League: Penrith playmaker handed nine-match ban

Penrith's Travis Burns will miss the rest of the NRL season after receiving a nine-match ban. Source / Getty Images
Penrith's Travis Burns will miss the rest of the NRL season after receiving a nine-match ban. Source / Getty Images

Travis Burns' NRL season is over after the Penrith playmaker was found guilty of an intentional high tackle on Sydney Roosters prop Martin Kennedy and slugged with a nine-game suspension on Wednesday.

Burns was handed a grade one charge by the NRL judiciary after failing in his attempt to downgrade the charge to a reckless high tackle.

The nine-match ban is in addition to the three games he'll miss after pleading guilty to a chicken wing tackle on Mose Masoe in the same game.

Burns was sent off in the 71st minute of the round 20 clash at Centrebet Stadium when he leapt up and caught Kennedy across the face with his right arm.

The former Manly and North Queensland five-eighth argued that he was forced to jump up and make the challenge as he faced a significant height disadvantage to Kennedy, who at 190cm is 15cm taller than him.

"He is a bigger man than me and I was trying to win the ball," Burns told the NRL judiciary panel of Michael Buettner, Sean Garlick and Royce Ayliffe on Wednesday.

Peter Kite for the NRL argued that Burns showed he had no intention of trying to stop Kennedy because he jumped up before making the challenge.

"You were up in the air and would have been hard pushed to stop him as he would have run all over you," Kite said.

"You would have needed to have been planted to stop him."

Kite also claimed Burns was smiling after the incident.

"As the tackle was made you are smiling - mission accomplished," said Kite.

Burns countered that he was unaware that he had hit Kennedy in the head until the referee blew for the penalty and the Roosters players ran in.

"He's a big guy and I am by my tryline, I was trying to wrap the ball up in the tackle," Burns said.

His legal representative, Nick Ghabar, argued that Burns used his biceps, which is the softest part of his arm, to make the challenge and that this showed there was no intent to deliberately injure Kennedy.

"There is no closed fist, no intent whatsoever, it is a softest part of the arm. There is no bone there," he said.

Kite said it was a "classic swinging arm tackle," and was a "get square on player Kennedy."

The panel took less than 10 minutes to come to the conclusion and Kite argued that it was a grade three offence.

After a short deliberation, the panel decided on a grade one decision, but with Burns having 50 per cent and 25 per cent loading from previous offences, his tally of 948 points would see him spend nine games on the sidelines.

With five rounds of the season remaining, Burns could potentially return for the Panthers in round five next year if he misses two trial matches.

- AAP

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