Ryan Sutton ready to 'prove a point' against Bennett and English trio

Ryan Sutton will use the Canberra Raiders' battle of Britain as a chance to prove himself to England coach Wayne Bennett and measure himself against some of the players he grew up idolising.

Sutton has become an important cog in the Raiders' forward pack this year after the 23-year-old moved to the NRL for a challenge this season.

Point to prove: Ryan Sutton is ready to make his mark against the Burgess brothers and Wayne Bennett. Picture: Jamila Toderas

Point to prove: Ryan Sutton is ready to make his mark against the Burgess brothers and Wayne Bennett. Picture: Jamila Toderas

He is perhaps the least spoken-about Englishman in the Raiders' quartet, which includes international representatives Josh Hodgson, Elliott Whitehead and the injured John Bateman. But Sutton is ready to make his mark and the Raiders' clash against the South Sydney Rabbitohs gives him a perfect opportunity.

Bennett has taken the Rabbitohs reins this year and his forward pack is led by the Burgess trio of Sam, Tom and George.

"I still understand I'm young so I'm concentrating on my own game. But my goal is definitely to play for England, you want to strive for the peak and that's what I want to do. I want to play for my country," Sutton said.

"Hopefully coming over to Australia and to play in the NRL will give me a helping hand to where I want to go. You want to come up against the best and see if you are up to that standard. This week it is a good test and something I'm looking forward to.


"You want to come up against the people who are at the top of the game. I have got a point to prove, I want to try to get in that England squad and that is my aim this year. If I can show that against the best this week, then who knows."

Bennett, rugby league's mastercoach, has led Souths to an impressive start to the season in his first year at the club. The Rabbitohs have lost just one game and will give the Raiders a massive premiership test on Saturday night.

The Raiders' English quartet walking a road to the NRL finals. Picture: Dion Georgopoulos

The Raiders' English quartet walking a road to the NRL finals. Picture: Dion Georgopoulos

The obvious English flavour will add another element, putting Sutton, Whitehead and Hodgson against the Burgess brothers and England's mentor.

Sutton played 119 games for Wigan before a meeting with Ricky Stuart convinced moving to Canberra would be the best decision for his career.

He has been the Raiders' starting lock for all but two of the games this season and he says there will be no love lost when countrymen collide at Canberra Stadium.

"It's lived up to everything I thought it would be so far. Every week is a tough week, you can't have a week off and I've noticed that trying to get your body used to the impact," Sutton said.

"It's a learning curve for me at the moment and I'm really enjoying my time. I've just got to keep getting better and better. I'm still getting used to everything.

"Our focus from minute one has been to go all the way [this year] regardless of injuries."

The Raiders have been hit by early-season injury woes, losing Joe Tapine, Jordan Rapana, Joey Leilua, John Bateman and Luke Bateman for large chunks of the year.

The injuries have tested the Raiders depth as they set their sights on a finals return. Sebastian Kris could make his NRL debut from the Raiders' bench this weekend while Bailey Simonsson will start for the third time in his career when he replaces Rapana.

Sia Soliola said: "We've got guys who can cover that position [of Rapana]. The big challenge for us right now is having influential guys out. But we've got blokes willing to step up and take charge. We trust whoever fills in."


Saturday: Canberra Raiders v South Sydney Rabbitohs at Canberra Stadium, 7.30pm. Tickets available from Ticketek.

Raiders: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, 2. Bailey Simonsson, 3. Jarrod Croker, 4. Nick Cotric, 5. Michael Oldfield, 6. Jack Wighton, 7. Sam Williams, 8. Josh Papalii, 9. Josh Hodgson (c), 10. Dunamis Lui, 11. Hudson Young, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. Ryan Sutton. Interchange from: 14. Siliva Havili, 15. Sebastian Kris, 16. Sia Soliola, 17. Corey Horsburgh, 18. Aidan Sezer, 19. Emre Guler, 20. Royce Hunt, 21. Jack Murchie.

Rabbitohs: 1. Corey Allan, 2. Mawene Hiroti, 3. Kyle Turner, 4. Dane Gagai, 5. Campbell Graham, 6. Cody Walker, 7. Adam Reynolds, 8. George Burgess, 9. Damien Cook, 10. Thomas Burgess, 11. John Sutton, 12. Sam Burgess (c), 13. Cameron Murray. Interchange from: 14. Junior Tatola, 15. Mark Nicholls , 16. Ethan Lowe, 17. Liam Knight, 18. Jacob Gagan, 19. Bayley Sironen, 20. Dean Britt, 21. Tom Amone.