England coach Wayne Bennett has defended George Burgess with confirmation the prop will not appeal the decision of a four-match ban after being found guilty of an eye gouge on Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.
Burgess had the option to appeal on Tuesday but turned the offer down with the star forward set for a stint on the sidelines for the opening three weeks of the NRL season at South Sydney.
The pair could reunite at the Rabbitohs in 2019 if South Sydney work out a deal with Brisbane to trade Bennett for Anthony Seibold a year before their contracts begin at their new clubs.
Bennett was to the point with English media in Leeds on Wednesday about the ban.
"I'm disappointed to lose him but I don't believe it was a deliberate eye gouge," Bennett said.
Three players have been ruled out of the third Test in addition to Burgess's suspension with Sam Tomkins (broken hand), Daryl Clark (ribs) and Sean O'Loughlin (calf) set to miss the final clash.
Stefan Ratchford, Joe Greenwood and Richie Myler will come into the side.
Canberra Raiders back-rower Elliott Whitehead will receive a bronzed lion cap before his 20th international appearance on Sunday.
Whitehead was shortlisted as a Golden Boot candidate last week but the England forward was pipped by teammate Tommy Makinson.
"He's a very good player, I like what he brings and hope we can get him through to the next World Cup," Bennett said of Whitehead.
England are determined to finish the series in strong fashion with a 3-0 series whitewash before the RLIF discusses their next move.
Bennett confirmed England had a proposal in place for next season's international schedule but remained focused on the job at hand with one game remaining.
"It's been a wonderful series, someone always has to win or lose," Bennett said.
"The quality of football has been great from both sides. They've been close games, hard fought, no one has given an inch.
"A lot of quality football played, all the tough stuff. All things you want in a Test match."