15th March 2021, 15:46 | englandrl
Canberra Raiders got their 2021 NRL campaign off to a winning start with England halfback George Williams playing a crucial role in the 30-12 victory over Wests Tigers.
Williams provided two try-assists whilst also assuming kicking duties for the Raiders notching five goals from six attempts at GIO Stadium.
The former Wigan Warriors halfback’s neat kick saw Jordan Rapana get Canberra on the scoreboard in the closing stages of the first half before a clever drop-off allowed Ryan James to power over shortly after the interval.
Williams finished the 2020 season with 15 try-assists to his name and is one of ten NRL players to notch two or more in the opening weekend of the season.
Following the game, speaking to fellow Englishman Elliott Whitehead on Canberra Raiders’ website, Williams said: “In the first half we were pretty scrappy especially individually, but we came home pretty strong, and it was pleasing to get the win in the end.
“We spoke at half-time that we weren’t using our big boys enough through the middle and Stick [Ricky Stuart] challenged the big boys and we had a great answer from them who rolled their middles and made it really easy for me, Jacko [Jack Wighton] and the backs to get on the back of that.”
Forward Ryan Sutton impressed making 125 metres from 14 carries, with 62 metres coming post-contact while Josh Hodgson played his first game in the NRL since picking an injury back in Round Nine of the 2020 season against Melbourne Storm.
Elsewhere, Tom Burgess had to leave the field early in South Sydney Rabbitohs’ 26-18 defeat against last year’s NRL Premiers Melbourne Storm on Thursday. Burgess departed on a stretcher but has since taken to his Instagram to confirm he is well.
The England forward posted: “Thanks everyone for your kind comments, feel much better now home and with my girls and the neck brace off, neck is stiff and sore but nothing serious, thanks to all the medical staff who took the necessary precautions and looked after my best interests.”
Herbie Farnworth played at centre in Brisbane Broncos 16-24 loss to Parramatta Eels on Friday and provided a try-assist for David Mead’s try which opened the scoring after nine minutes.
Luke Thompson is continuing to serve a four-game suspension for Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs who fell to a 32-16 defeat against Newcastle Knights, although Dominic Young and Bailey Hodgson were absent for the Knights.