Rabbitohs slammed for ‘appalling’ response to Burgess ban
South Sydney’s George Burgess has been handed the longest NRL suspension in seven years by the judiciary.
The Rabbitohs enforcer was caught on camera eye-gouging former teammate Robbie Farah in Souths’ loss to the Wests Tigers last week.
The low act has received widespread condemnation, with Ray Hadley calling it “disturbing in the extreme”.
After a 29-minute hearing at Rugby League headquarters on Tuesday night, Burgess has been handed a nine-match suspension.
It included a 50 per cent loading for a previous eye-gouging offence and a 25 per cent discount for pleading guilty.
It’s the longest ban since fellow Englishman James Graham’s 12-week sanction for biting Billy Slater in the 2012 Grand Final.
It means Burgess will be eligible to return for week one of the NRL finals but it could spell an end to his career in the NRL.
South Sydney is reportedly unwilling to renew the 27-year-old’s contract at season’s end, with a return to the UK Super League the most likely scenario.
Rabbitohs General Manager Shane Richardson called the whole situation “a tragedy for George and his family”.
“I don’t think this should ever define what George Burgess is about. It’s an unfortunate incident that he’s pleaded guilty to but it will not define his career,” Richardson says.
Sports reporter James Willis tells Steve Price the ban “isn’t enough” and says Richardson’s comments are out of line.
“It would have been a tragedy if Robbie Farah lost his eye… the whole way that’s been handled is appalling.”
Click PLAY below to hear James Willis’ comments in full
It was a busy night at NRL HQ with NSW Blues forward Tariq Sims rubbed out of State of Origin Game III.
The St George Illawarra forward had his grade two dangerous contact charge downgraded but was still found guilty.
He’s been suspended for one game, meaning he’ll miss the Origin decider at ANZ Stadium next Wednesday.
Newcastle Knights star David Klemmer is expected to be called back into the Blues side as his replacement.