English people love Australia. We can’t quote how many come to our shores each year, but what we can tell you is that six-seven will be putting their tea and scones aside this Friday night when they line up against one another in the Nation’s Capital. And you can chuck in their National Coach, Wayne Bennett for good measure.
So let’s rattle off some names shall we? For Canberra, there’s Elliot Whitehead, the crafty Josh Hodgson, and new kids on the block Ryan Sutton (named in the 19 jersey) and John Bateman, one of the nominee’s for the Super League’s Man of Steel award back in 2018.
If Sutton gets the nod, it will break the record for the most amount of Englishmen to appear in an NRL match, which was previously set back in Round 10 this year, when both sides met. If he doesn’t, it’ll be a record for any NRL Finals match.
As for the Rabbitohs, the word Burgess represents three players that will be running out at GIO Stadium in temperatures reminiscent of home. In what’s already being dubbed as ‘The Battle of Britain’ Captain Sam Burgess had these words to say about the match.
“The English boys I know what they’re going to bring this week. Compete extremely hard.” He said.
“They’re always in the game until the last minute. John Bateman didn't play last time so it’ll be good to play against him, we came through the same system at Bradford together, he’s been a revelation in the game. I’m really proud of what they’ve done and what they represent.”
“It’s a great moment for the NRL and the English game. It’s a testament to what the players can produce. They’re all great men so it’s very passionate and good people, I’m really looking forward to it.”
Younger brother Thomas Burgess, was slightly less charitable when quizzed about the record. “I don’t think there will be any love lost. The boys will be going tooth and nail and so will we.” Said Thomas.
“I’m sure we’ll all shake hands and give each other a cuddle after the game whatever the result.”