SAM Burgess was brilliant in his return from suspension – but in ominous news for South Sydney, the big Englishman looks set for another spell on the sidelines.
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Burgess was in everything as the Rabbitohs, which includes Nowra-born Cody Walker, powered to a brilliant victory over Canberra.
But he was placed on report for a high shot on Aidan Sezer on the hour mark, which prompted a melee and Raiders skipper Jarrod Croker to ask referee Adam Gee why he was not sent off.
Croker later said Raiders teammate Sia Soliola was given six weeks for a simiar high shot last year.
Sam's younger brother George was also placed on report when he collected Luke Bateman high with a swinging right arm with 10 minutes to go.
Slammin' Sam had just served a two-match ban after losing a challenge to a dangerous-contact charge at the judiciary.
He was also charged in round two for a cannonball tackle on Penrith’s Reagan Campbell-Gillard, but escaped a ban.
The loading of those offences means Burgess will be looking at a lengthy suspension if charged.
Burgess would not comment after the game, but told Fox Sports: ‘‘I’m just going to have to wait and see.
‘‘Personally I didn’t think there was anything in it.
‘‘Obviously there was a bit of contact there, but I think my chest was the first point of contact.’’
Souths coach Anthony Seibold also chose not to comment on the 59th-minute hit, and any previous chats he had with Burgess about his discipline would be kept private.
‘‘He was brilliant,'' Seibold said.
"I’m not sure about fired up, but he probably saw two gritty performances from us [while suspended] and him being a competitor he probably wanted to get back out there.’’
Sezer told The Sun-Herald: ‘‘It was all right. It’s part of the game. I still had the ball, he crept up a bit high, but it’s part of the game. I’m fine.’’
Canberra coach Ricky Stuart made a sly dig at Burgess’s claims that staging had been an element in his earlier suspension.
‘‘It’s not for me to comment on, but I hope Sam is happy Sezer doesn’t lay down for him,’’ Stuart said.
Croker added: ‘‘It wasn’t pretty, was it? Sia Soliola got six weeks for something like that last year.
“I get sin-binned for a professional foul, but something like that happens twice – it happened to Luke Bateman as well – but those guys stay on the field.
“It’s not an excuse, at all, but I’m trying to compare that.’’
When Burgess came from the field for a well-earned spell late in the second half, he was given a standing ovation by the 15,134 fans at Central Coast Stadium.
He terrorised the Raiders defence with every carry and ran for 179 metres with three offloads and three tackle busts.
Souths can only hope he avoids being charged and is free to play Brisbane on Thursday.
The Bunnies will back themselves against Wayne Bennett’s men after making it four wins from five matches.
While Burgess was in the thick of everything, skipper Greg Inglis also deserved to take another bow as his 80m intercept try in the first half was another highlight.
Inglis had too much toe for Jack Wighton and Croker, and celebrated with his trademark ‘Goanna’.
The Raiders lost Croker to the sin bin early in the second half when he was ruled to have impeded Angus Crichton before he collected a pass from Damien Cook.
Tom Burgess was also forced off the field for a concussion test after he was whacked off the ball by his English teammate Elliott Whitehead.
Whitehead scored a try right on half-time to make it 24-12 and keep the Raiders somehow in the game.
But it became a feeding frenzy in the second half with Souths players lining up to score tries. Richie Kennar bagged a try, Rob Jennings collected a second – after some brilliant work by Inglis to tap back a bomb – while club favourite Jason Clark celebrated a rare four-pointer.
Souths had plenty of joy to their left early, with poor Blake Austin found out by Alex Johnston and then Cody Walker inside the first eight minutes.
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