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George Burgess’ NRL season in doubt


Mr Burgess, 29, will next month face court after he was on Monday evening charged by police.“Earlier this month, officers from the South Sydney Police Area Command commenced an investigation following reports a woman has been sexually touched by a man known to her on Tuesday March 8,” NSW Police said in a statement.“Following inquiries, a 29-year-old man was arrested at Mascot Police Station about 4.40pm (Monday).“He was charged with sexually touching another person without consent and granted conditional bail to appear at Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday April 13.”NRL boss Andrew Abdo said on Tuesday morning that Mr Burgess could be stood down under the game’s “no fault” rule.Under the rule, a player charged with a crime which carries a maximum sentence of 11 years or more is automatically stood down.NRL headquarters also has discretion to stand down a player charged with less serious criminal offences.In NSW, the charge of sexual touching without consent carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.Mr Abdo told reporters in Sydney on Tuesday that he had not yet made a decision on whether Mr Burgess would be stood down but wanted to make an “expedient” call.“In terms of if the no-fault stand down policy will be invoked, that will be something that will be reviewed,” Mr Abdo said. He added that a decision would be made in the “next day or two”.Mr Burgess left the South Sydney Rabbitohs at the end of 2019 for a stint in the English Super League before returning to Australia this year.He made his club debut for the Dragons on Friday night after being handed a career lifeline by coach Anthony Griffin.“The St George Illawarra Dragons have been made aware of a matter involving one of its players by the NRL integrity unit,” the club said in a statement.“The Dragons are working closely with all parties as the matter is under police investigation.“The Dragons will be making no further comment at this stage.”

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