Rabbitohs forward Sam Burgess has been charged by the NRL’s Match Review Committee for a cannonball tackle in his side’s Saturday afternoon loss to the Penrith Panthers.
The charge comes after North Queesland skipper Johnathan Thurston walked free from what seemed to be an obvious shoulder charge in the all-Queensland battle in Brisbane on Friday night.
Thurston braced for impact on Broncos winger Corey Oates with his arm tucked into his body, however the MRC deemed the contact to be legal.
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Burgess didn’t have the same luck, pinned for a grade one dangerous contact charge as he dropped Penrith’s Reagan Campbell-Gillard to the floor with a late dive at his legs.
If the Englishman takes the early guilty plea, he will be free to play Manly next Saturday, however if he chooses to fight the charge, Burgess risks a one-game suspension.
He became the second player of the round to be hit with the same offence after Canterbury prop Aaron Woods was nailed for a similar tackle on Roosters lock Isaac Liu.
In 2014 – twelve months after the NRL outlawed shoulder charge – the NRL put more specific guidelines in place for referees policing cannonball tackles to help prevent lower leg injuries.
While the cannonball is closley being subjected to punishment, the shoulder charge hasn’t faced the same amount of scrutiny after Thurston was handed a get out of jail free card.
Fox Sports commentators Warren Ryan, Corey Parker and Michael Ennis believe the Cowboys leader is a lucky man.
“Something of a shoulder charge there from Thurston,” Ryan said.
“That’s exactly what it is, Waz, a shoulder charge,” added Parker.
“Whether he’s bracing or not, he’s in the position of what looks to be a shoulder charge,” said Ennis.