Sam Burgess has jumped to James Graham’s defence, urging the NRL match review committee not to ban his England Test teammate for his alleged kick.
Tempers threatened to boil over when Burgess and Graham came together in an ugly-looking incident in the Rabbitohs’ 28-10 win over Canterbury at ANZ Stadium on Friday.
After Burgess collected the Bulldogs skipper in the ribs with a “prowler tackle”, Graham struck out with his leg in anger and the two had a heated confrontation.
Graham has a nervous wait on his hands after he was put on report, despite not making contact with his good mate.
Burgess said he didn’t want to see Graham miss his side’s week one final, against Penrith, next week and would be happy if no action was taken.
“It didn’t get me,” Burgess said.
“I don’t want to see him miss any games.
“Look, it’s a battle out there and we’re both competitive blokes and it’s going to boil over.
“There was nothing in it. If anything I could have just got up and got on with it.”
Graham declined to comment on the incident or Burgess’ shot that seemed to raise his ire.
“Obviously it’s on report. But I don’t know, guess we’ll wait and see. I don’t think any contact was made,” Graham said.
“Obviously it’s not ideal.”
Bulldogs coach Des Hasler said a concerning act notice would be sufficient punishment and warning for his charge.
Burgess defended his tackle which sparked the pair coming together after came in late and hit Graham as he was being held upright in the tackle.
The incident was similar to the one which saw Gold Coast prop Ryan James break Penrith forward Reagan Campbell-Gillard’s back last week.
“It’s a legal tackle, it’s a physical game, there’s going to be contact in this sport. I don’t think there’s too much to complain about, we’re all on the receiving end of it sometimes,” Burgess said.
“James is good at getting people as well. We played each other in round 25 in 2014 and he broke my rib with one of those plays.
“Let’s get on with it.”
Bulldogs and NSW forward David Klemmer will also be nervously awaiting the match review committee charge sheet after he appeared to shoulder charge an opponent late in the match but was not put on report.