Canterbury interim coach Mick Potter says Bulldogs five-eighth Matt Burton can consider himself lucky not to be suspended for this weekend’s clash with South Sydney.
Burton came to blows early in the second half with Dane Gagai in the State of Origin decider on Wednesday when he was knocked to the ground sparking a punch-up between the two.
Referee Ashley Klein sent both to the sin bin but the NRL announced after the game neither would be suspended for this weekend’s club fixtures.
The pair were fined 23 per cent of their match fee, following changes to the NRL’s judiciary code this season aimed at minimising suspensions incurred from representative games.
Potter said the pair were lucky to escape further sanction post-match.
“I think so,” he said. “Both of them could probably do with some boxing lessons.
“I think both of them were trying to defend themselves. The 10 minutes in the bin took the heat out of that moment.”
Potter suggested Burton may have been unlucky to have copped the same punishment as Gagai, who instigated the fight and ensuing melee between the sides.
“I thought (Burton) did cop the rough end of the pineapple there,” he said.
“There probably could have been some other action taken on other people.”
Potter said facing a resurgent South Sydney at Accor Stadium would be one of the Bulldogs’ biggest challenges of the season.
The Rabbitohs have well and truly hit their stride since the return of fullback Latrell Mitchell in round 16, piling on 70 points in two wins and consolidating their spot above the mid-ladder logjam.
“(Mitchell) is awesome, him with Cody Walker and Lachlan Ilias there,” Potter said.
“I’m expecting Damien Cook to back up (from Origin). There are so many threats in that team.
“They seem to strip numbers from the opposition teams, they roll forward and they’ve got plenty of momentum with their big forwards.
“It’s going to be a challenge for us to stop them.”