Rival skipper Paul Gallen reckons it’ll be harsh if South Sydney prop George Burgess is banned from Sunday’s NRL elimination final with his Sharks but he can’t see him playing.
Burgess is facing a two-match ban on a grade two contrary conduct charge for throwing a water bottle from the bench at Roosters prop Kane Evans during his team’s heavy loss to the minor premiers last Friday.
“Missing two games, semi-final games, is harsh,” Gallen told Sky Sports Radio.
“But I don’t think anyone can doubt that the incident itself was a little bit silly.
“A fine and a talking to probably would have been a little bit better.”
Gallen said Burgess was now facing an uphill battle to avoid a ban and take his place in the elimination semi-final.
“He needs to get from a grade two to totally off (to play),” Gallen said.
“I can’t see how that is possible to be honest.
“I think he’ll probably get a downgrade but whether he can get completely off or not, he’s going to need a bit of luck.”
The Rabbitohs’ title defence has been cruelled by injury and ill-discipline with hooker Isaac Luke suspended, back-rower John Sutton’s season over (broken leg) and full-back Greg Inglis rushing to return from knee surgery.
Former NRL judiciary chairman Paul Conlon thinks a grade one charge and a fine for Burgess would have been more appropriate.
“There are some things which I have believed for a while might be better off taken care of by way of a fine rather than a suspension,” Conlon told Sky Sports Radio.
“In my view, this action is one of those.”
Conlon said the system needed to be changed to allow more flexibility for fines to be imposed on players who face scrutiny from the match review committee.
“There is an argument that some of those should be dealt with, not by way of suspending a player for a week or two weeks, by way of a fine,” he said.
Conlon, who is a District Court judge, said in some cases suspensions from the last round of the regular season should not carry over into the finals.
If Burgess pleads not guilty to the charge or seeks a downgrade a hearing will be held on Wednesday night.