Rugby League: Referees boss says South Sydney prop George Burgess should have been sent off in win over Newcastle Knights

LUCKY ESCAPE: George Burgess on the charge against the Knights. Picture: Getty Images
LUCKY ESCAPE: George Burgess on the charge against the Knights. Picture: Getty Images

REFEREES boss Tony Archer has made the startling admission that George Burgess should have been sent off in the first half of South Sydney’s 24-18 win over the Knights.

OUCH: George Burgess.

OUCH: George Burgess.

With Souths ahead 10-0 in the 23rd minute, Burgess lashed out with his elbow and struck Mitch Barnett in the head after the Knights lock had rattled the prop in a tackle.

However, match officials deemed the cheap shot worthy of only 10 minutes in the sinbin.

The Knights scored two tries during Burgess’ absence to level at 10-all. But they should have had an extra man for the entire match.

The Burgess hit was among a host of controversial incidents on Saturday.

Referee David Munro has retained his place on the NRL panel this weekend, however Jared Maxwell has lost his position as senior review official in the bunker.

“Following a review of the match and evaluating the performance of the officials, I am comfortable with the on-field referees retaining their positions for round four,” Archer said. “In saying that, after reviewing the available angles I am of the opinion that George Burgess should have been sent from the field for the use of his elbow. All officials are accountable for their performances so not all officials from this match will retain their roles in round four.”

Burgess has been banned for two games for striking and was one of three Rabbitohs suspended from the match. Hymel Hunt pleaded guilty to a grade-two reckless high tackle on Brendan Elliot and outed for four games. Winger Braidon Burns will miss one game for a shoulder charge on Sione Mata’utia.

Asked about the foul play before Archer’s admission, Knights coach Nathan Brown said: “Sending people off is a big call these days. It would have had a large bearing on the game if it had happened.”