Burgess had to make amends for his opinions. Photo: AAP Image/Joel Carrett
Burgess had to make amends for his opinions. Photo: AAP Image/Joel Carrett

Apologetic Burgess escapes $10k fine

SOUTH Sydney forward Sam Burgess has been forced to make a full apology after controversially labelling the NRL judiciary a "kangaroo court."

Burgess has also been issued with a suspended $10,000 fine for the comment after being issued an official NRL breach notice last week.

The Souths star was hauled before Greenberg at League Central, where Burgess - according to an NRL media statement - "accepted responsibility and apologised for labelling the NRL Judiciary a 'Kangaroo Court'."

Burgess's apology nullified the fine.

The punishment is similar to that of former Cronulla star Greg Bird, who made an apology after attacking match officials over high tackles in 2014.

"The chairman (Supreme Court Justice Geoff Bellew) and members of the panel are of the highest integrity and it was never my intention to cast any doubt over their character," Burgess said.

"The point of my comments was to simply express concerns and frustrations I had about the processes.

"I unreservedly apologise for using the phrase 'kangaroo court'. I now understand it was the wrong choice of words. Todd and I had an open and honest conversation.

"Todd talked me through the procedures and rules in place across both the match review committee and the judiciary and I spoke about some of the frustrations players felt about the current processes."


Greenberg was willing to talk to Burgess about his concerns. Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images
Greenberg was willing to talk to Burgess about his concerns. Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images


 Burgess will front the media again on Tuesday where he will no doubt be pressed again about the drama. The meeting comes as Burgess prepares for Saturday night's preliminary final against Canberra at GIO Stadium.

"To Sam's credit he has apologised publicly and acknowledged his mistake,'' Greenberg said.

"Sam and I have agreed to continue discussions about issues in the game during the off-season with a small group of other senior players equally as committed to ensuring our players are genuine partners in the game."

Burgess was also given an opportunity to air other grievances he spoke about during last week's interview.

The Rabbitohs star can now focus on the Raiders. Photo: AAP Image/Joel Carrett
The Rabbitohs star can now focus on the Raiders. Photo: AAP Image/Joel Carrett

But former Manly coach Geoff Toovey has questioned the double standards on show from Greenberg.

"It was a great cup of coffee, that's for sure," Toovey said on Fox Sports' NRL 360 when told of Burgess's suspended fine after the Souths star's meeting with Greenberg.

Toovey cited his own infamous 2013 incident when he furiously called for an investigation after slamming officials in the Sea Eagles' 22-10 loss to South Sydney.

He was fined $10,000 for the post-match spray and then unsuccessfully appealed despite it being his first offence.

"I didn't get the opportunity to have a cup of coffee obviously," Toovey said.

Former Cronulla premiership winner Michael Ennis questioned why Greenberg had chosen to speak one-on-one with Burgess in the first place after the judiciary criticism.

"I understand Sam was extremely frustrated and the fact is he has come out and said he got his words wrong and they have moved on," he told NRL 360.

"But I just don't understand why they came out and said they are going to have a sit down and have this big meeting with him and then come up with a $10,000 suspended fine.

"It's no doubt a little murky, to be honest."

Cronulla great Paul Gallen hoped Burgess had now put the issue behind him ahead of Friday's preliminary final against Canberra, claiming the Rabbitohs leader had looked distracted on the field.

"I think the problem with Sam is that he has had so many issues off field with suspensions, he never thinks he is wrong, he always thinks he is hard done by," Gallen told the Nine Network's 100% Footy.

"The fact is he has been suspended, he is back playing now, just worry about playing footy and doing your job for your team.

"He has got to let it go. There is no point worrying about what happened two weeks ago (hair pull ban).

"He's got to go out and play the way he plays. That's physical, aggressive and within the rules - if he doesn't do anything silly he is the best player on the field."

Last Wednesday, The Daily Telegraph reported Burgess as saying: "Everyone seems to be in uproar about this judiciary system.

"Who is making calls here? Is there a discussion before these calls go out there? I don't know. What's the process? It's like a kangaroo court in there.

"Regardless of what I think, (the NRL) have got to make the call. It's everyone's game, the fan's game. Everyone is missing out.

Burgess was frustrated at players being suspended for minor offences.

"Does everyone else not feel some of this stuff - everyone is trial by media, everything is social media, we're just very reactive. We're a multimillion-dollar game and we're ruling out players for big games," he said.

"All right then, let's fine the player. Players will pay whatever, give it to charity, pour it into grassroots. Do something. Better than maybe senior players miss big games, that's what we play nine months for."

Souths leave for Canberra on Wednesday.

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