and 52 metres as his side lost their third consecutive game. After his best game of the season, coach Ricky Stuart may choose to keep his captain at backrow going forward as it is the position which allows Whitehead to play his best rugby.
With Elliott Whitehead moving into the second row, Ryan Sutton was put into his favored loose-forward position for the first time this season. Sutton has struggled to get game time this season after playing a high number of games for the Raiders last year, with this only being his second appearance of the season after a late call up against the Storm last weekend. The former Wigan Warrior made 37 tackles and 85 metres in an assured performance in the middle. Sutton will be looking to continue his starting role for the Raiders so he can have a hope of reuniting with Shaun Wane in the England Squad.
Luke Thompson put in a massive shift for the Canterbury Bulldogs but ultimately ended up on the wrong side of the result as the South Sydney Rabbitohs proved too good. Thompson has had a good start to the season but after making his way back into the starting 13 a couple of rounds ago his performances have improved with his game this weekend his best of the season. Playing a big 68 minutes for the Bulldogs, Thompson made 55 tackles and 132 metres which are both season highs. Games like this only solidify Thompson’s place in the England front row alongside former St Helens teammate Alex Walmsley.
Up against fellow Englishman Luke Thompson, Tom Burgess struggled to impose himself on the game as his side the South Sydney Rabbitohs ran away with the game. Only playing 27 minutes, Burgess did still make 89 metres in his shorter than usual stint as well as 20 tackles as the Rabbitohs enjoyed success through the middle. With Burgess still set to return to starting 13 due to South Sydney injuries, he will be looking for bigger performances than this one to keep his place in the England team.
George Burgess played his second game of the season and his first since he was cleared to play after sexual touching charges against him. It’s easy to forget that this is only Burgess’ second game of Rugby League since November 2020 as he is still getting back to full fitness after major hip surgery. The front rower made 36 metres and 12 tackles in his 20 minutes on the field. He will be looking to get his season back on track with a run of games under his belt as he tries to get back to his best form.