Burgess walks free over sickening Moylan shot
This is the cheapest way to buy your freedom - by handing the NRL a cheque for just $1900.
Rather than be punished with an expected two-game suspension for an ugly high tackle, South Sydney star Sam Burgess is free to play Sunday's massive game against Melbourne Storm in Gosford.
Burgess' punishment is now a fine of $1900 despite a high shot that eventually forced Cronulla's Matt Moylan from the field for an HIA test.
Sharks teammates claimed Moylan was knocked out before he hit the ground. Moylan won't play this weekend due to concussion - Burgess will.
NRL counsel, Peter McGrath, told the judiciary that Moylan was a "rag doll" after the hit.
Burgess successfully challenged a grade two careless high tackle charge at a 70-minute NRL judiciary hearing last night.
"I don't think I'm a dirty player," Burgess said. "Everyone has opinions, that's okay. It makes for good theatre. Everyone has had a bit fun over the last few days but I can just get on with playing football now.
"I thought the result was pretty fair. If you look at the incident, I'm not intentionally trying to hurt anyone. I am not intentionally trying to hurt anyone. I understand things can go wrong.
"It wasn't a loose play, I'm not swinging arms, I'm not intentionally trying to hit someone around the head. Things happen in sport and I take responsibility.
"I thought we had a case coming here and am thankful we got a fair hearing. We were asking for consistency and we got that tonight. I thought the evidence helped us. It should be a great game up on the central coast."
Had Burgess been found guilty last night, he would have been suspended for two games and missed matches against Melbourne and Canterbury He rolled the dice and won.
Burgess attracted immense criticism for the tackle - led by his Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett - which came in just the fourth minute of his comeback match following a nine-game absence with a shoulder infection.
Nick Ghabar, representing Burgess, claimed there was "no evidence" Moylan sustained any injury.
Surprisingly, Burgess elected against any evidence at last night's 70-minute hearing. Ghabar insisted his client's first contact wasn't the head but "bottom of the neck."
"(Burgess) accepts he made contact that is high and careless and is accepting the tackle went wrong in a careless sense," Ghabar said.
"(But) the first point of contact isn't the head or neck. (It) was the trapezius or bottom of the neck."
Ghabar told the three-member panel - comprising former players Dallas Johnson, Mal Cochrane and Tony Puletua - that Burgess' tackle was "no more serious" than multiple other grade one careless high tackles.
"Player Burgess was intending to make a wrapping contact," Ghabar said. "His arm (did) not come up to a 90 degree angle - it's not a high swinging arm.
"It's a legitimate attempt at a wrapping tackle that has gone wrong. There was no evidence of any injury to Moylan."
McGrath, offered strong reasons why Burgess' charge should not have been downgraded.
"There was a high degree of recklessness," said McGrath. "The degree of force was high - not low, not moderate, it was in the high range. Player Burgess was in complete control of the tackle.
"The direct contact by player Burgess' arm was in the head, neck and jaw area od player Moylan. Player Moylan was being evasive but there was not a significant drop in height.
"Player Moylan drops to the ground and loses purchase or grip of the ball. He is floppy, effectively a rag doll."
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