Rugby League - Twin comes in for axed Burgess

Former Bradford forward Tom Burgess is set to benefit from the axing of twin brother George in the latest scandal to hit Australian rugby league by making his NRL debut in front of England coach Steve McNamara.

PA Sport
Rugby League - Twin comes in for axed Burgess
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Tom Burgess will replace his twin brother George after his suspension

George has been banned for two games and fined 10,000 Australian dollars (£6,100) after being arrested and charged with two counts of causing wilful damage to property. He is due to appear before magistrates in Cairns on July 10. The South Sydney prop is alleged to have hurled a street sign into a car windscreen in Cairns in the early hours of Monday morning after celebrating his team's 30-24 NRL win over Gold Coast Titans.

"George has obviously made a mistake but he's put his hand up and is looking to move forward," Souths' former Wigan coach Michael Maguire said. "He's a great role model and a great kid and I'm sure he'll get back to where he's capable of getting to."

George has enjoyed a sensational start to the season, with some tremendous impact off the bench for the table-topping Rabbitohs, and is thought to have played himself into contention for a spot in England's World Cup squad alongside older brother Sam.

Now Tom, who linked up with the rest of his three Dewsbury-born brothers in Sydney at the start of the season and has since been joined by their mother Julie, has been called into Maguire's team for Sunday's game against Parramatta, which McNamara will watch as part of his fact-finding trip to Australia.

Tom, also a barnstorming prop who played in all but three of Bradford's 27 Super League matches last season, has caught the eye playing for Souths' reserves this year and has been handed George's place on the bench for the clash with the Eels.

"It's a great story for Tom," said Maguire. "I thought in the last month he really turned the corner to get in this team. It's well deserved."

Both twins played for England Knights against Ireland and Scotland last autumn while brother Luke, the former Leeds prop, was a non-playing member of the full England squad for the series against France and Wales.

Sam missed those games through injury but will be one of the first names on McNamara's team sheet for the World Cup opener against Australia in Cardiff on October 26. George was also in the frame after making 16 NRL appearances so far this year and it remains to be seen if he has damaged his prospects with his uncharacteristic lapse in discipline.

He has issued a public apology through his club, saying: "I have let my team and my family down. I acknowledge that I am a role model for kids and I will do everything I can to restore my reputation through working harder in the community."

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