Another fantastic round of NRL action has been and gone with English stars shining a plenty down under.
Dom Young and Herbie Farnworth had people calling for them to combine at the World Cup whilst Oliver Gildart kept his place in the Wests side.
So, after another weekend of NRL action and a World Cup waiting at the end of the year, here’s our overview of the English stars down under.
As the Melbourne Storm and the South Sydney Rabbitohs produced a great game of Rugby League, front-rower Burgess made his second appearance off the bench this season, gaining just under 100 meters including 4 tackle breaks as well making 29 tackles in his 40 minutes on the field. Another impressive display off the interchange bench for Burgess who will be looking to keep up his strong start to the season against the Sydney Roosters.
Following a long period of rehabilitation after hip resurfacing surgery, Burgess became the first rugby league player to take the field after such a procedure, playing 26 minutes for his new club St George Illawarra Dragons. The former Wigan Warrior made 19 tackles and gained 58 meters during his short stint on the field. His comeback has been marred however as he has reportedly been charged over an alleged sexual touching of a woman which took place in Sydney. He is due to appear in court on April 13th and could be possibly stood down by his new club but has been included in the squad for this week’s game but outside the first 17.
Once again lining up in the 13 jersey for the Canberra Raiders, the veteran forward is clearly adapting well to his new role playing longer minutes than the previous round. He also put in a big shift defensively making 37 tackles which is a big increase on the first round and shows Whitehead Is getting more accustomed to defending in the middle. His flexibility as a forward will be encouraging for England Head Coach Shaun Wane. Having a player like Whitehead who can cover multiple positions will be crucial when Wane comes to pick his squad.
Making 262 metres and scoring two tries, Farnworth was the standout Englishman during Round Two of the NRL. The young centre was instrumental in the Brisbane Broncos’ win over the Canterbury Bulldogs and has started the season in excellent form as the Broncos remain unbeaten. His awareness to strip the ball from opposite centre Braidon Burns to race away to score was genius. More performances like this one and he may be playing himself into Wane’s starting 13.
The powerhouse prop was once again preferred off the interchange bench by coach Trent Barrett as the Canterbury Bulldogs narrowly lost to the Brisbane Broncos. Thompson still played over 50 minutes making 29 tackles and running for 69 metres. Not as effective as off the bench as he was in Round One, Coach Trent Barrett may be looking to start his star forward Thompson in Round Three as the Bulldogs face an out of form Manly side.
Another impressive performance from the young winger who will certainly have played his way into Shaun Wane’s selection process after the opening two rounds of the NRL season. Young ran for over 140 meters including 4 tackle breaks and a line break. He also scored a try for the second consecutive week. The giant winger is proving a handful for NRL teams at present and could be massive for England come the World Cup if he continues his current form.
A tough game for Gildart and the West Tigers as they were well beaten by the Newcastle Knights 26-4. Having very little opportunity to show his ability as an attacking centre due to the Knights dominance, Gildart was forced to defend his own try line on numerous occasions and his failure to deal with a kick led to a try for Knights back row Tyson Frizell. Still early in his NRL career, he will have plenty more opportunities to show his abilities and help turn the Tigers fortunes around.