South Sydney prop George Burgess is free to play in Sunday’s match against Canberra after having a grade-two careless high tackle charge downgraded at the NRL judiciary on Wednesday night.
Burgess’ representative Nick Ghabar successfully argued Burgess’ high shot on Wests Tigers fullback James Tedesco in Souths’ round-three loss was at the lesser end of the scale.
The English representative had been hit with a grade-two careless high tackle which attracts a one-match ban.
The lesser grading means Burgess can take his place in a Rabbitohs side troubled by injuries to Issac Luke, Luke Keary and Tom Burgess.
“I’m very happy with the decision and glad to be playing this week,” Burgess said.
“We have got a few boys out at the moment, which is not always good, so it is good to get out there and support the boys and hopefully get a win.
“Things happen in the game, we didn’t agree with the grading.”
Judiciary counsel Peter Kite asserted Burgess’ 49th minute tackle involved “a significant degree of carelessness and a significant degree of force”.
Ghabar countered that Tedesco had “fallen into the tackle” after losing his footing on the ANZ Stadium turf.
He also argued the tackle had not involved a swinging arm as counsel Kite had but rather a “wrapping” tackle.
Vision of grade-one and a grade-two tackles were shown, Burgess and Souths coach Michael Maguire smiling on one occasion when a Steve Matai hit on Burgess at Brookvale Oval last year flashed up on the screen.
Souths submitted five screen shots of the tackle they said proved Tedesco was “out of control and dropping” as Burgess attempted to tackle him.
The judiciary panel of Royce Ayliffe, Paul Whatuira and Michael Vella agreed with the Rabbitohs’ case and Burgess will be free to face the Raiders.