Souths’ Burgess faces three-game NRL ban

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    South Sydney star George Burgess faces a maximum three-game NRL ban for his flagrant elbow on Newcastle forward Mitch Barnett on Saturday.

    Teammate Hymel Hunt is looking at six matches on the sidelines for a grade-two reckless high tackle on Knights fullback Brendan Elliot from the same game.

    And in a further hit for Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire, a third player in rookie Braidon Burns copped a grade-one shoulder charge and could be out for up to two games.

    But it is the likely Burgess blow that will sour the club’s 24-18 win over the Knights the most, coming after the 2014 premiership-winning forward was dropped for poor form in round one.

    The 24-year-old threw an elbow at Barnett after dropping a ball on a play-one carry midway through the first half against the Knights, resulting in his sin-binning.

    Twin brother Tom Burgess has also been axed to reserve grade for the past fortnight as Maguire searches for ways to spark the pair back to their best.

    “I just want to see consistency in their movements, when they’re looking after the ball, the areas of the game that we’re trying to challenge them in,” Maguire told Triple M NRL on Sunday.

    “The one thing about the two boys is that they’re completely dedicated to improving.

    “At the end of the day, they are the big boys of the team now and they need to make sure that they’re turning up with that performance week in, week out.”

    Maguire said the onus was on the duo to force their way into the line-up.

    “They’re the things that I’m challenging them with – to be in those positions now, you’ve got to turn up and have your A-game all the time,” he said.

    “If they consistently get that right, they’re going to be in the team without a doubt. They bring a lot to the team when they’re at their best.”

    Meanwhile, Newcastle front-rower Josh Starling was slung with a dangerous contact charge but can escape sanction with an early guilty plea.

    Manly hooker Api Koroisau can also avoid a ban with an early guilty plea for his grade one dangerous throw on North Queensland centre Kane Linnett.

    © AAP 2017

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