George Burgess dealt nine-match NRL ban for eye gouge

South Sydney Rabbitohs star George Burgess has been handed a nine-match NRL ban for his eye gouge on Robbie Farah.

Burgess was adjudged to have gouged former team-mate Farah's eyes during Rabbitohs' defeat to Wests Tigers last Thursday, the NRL said on its website.

The nine-match ban is the longest administered by the NRL since the fallout from the 2012 Grand Final, when James Graham was suspended for 12 games for biting Billy Slater.

Burgess' ban was increased by 50 per cent due to a previous eye gouge on New Zealand's Dallin Watene-Zelezniak while playing for England.

He was previously banned for four matches for that incident.

The 27-year-old will miss the remainder of the regular season, returning only for the qualifying finals in September. Souths are second in the Premiership table.

Burgess will then be out of contract at the end of the campaign, with a move to Super League mooted.

He said: "I've been pretty upset. My career is probably in the balance. What I've done looks pretty disgraceful on the footage there. It's a shame really.

"I apologised to [Farah] on the field and after the game I went up to him and apologised again. I'm definitely going to change the way I play. I'm going to be a lot more cautious. I will be more careful."

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