The good, the bad & the ugly: Westerman bravery, young tragedy & eye gouging

Drew Darbyshire

We go through the highs and lows in the rugby league world over the last seven days.

The good

Hull FC forward Joe Westerman dislocated his kneecap in the Hull derby, slapped it back into place and played on – an extraordinary sight.

The Sky Sports cameras caught the former England international showing tremendous bravery in the final moments of his side’s 18-10 defeat at Hull KR.

After the game, Westerman casually said: “It’s sweet, to be honest. I expect to be training next week and I can’t really see myself missing our next game against St Helens next Friday.”

Rugby league players are made of very strong stuff. Westerman is a credit to himself and the Hull club for even attempting to get up, nevermind play the rest of the game!

The bad

It was sad to learn last week that 10-year-old Petro Dixon had died following a freak accident at the Cadishead Rhinos community club.

He was playing an impromptu game after an Under-12s match at the Salford amateur club and he sadly had an undiagnosed brain condition that caused his death. He died in hospital on Sunday, June 23.

The RFL Benevolent Fund is currently helping Petro’s family and friends at this difficult time. In a statement released by Petro’s family, it read: “The family would like to acknowledge the medics and all those who responded so quickly at the Cadishead club. We wish to thank the Cadishead Rhinos Rugby League Club and all those who have acted so kindly to our family.”

What a sad time for rugby league and it certainly puts sport and life into perspective. The very best wishes go to his loved ones at this deeply sad time. A Just Giving Fund has been set up by the RFL Benevolent Fund to assist Petro’s family. To donate, click here.

The ugly

South Sydney Rabbitohs prop George Burgess faces at least a 10-game ban if found guilty of an alleged eye gouge of Wests Tigers hooker Robbie Farah.

The England international has been referred to the judiciary without a grading on a dangerous contact charge. He has a 50% loading from a previous eye gouge ban over an incident involving New Zealand captain Dallin Watene-Zelezniak in England last year.

Burgess is facing a longer ban as the match review committee considers the incident to be of a higher grading than detailed in the NRL judiciary code.

Eye gouging incidents are never nice, and are up there with the nastiest offences in the game. They could have long-lasting damages on the victims and they really need to be stamped out of the game. Burgess is a phenomenal player to watch, but the eye gouge on Farah was uncalled for.

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