St George Illawarra will name George Burgess in its NRL squad this week, despite Burgess being charged with “sexually touching another person without consent”.
- The charge against George Burgess carries a maximum prison term of five years
- The league’s automatic standdown rule applies to charges which can attract at least 11 years in jail
- The Dragons said they would name Burgess pending more information
The club said the 29-year-old would be named for the clash with Cronulla on Thursday night, pending more information around the charges.
“The Dragons are yet to receive the necessary and required information pertaining to the Burgess matter and therefore cannot come to a decision on the player’s availability for Round 3,” the statement read.
“The NRL’s stringent team selection process requires the Dragons to select a 24-man squad on Tuesday afternoon.
“The Dragons will continue to work closely with all relevant parties, including the NRL integrity unit and police, to determine the next steps surrounding this matter.”
The charge against Burgess relates to an incident alleged to have occurred earlier this month.
Officers launched an investigation following reports a woman had been sexually touched by a man known to her on March 8.
Burgess was arrested at Mascot Police Station on Monday afternoon.
In a statement after the arrest, the club said it was aware of the matter and was cooperating with authorities.
The former South Sydney Rabbitohs player was granted conditional bail and is due to appear at Downing Centre Local Court on April 13.
NRL chief Andrew Abdo said Burgess could be stood down under the game’s ‘no fault’ rule, where if a player is charged with a crime carrying a maximum sentence of 11 years or more, they are automatically stood down.
The NRL has discretion to stand down a player charged with a less serious criminal offence.
The charge of sexual touching without consent carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison in NSW.