South Sydney skipper Sam Burgess has taken a subtle dig at the NRL referees and rule book following his sin-binning in his side’s 42-14 trouncing of Penrith on Sunday.
In the wash up, Burgess’ sin-binning proved a turning point and seemingly lit a fire under his teammates.
The Englishman was marched after he and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak engaged in what could only be described as a slapping match in which neither connected with any force.
After Nathan Cleary dived on a loose ball, Burgess came in over the top, leading with his shoulder in a legal tackle.
However the Penrith half’s teammates took exception and rushed from all corners of the field, setting off an all-in push-and-shove.
Burgess and Watene-Zelezniak were each sent to cool off for 10 minutes for striking under the NRL’s new anti-slap rules.
In their absence, Panthers captain Matt Moylan threw a wild cut-out pass to no one with Alex Johnston picking up the spoils and racing 90 metres for the first of the Rabbitohs’ seven tries.
Had Watene-Zelezniak been on the field, he would have likely been in a position to dive on the loose ball.
Asked if he was shocked to be sin-binned, Burgess said: “Were you?
“I guess it’s the game we play at the moment.
“I wouldn’t have pushed back if someone hadn’t have run in from 15 metres.
“It’s the rules and the game that we play these days. You’ve just got to wear it. I’m certainly disappointed.”
He also claimed he never connected with the Panthers winger.
“In super slow mo it didn’t look like it, did it? You can’t do anything at the moment,” Burgess said.
When Souths coach Michael Maguire was asked whether the episode was embarrassing, he said: “You just said it.”
“It is the rules as Sammy spoke about.
“The game’s tried to tidy up a lot of that area. I’m not sure that was worth 10.”