SOUTHS ENFORCER BURGESS FACES ANOTHER TRIP TO THE NRL JUDICIARY
SAM Burgess is staring at his second suspension of the season following a high shot on Raiders halfback Aidan Sezer that sparked an all-in melee.
Having missed the past fortnight due to an elbow to the throat of Bulldogs centre Josh Morris, the Englishman spoiled a stunning individual display with a swinging arm midway in the second half.
Burgess ran for 179 metres and made 21 tackles in South Sydney’s 42-22 win over Canberra, but it’s unlikely he’ll be there next week when the Rabbitohs host Brisbane on Thursday night.
Asked if he thought he’d be in trouble, Burgess told Fox Sports after the game: “I didn’t think there was anything in it.”
Souths coach Anthony Seibold didn’t want to comment on the tackle when quizzed later, but Raiders counterpart Ricky Stuart had a dig at the Englishman, saying he was lucky Sezer didn’t stay down. The remark ap- peared to be a reference to Burgess’s comments earlier in the week that he wouldn’t have been suspended had Morris not “milked it”.
Should Burgess be charged, it’ll be the 13th time he’s come under the ire of the match review committee since making his NRL debut in 2010. While many on the ground were calling for him to be sent off, Burgess found an unlikely ally in Raiders prop Sia Soliola, who went through a similar incident last season.
Despite a clean record, Soliola was slapped with a five-game ban for a high shot that saw Storm fullback Billy Slater stretchered from the field, but he doesn’t think Burgess should receive such a lengthy suspension.
“It’s a tough one because I’ve been in a similar situation,” Soliola told The Sunday Telegraph.
“I think it would have been a tough one if he was sent off. I could understand it if they did send him, but I think they made the right call to keep him on because Aidan wasn’t injured in any way.
“I’m sure Sam didn’t have any intent to collect him as high as he did because he’s a tough player, but he’s definitely not a grub.
“He just came off a suspension so I hope for his sake he doesn’t get too long. I’d be surprised if he got six weeks. I think he might get a couple but that’s up to the panel.
“When you play guys like Damien Cook, Billy Slater and Aidan Sezer who are quick off the mark, sometimes as a big fella it’s hard to adjust with the height difference. There are pros and cons working against Sam, but I think it’ll help that Aidan wasn’t hurt.”
Burgess was given a standing ovation by the Rabbitohs’ faithful as he went off in the 61st minute.
“He was brilliant,’’ Seibold said. “He saw two pretty gritty performances from us and, him being a competitor, he wanted to get back out there.”
Seibold was disappointed his side leaked two late tries after leading 42-12 and their lack of a ruthless edge.
But it was the Rabbitohs’ fourth win from their past five starts and a performance that reinforced them as top-eight contenders.
Burgess carved up the Raiders’ middle all day and burst through a hole in the 44th minute, with fullback Jack Wighton doing well to stop him in his tracks. Richie Kennar landed the knockout blow for the Rabbitohs in the 52nd minute to make it 32-12.
Greg Inglis also showed signs he was getting back to his best. He had been slow out of the blocks in the first six rounds but hit full flight as he latched on to a wayward Sezer pass to run 80m untouched in the 30th minute.
Tempers fray in Gosford after Sam Burgess’s dangerous tackle yesterday. Picture: AAP