Sonny Bill Williams faces a three-week ban for his shoulder charge on George Burgess. Copyright: Renee McKay/NRL Photos. Credit: Renee McKay/NRL Photos Copyright: Renee McKay/NRL Photos
Sydney Roosters superstar Sonny Bill Williams is staring at a minimum of three weeks on the sidelines after he was charged by the match review committee for a shoulder charge in the final minute of Thursday night's 28-8 loss to South Sydney.
While he was found to have no case to answer on an earlier tackle on Ben Lowe, Williams was charged with a Grade 2 shoulder charge for his hit on Rabbitohs prop George Burgess from the opening tackle of the final set of six of the game.
If he pleads guilty, Williams will accrue 367 demerit points but if he chooses to fight the charge at the judiciary he faces a total of four weeks on the sidelines with 90 carry-over points.
In a dramatic start to the season in which a shoulder charge by Rabbitohs back-rower Ben Te'o was also placed on report, Roosters skipper Anthony Minichiello was also charged with Dangerous Contact – Raised Knee for an incident in the ninth minute of the game but will not miss a game if he takes the early guilty plea.
South Sydney five-eighth Dylan Walker was also charged by the match review committee for tripping in the 17th minute but will also escape suspension with an early guilty plea.
If Williams takes the early guilty plea and three-week suspension he will be unavailable for games against the Eels, Broncos and the Grand Final rematch against the Sea Eagles. If he challenges unsuccessfully, he will also miss a showdown with his former club, the Bulldogs in Round 5.