‘Take his Rolex off him’: Legend blows up
SAM Burgess' nightmarish judiciary call has seen the Souths skipper banned from playing in this week's crucial finals match against Sydney.
The English import will be forced to watch from the SCG stands after copping a one-match suspension for pulling the hair of Roosters winger Billy Smith when the two sides met in round 25.
The international star could have potentially been let off with a warning had he not already earnt a reputation as a rough-and-tumble forward in the league. The 30-year-old has been suspended for a total of 11 weeks during his nine-year NRL career.
But in the eyes of former NSW forward Bryan Fletcher, the judiciary's call to rub out Burgess ahead of the most crucial match in the Rabbitohs' season is downright criminal.
"That's ridiculous," Fletcher said.
"To miss a semi-final for pulling a bloke's hair. He's one of the best players in the game, just let him play!"
Aussie cricket legend Mark Waugh weighed in and said Burgess has "no discipline" and backed the suspension, but Fletcher stood firm and implored the 268-match star play on Friday. "Fine him 10 grand! Take his Rolex off him!" Fletcher joked.
Burgess himself took aim at the call after hearing his fate this week, suggesting the decision to swipe him from week one of finals was made "without a feel for the game".
"The decision has probably been made the next morning in front of a computer without a feel or anything for the game," Burgess said.
"There's no point in me making any more noise, I don't want the headlines. I'm disappointed, everyone else is probably disappointed, I'm sure some people in the NRL are probably disappointed as well."
But the towering forward says he won't be curbing his signature aggression in the future, claiming it's always a "fine line" when it comes to the judiciary.
Burgess' shoes in the forward pack are likely to be filled by one of his brothers, George or Tom, who are both firming for returns to the paddock after suspensions and injury.
Fletcher said without Burgess, the Rabbitohs will need a miracle to topple the defending premiers despite taking them down twice already this year.
"You're not going to defeat the premiers three times," he said.
'IT'S BEEN RUBBISH, FROM BOTH TEAMS'
While Australia may have just finished sinking celebratory brews in Manchester after reclaiming the urn, former Aussie batsman Mark Waugh says the visitors will need to look inward to perform ahead of the fifth Test with Nathan Lyon on the ropes and a failing batting order.
There's no sugar coating it, the tourists would have been toast in the British Isles without Steve Smith coming in at number four. The former Aussie skipper has defied the laws of sport to return to career-best form after a year off, scoring close to 300 runs at Old Trafford.
But the surrounding batsmen, especially veteran opener David Warner, are struggling woefully. Even the home side is on the ropes with skipper Joe Root becoming the first English captain to notch three ducks in an Ashes series.
Waugh said the quality of batsmen in cricket's centrepiece Test series has left a lot of fans wanting going into the final match at The Oval.
"The batting has been very poor apart from Ben Stokes and Steve Smith, in the whole series. Labuschagne has played really well for Australia too," he said. "But the rest of the batting has been rubbish, from both teams."
Shockingly, seamer Peter Siddle (averaging 26.50) has been the fourth most successful batsman of the series for Australia, trumping Matt Wade (25.12), Tim Paine (22.57), Usman Khawaja (20.33) and Warner (9.87).
Similarly, only two batsmen from England - Stokes and Rory Burns - have managed to average over 40 in the 2019 Ashes.