Canterbury’s James Graham is free to line up in next week’s elimination final against Penrith after being cleared of a kicking charge by the NRL match review committee.
Graham escaped charge for an ugly looking incident in which he almost came to blows with English Test teammate Sam Burgess in the Bulldogs’ 28-10 loss on Friday night to South Sydney.
After Burgess came in late to hit Graham with a “prowler” tackle, the Dogs’ skipper lashed out with a leg.
He avoided a charge because he did not make contact with Burgess, with whom he had a running battle for most of the night.
Afterwards, Burgess said he didn’t want to see Graham miss his side’s week-one final against the Panthers 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.”
In further good news for the Dogs, NSW representative forward David Klemmer was cleared of a shoulder charge.
In a tense footnote to the game, Klemmer failed to wrap his arms around Tom Burgess as he carted the ball up from the kick off, however the review committee deemed it not worthy of a charge.
Sam Burgess, however, was charged for a trip on Bulldogs prop Aided Tolman, but will be free to play the Rabbitohs’ first-round clash next year.
Burgess defended his tackle which sparked he and Graham coming together after he came in late and hit the Canterbury captain as he was being held upright by two other players.
The incident was similar to the one last week when Gold Coast prop Ryan James broke Penrith forward Reagan Campbell-Gillard’s back.
“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.”