South Sydney Rabbitohs prop George Burgess could receive the longest ban handed down by the NRL judiciary since 2012.
His England team-mate James Graham was given a 12-game suspension for biting in Canterbury Bulldogs’ 14-4 loss to Melbourne Storm in the 2012 NRL Grand Final.
Burgess – who has referred directly to the judiciary without grading – has pleaded guilty to a charge of dangerous contact after his eye gouge on Wests Tigers hooker Robbie Farah.
Something very wrong with the system when a disgraceful act like this from George Burgess doesn’t result in a send off. pic.twitter.com/kQc4hLUAMk
— Russell Jackson (@rustycj) June 27, 2019
The 27-year-old has a 50% loading from a previous eye gouge ban following an indecent involving New Zealand skipper Dallin Watene-Zelezniak while playing for England last year.
Burgess apologised to Farah after the Rabbitohs’ 14-9 defeat on Thursday, and Lebanon captain Robbie Farah accepted his apology – but admitted Burgess should still be severely punished if the game hopes to put a stop to eye gouging.
Farah said: “If punishments are strong enough, then players won’t do it.”
The longest ever NRL suspension came in 2004 when Danny Williams was banned for 18 matches for striking.
John Hopoate, Clint Newton, Travis Burns and Graham are the only players to be suspended for 12 games or more.