The Courier-Mail

Show some bottle Lockyer’s message to NRL judiciary as Burgess challenges grading

- PAUL MALONE

GEORGE Burgess’ suspension from the first week of the finals has been backed by Darren Lockyer.

The former Test skipper said the ban doubled as a warning to junior rugby league spectators about touchline behaviour.

Burgess will challenge the grading of a contrary conduct charge at the NRL judiciary tonight after advancing a guilty plea which will sideline him from South Sydney’s eliminatio­n final against Cronulla at Allianz Stadium on Sunday.

Burgess threw a water bottle at Roosters forward Kane Evans from his interchang­e chair in retributio­n for Evans hurling a ball at Souths teammate Paul Carter.

By contesting the grade-two charge, Burgess is trying to have the judiciary limit the suspension to one match, freeing him to play against the Broncos or Cowboys if the Rabbitohs should advance without him to the second week of the finals.

Cronulla captain Paul Gallen said he believed action against Burgess should have been no more than a “fine and a talking to’’. He tipped the Rabbitohs prop to be successful in seeking a downgrade to a grade-one offence.

In a statement, the Rabbitohs noted the public opinions of identities in the game including Ron Coote, Geoff Toovey and former NRL judiciary chairman Paul Conlon.

“The game, the ARL Commission, is on a bit of a charter to clean up the image of the game,’’ Lockyer said yesterday. “It’s unfortunat­e George Burgess could miss a finals game, but we’re talking about sending a good message to parents to behave themselves on the sidelines at junior footy.

“These are our elite players and they need to behave in an appropriat­e manner as well.’’

Souths will look to keep their season alive without two influentia­l but suspended forwards, Burgess and Issac Luke, both of whom would be able to play in the second week of the playoffs. resurrect his career in the NRL.

“We have tried to place Pat at the Cowboys,” his manager Shaun Pyne said. “They were looking at him earlier this season but we haven’t heard anything official.

“He’s a very good player. Any NRL club chasing a backup playmaker can certainly do worse than Pat.

“He’s only 22, has a great left-foot kicking game and has already been in the Bulldogs system, so he’s ready-made for any club that chooses to give him a go.”

 ??  ?? MAKING A STAND: Darren Lockyer backs a suspension.
MAKING A STAND: Darren Lockyer backs a suspension.
 ??  ?? FIGHTING CHARGE: George Burgess seeks a downgrade.
FIGHTING CHARGE: George Burgess seeks a downgrade.

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