I’m no diver: Morris fires back at Burgess
THE NRL's biggest player feud has erupted with Bulldogs star Josh Morris smashing Rabbitohs enforcer Sam Burgess for accusing him of taking a dive and "trying to get a career in Hollywood."
Preparing for his 250th game against the Roosters at ANZ Stadium, Morris launched into Burgess and revealed he was in a distressed state and "gasping for air" after being viciously elbowed in the throat by the Englishman on Good Friday.
"I'm angry at Sam's comments," Morris told The Daily Telegraph, "At no stage was the injury faked.
"I was in serious pain and a state of panic and distress and gasping for air.
"If I was hit a couple of centimetres higher the outcome could have been far worse, which I don't think he realises. At the end of the day he was the one that challenged it and got two weeks.
"That's on him not me. I have played this game for 12 years and made these tackles week-in, week-out and don't feel that my tackling technique needs to change."
"When his elbow was raised making contact with my throat, it was dangerous."
Morris needed emergency treatment from the club doctor and nurse after the game, including an injection to stop swelling that could potentially affect his breathing.
One of Australia's most eminent spinal surgeons joined the debate yesterday, describing Burgess' claims as "total rubbish talk" after the South Sydney warhorse accused Morris of faking his injury.
The doctor, a senior spinal surgeon and former NRL club medico, sent a text message after watching Burgess press conference as he prepares to make a comeback from a two week suspension.
He declined to be named but gave approval for the text message to be published.
"Burgess is wrong," he said, "The larynx does not like any pressure including an elbow attached to 115kg. There are many nerves. It spasms and can feel catastrophic.
"Close quarter combat training targets this as a weak area. Total rubbish talk.
"He (Burgess) needs an anatomy lesson. It can be just as painful as a testicle blow."
The doctor is an associate professor of medicine and an Order of Australia recipient.
Similar injuries have affected the voice of sportsman, including Broncos legend Darren Lockyer.
Heavy blows to the larynx are potentially life-threatening and can cause fractures of the cervical vertebrae according to sports medicine experts.
Morris was kept under observation overnight and banned from contact training after the incident.
He was cleared at the last minute to play against the Cowboys.
The former Blues Origin star is now only concerned about tonight's clash with the Roosters.
"I now want to draw a line under it and move on," he said.
"It's disappointing that this has overshadowed what has been a good week leading into my 250th NRL game."
Burgess comment have been poorly received at NRL headquarters and seen as an attack on the judiciary system.
He is one of a number of big-name players the NRL planned to use and pay this year for sponsorship and promotional activity under CEO Todd Greenberg's new rally cry 'talk the game up'.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Burgess said: "I thought he was milking it, it ended up costing me a couple of weeks.
"That's football, we play a contact sport, players are rolling around, milking it, or trying to get a career in Hollywood after football."
Morris, however, is one of the game's most respected players and a player renowned for his toughness and sportsmanship.