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No play, no pay: Soward suggests rethink on player sanctions

The eyes of justice will cast their gaze over George Burgess’ latest ocular infraction when the NRL Judiciary meets tonight and speculation has turned to the likely length of the Rabbitohs prop’s stint on the sidelines.

Burgess is facing his second suspension for eye gouging which taints his chances of leniency. However, the judiciary has seemingly turned a blind eye to two eye-gouging charges this year, both of which involved Cowboys lock Josh Maguire who received fines only and no suspension.

Former NRL star Jamie Soward says it would be unfair to suspend Burgess for the remainder of the season.

“12 weeks is close,” Soward said on Macquarie Sports Radio.

“As bad as it looks, Josh Maguire didn’t get suspended twice for it,

“You can’t do things twice and then expect someone to pay the ultimate price, so I would be comfortable saying 8 weeks and a $10,000 fine,”

Soward suggests that players might heed the message with greater urgency if you hit them where it hurts: the hip pocket (no, not the eyes).

“Hit players harder in the pocket and off the field. In the NFL, they don’t get paid if they don’t play,

“If you knew that weren’t going to get paid while you were suspended, maybe that’s an option,” Sowie said.

Soward, a 232 first game veteran, struggles to understand the motivation behind a grub act like eye-gouging, saying the prospect of probing an opponents rods and cones has never crossed his mind.

“I accidentally bit Matt Ballan once, on his hand. We played in Wollongong, and it was in the tackle and I didn’t think anything of it, and obviously, in the tackle, his hand had come in and around my mouth and I just bit down,

“I went to Fiji that night because we got a week off, and I logged into some emails when I was over there and found out that I’d been put up to the judiciary for biting,

“Matt Ballan didn’t go ahead with it and I’ve since talked to him about it, it was one of those things that was accidental, his hand was there in my mouth, and you can’t breathe so the reaction is to bite down,

“[Burgess] was deliberate, there was deliberate force going into Robbie Farrah’s eyes,” he said.

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