The Rabbitohs will wait until Monday before deciding whether to roll the dice with Sam Burgess at the judiciary for the second time in the space of a month after he was charged with a high tackle on Aidan Sezer in South Sydney’s trouncing of the Canberra Raiders.
The English forward, who was playing his first match after spending a fortnight on the sidelines for collecting Bulldogs centre Josh Morris with a raised arm during a carry, is facing another two weeks on the sidelines after being stung with a grade-two careless high tackle charge.
He could miss three games if he chooses to fight the sanction at the NRL judiciary and loses, given the carry-over points he has on his record, which includes three offences in the last two years.
Burgess’ tackle on Sezer was the major flashpoint of the Rabbitohs’ 42-22 win on the Central Coast despite his younger brother George and Raiders forward Elliott Whitehead also landing in hot water.
But the punishment awaiting Burgess is still a vexing issue.
The Raiders won’t seek an official explanation from the NRL as to why Burgess wasn’t sent off despite coach Ricky Stuart and captain Jarrod Croker questioning whether the Rabbitohs’ enforcer should have been allowed to stay on the field.
The Storm sought clarity from League Central after Billy Slater was knocked out following a vicious hit from Sia Soliola last year. The Raiders prop wasn’t sent off, but was later banned for five matches at the judiciary.
The NRL introduced a new rule in 2018 allowing referees to send offenders to the sin bin by taking into account whether the victim of a reportable high tackle or shoulder charge is injured in the act of foul play.
Soon after the Burgess hit, Sezer got back to his feet and finished the match.
Only a few days earlier Burgess accused Morris of auditioning for a “career in Hollywood” in milking the most of the collision on Good Friday, which the Clive Churchill Medal winner said contributed to his suspension.
And he could be back at the judiciary straight after his comeback match.
The in-form Rabbitohs will have one eye on a return bout with table toppers St George Illawarra in round 10, a match Burgess would miss if he chose to head to the judiciary and again be unsuccessful.
He will only miss clashes against the Broncos and Knights if he doesn’t choose to fight the charge.