SAM Burgess has become embroiled in a Melbourne storm after questioning his rivals’ wresting tactics during South Sydney’s loss in Perth on Sunday night.
The former England captain raised eyebrows by using statistics to argue after the halftime bell with referee Gavin Badger, claiming the Rabbitohs’ opponents were being allowed to hold them down in the tackle longer than when possession changed hands.
“My stat man’s telling me, one and a half seconds slower on their wrestle,” Burgess told Badger, using figures apparently relayed from the coaches’ box.
JOE GREENWOOD: Close to Titans best on the night, making 104 metres with the ball and 24 tackles
JAMES GRAHAM: 114 metres and tackles in just 44 minutes in an 18-24 defeat to the Roosters
“I’ve been in a choke hold myself, I just had one there. It’s an easy two points, I’m telling you.
“We just don’t feel like we’re getting much.”
The rhetoric had little effect; not only were the Bunnies beaten 14-6 but Burgess was floored for several minutes after being twisted awkwardly in a tackle. The defeat was the Redfern side's seventh of the season.
Burgess, 28, played down the exchange at the post-match media conference. “I just asked a few questions,” he said.
CHRIS McQUEEN: Played 65 minutes at CBUS Super Stadium, clocking up 34 tackles and 48 metres
SAM BURGESS: Another mammoth captain’s knock- 80 minutes, 187 metres and 42 tackles
“The referees are doing their best job, of course. I thought it worth questioning at halftime but I thought the ref did a good job.
“At the end of the day, they didn’t cost us any result tonight.”
Elsewhere, England hooker Josh Hodgson proved the difference as Canberra edged out Parramatta 22-16 at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.
Hodgson provided one of his trademark try assists in a tight win. His running metres are dramatically down this season but the 27-year-old says that’s just a function of the green machine’s “clunky” form.
"[My form] has been a little bit the same as the team really, we're a little bit clunky at times and we aren't really flowing as well as what we would like," Hodgson told the Canberra Times.
"I think that affects most of the team on an individual basis as well, when you haven't got that flow in the game.
"I just wait for the opportunity to run really, sometimes it will present itself. Sometimes you might run six or seven times a game, sometimes you might only run once.
"I think when you try and manifest those opportunities, that's when it tends to go wrong. “
TOM BURGESS: 137 metres in just 49 minutes worth of field time in Perth.
HODGSON & WHITEHEAD: 34 tackles and a try assist for Hodgson & 41 tackles and 63 metres for Whitehead against the Eels
Back rower Joe Greenwood was close to Gold Coast’s best in a convincing 30-10 defeat to Manly on Saturday night.
Melbourne lead the league after 11 rounds on 18 competition points, with three teams – Brisbane, Cronulla and Sydney Roosters, two points behind.
The New South Wales and Queensland teams have been named for the opening State of Origin game in Brisbane on Wednesday week with Maroons fullback Billy Slater surprisingly left out.