Travis Burns’ career is in jeopardy and will wait nervously until next Wednesday night to find out whether he will ever play professional rugby league again.
The Panther now risks a 12-week suspension after electing to seek a downgrade of the grade three intentional high tackle charge for the hit gone wrong on Martin Kennedy which saw the fiery five-eight sent from Centrebet Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
If the Panthers can successfully argue that the high shot was reckless instead of intentional, the suspension would be slashed by half.
Speaking on Triple M’s Grill Team, Matthew Johns said earlier in the week that he couldn’t believe the length of Burns’ suspensions.
“Travis Burns is facing 17 weeks on the sideline” Johns said prior to the grading.
“I spoke to Travis Burns yesterday, he was basically in tears. He said, ‘If I cop 17 weeks, my career is over’.
“Does he deserve 17 weeks for the chicken wing and the high tackle?” Johns asked.
“17 weeks, one of the biggest suspensions ever handed out… I cannot believe it, I think the Panthers will go and fight it…I think Travis should spend 8 weeks on the sideline, maximum”.
It may not have been 17, but 15 is just as costly for Burns.
Forget the high shot for a moment. It was simply a technical deficiency from a smaller man trying to aggressively ground a much bigger opponent.
The elephant in the room was the manoeuvre on Mose Masoe. It was one of the most obvious and blatant deep fried chicken wing tackles the National Rugby League has seen. Burns has already accepted a three-match ban for the incident.
But who is to blame for the chicken wing?
If players weren’t brainwashed with wrestling holds at training, Burns would be up on one charge and not two.
Instead of a possible 15 week hiatus, Burns would be facing 12. If the high tackle is halved, the playmaker would be looking at 6 instead of 9.
His future could have already been determined by the chicken wing tackle heard up and down the eastern seaboard. Burns can thank his coaches for the peril he is in.
Des Hasler coached Burns at the Manly Sea Eagles for three seasons from 2005, Neil Henry coached him at the North Queensland Cowboys in 2009 and Matthew Elliott was at Penrith when Burns joined the Panthers in 2010.
Wrestling holds have become a necessary evil in the NRL because the coaches decided to go that way. These men are the fathers of career homicide.
Granted the majority of Burns’ suspension will be due to the high tackle.
But the kid looked like a robot on Sunday as he put Masoe into that arm lock. He was just doing what his brain has been trained to do.
The dark shadows of rugby league wrestling are just starting to roll over and the coaches are to blame.