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Tom Burgess bats for Jared as they cop both bans after fiery final

Tom Burgess has defended the conduct of himself and Roosters’ pack leader Jared Waerea-Hargreaves after the pair were slapped with bans following the feisty final that saw seven sin bins dished out by referee Ashley Klein.

The prop forward’s union was out in force, with Burgess declaring that there wasn’t much in the two high tackles that saw him cop a potential two-game ban, or the head slam that will likely sit his Kiwi counterpart down for the entire group stage of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup after he was given three matches.

“It was a pretty fast-paced game when I came on and that probably didn’t help me with a few shots there,” said the Bunnies prop. “I didn’t think there was much in them.

“Once I got into it I felt good but obviously I copped a bit of a head knock towards the end. I will have to look back it but I know my head hit the ground pretty hard and I think his elbow was in there as well.

“I don’t want to get too interested in it really, it is for the judiciary to have a look at. He plays the game with aggression and intent, so he is trying to be an enforcer for his team. We play a contact game, so I will take the contact.”

Burgess’ hits had a massive impact on the game. He caught James Tedesco high, but escaped further punishment as referee Klein deemed that the Roosters fullback had slipped into contact.

Had he been binned, it would have allowed Trent Robinson to activate his 18th man, Adam Keighran, due to foul play concussion rules.

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Mere moments later, Burgess laid out Matt Lodge – his arm bouncing up off the ball – and was sat down for ten minutes. The NRL judiciary charged him for the Tedesco offence, resulting in a potential 2-3 match ban, but not for the Lodge tackle, for which he was fined.

“We knew it was going to be a fiery game,” he said. “Roosters-Rabbitohs, second week in a row, last chance footy so we knew everyone was going to be fired up and ready to go.

“It didn’t disappoint, obviously we would have liked to have kept a few more men on the field but that’s the way it goes sometimes.

“Sometimes emotions boil over in these games and you play off instinct and sometimes that instinct is a bit too far now, with the way the rules have changed over the last couple of years, with contact to the head.”

Burgess was later ruled out of the game with concussion after a head slam from Waerea-Hargreaves, and was also on the end of some rough treatment from future England teammate Victor Radley.

“I got whacked in the head by Radley and he was telling me to get up,” said Burgess. “I got up and there was no charge there.

“They are trying to get the head knocks out of the game but we are running at full speed so head knocks are going to happen. I always say that if your arm isn’t above your shoulder it shouldn’t be a penalty.”

He also revealed how himself and Taane Milne, who was also binned for a high tackle, had watched on from the sheds as Souths managed to score with 11 men against a full strength Roosters.

“We were in the sheds together and we were watching it on the TV,” joked Burgess. “I was staying pretty calm, Taane was cheering a bit more than me. I’m a bit more reserved than Taane.

“I thought the boys did a great job to stay composed. The key is holding the ball and they held onto it and scored a few tries. We might just play with 11 men next week.”

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