Even a rampaging Sam Burgess could not rattle NRL ladder leaders Brisbane.
But unimpressed South Sydney coach Michael Maguire has hinted that the same may not be said for the officials in Saturday night’s 30-8 loss to the Broncos.
The Rabbitohs mentor will seek a “please explain” from NRL referees boss Tony Archer after claiming a fiery Burgess was treated too harshly by officials in critical exchanges in the Suncorp Stadium clash.
Desperate to fire his side after trailing 14-0 at halftime, Burgess put a hit on Josh McGuire before his late flop moments later on Joe Ofahengaue early in the second half sparked a melee.
After both incidents Burgess was penalised for “unnecessary contact” by referee Jared Maxwell – much to Maguire’s disbelief.
“It was very interesting when Sam got penalised,” he said.
“We are playing rugby league. I hope people realise it is actually a tough game.
“When you fall down on a player and get penalised of that, well, I am not sure where the rules are going in the game.
“There would be a lot of old time players looking at that and thinking ‘where is the game going?'”
Maguire took exception to Burgess being pinged for jumping on Ofahengaue as he lay on the ground, albeit enthusiastically enough to prompt widespread Broncos retaliation.
“It was a surrender. He just fell down on top of him and all of a sudden people are running in,” he said.
“Then there is a penalty. I am not sure how they came up with that one.
“I will have a talk with the refs about that one.”
For the record, Burgess’ aggression worked.
South Sydney rallied and captain Greg Inglis stepped two Broncos to score in the 52nd minute before a penalty five minutes later cut the deficit to 14-8.
Brisbane held their nerve despite the first half loss of hooker Andrew McCullough (calf) to pile on three more tries and seal their fifth straight win.
Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett was proud that his side had stared down a Burgess-inspired Rabbitohs.
“We fought fire with fire,” he said.
“I don’t want them to turn their back and walk away from it (conflict) and make the other team think they have the upper hand, I will tell you that much.”
McCullough appeared to have hyperextended his knee in a 24th minute tackle by Tom Burgess and was helped off the field.
But Bennett said his rake had suffered a calf complaint with scans set to determine how long he would be sidelined.
“There are is no medial or cruciate (knee) damage,” he said.
Ofahengaue was booked for a 55th minute shoulder charge on Paul Carter while fellow Bronco Adam Blair was on report for a high shot a minute later on Adam Reynolds.