UPDATE: George Burgess has been sent straight to the NRL judiciary for his eye-gouging charge on Tiger Robbie Farah on Thursday night.

Burgess is staring down the barrel of one of the longest suspensions in recent years in the NRL.

George Burgess looks to be in hot water after the Rabbitohs' enforcer appeared to eye-gouge West Tigers' Robbie Farah in what was a horror night for South Sydney.

Footage showed Burgess' hand pressing down onto Farah's face as the Tigers' hooker was stopped just short of the try line early into Thursday night's match.

Burgess was recently suspended for eye-gouging New Zealand captain Dallin Watene-Zelezniak in a Test match for England last season, where he was suspended for four matches and missed the opening three games of the NRL season.

Burgess joins North Queensland's John McGuire and Raiders' Hudson Young, who have faced the judiciary for gouging charges this season.

Young missed five matches with the charge, while McGuire escaped with a $3350 fine.

Rabbitohs' coach Wayne Bennett admitted Burgess has put himself in hot water, while trying to shed concern on the incident.

“Obviously there was a hand on the face there,” Bennett said.

“I can’t definitely say it was an eye gouge or what it was.”

“There was just no need to put himself in that position.

“I’m not condemning him for it in the sense I don’t know whether his fingers actually made contact with the eye or not.

“But the point is it was just totally unwarranted.”

League legends Andrew Johns and Johnathan Thurston called for Burgess to face an extended ban in hope the league looks to stamp out any future incidents.

“Back in the wild west days you eye gouge someone you’d get 18 months for it,” said Johns.

“If they’re going to be consistent he’ll get four weeks.”

Thurston added that that the league should act on Burgess' "low act" with a harsher stance.

“Imagine if he scratches his eye, he’d lose half his eyesight,” said Thurston.

“If they’re going to deter anyone from doing it they need to throw the book at him.”

Burgess is yet to comment on Thursday night's incident, but had stated that gouging was not part of his game shortly after his incident with Watene-Zelezniak.

“It is not in my makeup as a rugby league player and never has been,” Burgess tweeted.

“I sincerely apologise to anyone who thinks bad of me after seeing the footage.

“I accept the punishment but I will never accept that I gouged a fellow players eye intentional. I have too much respect for the players I play with and against.”

Burgess suffered a hip injury late into the Rabbitohs' 14-9 loss at Bankwest Stadium.


  1. I am a fan of the Burgess boys but that was an eye gouge every day of the week. The shoulder charge is innocent in comparison to this. We should have zero tolerance for this sort of act and George needs to go for the rest of the season in my view.

  2. George was our hero in the 2014 Grand Final but nobody can condone this sort of behaviour. Perhaps a long stint on the sidelines will help him decide his future but I fear it won’t be with Souths.

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