Learn from my mistake, pleads Burgess

George Burgess says he hopes others can learn from his mistake, after he was banned for two matches for throwing a bottle at an opponent from outside the field of play at the NRL judiciary on Wednesday night.

Burgess travelled to Rugby League Central at Moore Park seeking a downgrade of his grade two contrary conduct charge.

However, he was unsuccessful and won’t play again this season until the preliminary final if South Sydney progress that far.

Burgess said he realised the error of his ways.

“Any kids out there watching can learn from my mistakes, I certainly have done,” he said.

“It was a silly act, I reacted to what I saw, I don’t condone what I did, I just have to move forward now.”

The two-game ban is another significant blow to Souths’ hopes of defending their NRL crown.

Burgess will join the suspended Issac Luke and the injured John Sutton on the sidelines for the clash with the Sharks.

The Rabbitohs have lost three matches straight and have conceded 109 points over that period.

Burgess threw a plastic drink bottle at Roosters forward Kane Evans from the bench in the Tricolours’ 30-0 win last Friday.

The incident was sparked when Souths’ utility Paul Carter threw the ball at Tricolours’ back-rower Aidan Guerra, after the Roosters star was penalised for slowing the play-the-ball.

As he then left the field to be replaced Evans picked up the ball and threw it at Carter. Burgess responded by throwing the plastic bottle at Evans’ legs and missed.

The judiciary panel of Royce Ayliffe, Bob Linder and Mal Cochrane deliberated for 31 minutes before finding against the England forward after he had pleaded guilty to a grade two contrary conduct charge but sought a downgrade.

Burgess will now miss Souths’ elimination final against Cronulla on Sunday and a semi-final a week later if the Rabbitohs progress that far in their premiership defence.

Judiciary counsel Peter McGrath described the bottle that Burgess threw with “some force” as a “missile” and said it was only through the prop’s bad aim that it didn’t hit Evans.

McGrath said that throwing something from outside the field of play was provocative and “invited an escalation of the incident”.

In response Burgess’s defence counsel Nick Ghabar said that with his guilty plea Burgess accepted the act was “silly” and “not a good look”. But Ghabar also described it as “trivial” and only worthy of a base penalty. Ghabar said Burgess’ actions were ” a pseudo comparable” to Evans’ act of throwing the Steeden and deserved the same grade one contrary conduct charge.

It was an argument the panel rejected.

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