George Burgess: England and South Sydney prop given nine-game gouge ban

George Burgess
George Burgess has scored 13 tries in 147 games for Souths

England prop George Burgess has been banned for nine matches by the National Rugby League after he was found guilty of an eye gouge offence in South Sydney's defeat by Wests Tigers.

It is the longest ban handed out since England forward James Graham missed 12 games for an alleged ear bite in 2012.

Burgess, 27, was banned for four games for a similar offence in England's Test win over New Zealand last autumn.

He will miss the remainder of the Rabbitohs' regular-season games.

However, the Dewsbury-born front-rower can return for the play-offs should the Rabbitohs make the top eight.

He apologised to former team-mate Robbie Farah after the game, but the incident had been picked up by referee Adam Gee.

"George apologised to me after the game and said it was an accident, which I don't know," Farah told the NRL. "But I accepted it anyway and moved on. That's all I'll say on the matter."

Since his debut for the Bunnies in 2012, Burgess has made 147 appearances and scored 13 tries.

Storm back-rower Danny Williams was suspended for 18 games for a "king hit" - a blindside punch - on Mark O'Neill in 2004, which is the longest suspension issued since the NRL was inaugurated in 1997.

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