Rabbitoh Sam Burgess suspended for Dragons clash
South Sydney star Sam Burgess has been rubbed out of the Rabbitohs' next two marquee fixtures after being found guilty of elbowing Canterbury's Josh Morris in the throat in a tense Good Friday clash.
Burgess will miss Friday's showdown with traditional rivals St George Illawarra at Kogarah Oval and next week's local derby against the Roosters at Allianz Stadium.
A fuming Anthony Seibold refused to take questions after the verdict was handed down while Burgess also brushed reporters, with the Rabbitohs coach offering just a brief statement at Rugby League Central.
"(I'm) obviously very disappointed with the result tonight," he said.
"I don't want to make any further comment other than we've got a game to prepare for on Friday night against the Dragons and we don't want this to be a distraction."
The English front-rower unsuccessfully argued that his contact with Morris's throat was as a result of him having to "brace into contact" in a split second as the Bulldogs defender loomed from close range.
Morris was floored by the contact and according to Bulldogs insiders found himself struggling to breathe in the immediate aftermath of the hit, but was able to play out the rest of the match and is in no doubt for Canterbury's upcoming trip to Canberra.
Burgess's lawyer James McLeod described the collision as "somewhat awkward and unfortunate", but contended that Morris' decision to go high for a tackle on the Rabbitohs prop had contributed to the incident.
NRL prosecutor Peter McGrath countered that Burgess had shirked the duty of care that all ball players have to avoid such dangerous contact.
"He's not only braced himself but he changed the direction of the forearm and brought it into contact with Morris," McGrath said.
Despite Burgess Tweeting a still photo, which was later deleted, of similar contact being made by Cowboys big man Jason Taumalolo which forced Penrith's Isaah Yeo from the field for a HIA, no preceding incidents were tendered as evidence by Burgess's legal team.
While Yeo did not play any further part in that match, Taumalolo was not charged over the incident with contact between the two players' heads believed to have contributed to Yeo's concussion.
After a 50-minute hearing the judiciary panel of Mal Cochrane, Tony Puletua and Dallas Johnson found Burgess guilty of careless and dangerous play following 15 minutes of deliberation, upholding the match review panel's original charge.
Burgess would have been free to play with an early guilty plea, but carry-over points stemming from a cannon-ball tackle on Penrith's Reagan Campbell-Gillard saw South Sydney roll the dice on Tuesday evening.
The Rabbitohs are now expected to elevate brother George Burgess into their starting line-up against the Dragons in-form pack, with either Jason Clark or Kyle Turner to come into the final 17.