History will be made in the NRL on Saturday as for the first time, six British players will line up in a single fixture.
Canberra Raiders’ game with South Sydney Rabbitohs looks set to beat the old record of five with the three Burgess twins named for Souths while Elliott Whitehead, Josh Hodgson and Ryan Sutton set to play for the Raiders.
The record would have been seven had John Bateman not suffered an eye socket injury two weeks ago in a clash with Penrith’s Viliame Kikau.
The game has been dubbed the Battle of Britain and George Burgess is loving the title.
“They’ve got every right to be calling it the Battle of Britain,” George Burgess said. “It’s good for the English game and it’s good for English rugby league to have those players out here in the competition.
“We are all good mates so it should be good to go out there and compete against each other.”
The Canberra quartet met up with their Sydney-based countrymen after the Green Machine’s round seven match against Manly and the 10 English players in the NRL this season keep in contact via a WhatsApp group.
“I’m really close with all the boys but extra-close with Elliott Whitehead and John Bateman because I played with them at Bradford,” Tom Burgess said. “They were two of my really good mates coming through at Bradford so it’s great to see them come out here.
“I keep in touch with them all the time and when you play a game against your mates, you want to play well so you can say, ‘hey, what about the time I got you’ or that sort of thing.”
The record of five English players has been achieved on a few occasions, including when the full Burgess clan came up against James Graham in 2014. But there are two occasions we’ve picked out where five Englishmen featured in the 70s and 80s, see if you can name the players! There are some big names on the list!