20th March 2017, 11:15 | steve_mascord
George Burgess’ two-match ban for elbowing an opponent on Saturday has been slammed by experts down under.
Burgess was sent to the sin bin for fighting during South Sydney’s 24-18 win over Newcastle on Saturday, with replays subsequently showing he elbowed Knights loose forward Mitch Barnett.
The Rabbitohs decided not to challenge the charge and the subsequent suspension was slammed as lenient by a number of experts. Burgess was previously ousted for the same period after throwing a water bottle at Sydney Roosters' Kane Evans
“Put it this way, if he breaks Barnett’s jaw he gets probably 8 to 12 weeks,” former Wigan stand-off Matthew Johns.
“It’s incredible to think you’re getting the same as throwing a water bottle.”
Former Australia back-rower Mark Geyer added: “For a stray elbow like that, that’s four to six weeks.”
George Burgess missed selection for round one and was a late inclusion in coach Michael Maguire’s starting side on Saturday – he lost the ball twice from kick-offs as he tried to re-establish himself.
All three British captains in the NRL had success in round three. Sam Burgess had the armband for the bunnies, James Graham’s Canterbury beat the Warriors 24-12 at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium on Friday and Gareth Widdop’s St George Illawarra upset premiers Cronulla 16-10 at Southern Cross Stadium on Sunday evening.
Speaking after the Dogs’ first win of the season, Graham said: “We’ve been pleased with our performance over the past two seasons but we haven’t got away with the win.
“(The Warriors) was a better performance in a different way. I’m really happy for the boys to get the first two points.”
Every team in the NRL now has a win after just three rounds – but it’s not smooth sailing by any means. On Monday, Wests Tigers sacked coach Jason Taylor and three clubs – Gold Coast, St George Illawarra and Newcastle – were fined a total of A$350,000 for breaching concussion guidelines.
But Widdop was all smiles after the Dragons’ second win of the season.
“Local derbies are always tough and physical,” he said.
“After last week, we wanted to get back to doing the tough stuff and the simple things well.
“I thought our forwards did that early. Our defence on our try line was great. Our scramble was great”
James Graham: 139 metres and 39 tackles in 58 minutes.
Joe Greenwood: Played the full 80 minutes as Gold Coast beat Parramatta 26-14, making 89 metres with the ball and 20 tackles.
George Burgess: A couple of fumbles and a stint in the sin bin. Thirty minutes on the pitch all up
Sam Burgess: 196 metres in a more-than-solid captain’s knock. Played all but 11 minutes. Made 39 tackles.
Josh Hodgson: 23 tackles in Canberra’s 46-6 win over Wests Tigers at GIO Stadium.
Elliott Whitehead: 31 tackles and a try in another 80 minute hit-out having been moved back into the forwards.
Gareth Widdop: 17 tackles and six missed tackles in the joint venture’s gutsy win.