NRL Legends Puzzled By Thomas Burgess Suspension

Ben H / 7 August 2023

Thomas Burgess is looking at a three-match suspension if he opts for an early guilty plea, but could be suspended for four games if he contests the charge for a Grade 2 Careless High Tackle. Burgess hit Tom Hazleton late during the Sharks’ 26-16 win over the Rabbitohs and copped a sin bin for the challenge.

Tackle was on the Lower Side

Referee Todd Smith claimed there was “shoulder contact to the head” but subsequent replays showed something else. Mal Meninga, the head coach of the Australian national team, felt Burgess was harshly punished and said there was nothing wrong with being aggressive. Meninga said he had no problem with players “getting off the line and getting in with intent.”

Former Roosters’ star Cooper Cronk shared Meninga’s sentiments and said the tackle was “on the lower side.”Cronk added that the player flew out of the line and their bodies clashed but didn’t think Hazleton got direct chin contact. If anything, that contact was minimal, according to Cronk.

Yvonne Sampson wasn’t sure if there was any contact too. The sports presenter thought the tackle wasn’t “a clear-cut case of contact to the head.”

Meninga agreed and said the Cronulla Sharks player came out of the line hard and with good speed. In Meninga’s experience, referees penalized those tackles more often than not, and Cronk added that making the call was “a safety net for them.”

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Ben H
Ben Harris is the Communications Manager for KRUZEY, an AFL expert, and writer. He has one daughter that he loves dearly and four children's books... [Read full bio]

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