The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - SPORT - CEN­TRAL COAST STA­DIUM

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

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