Ben Flower banned for 13 matches following the punching incident
Wigan’s Ben Flower is now banned for six months, in other words for thirteen matches, after he punched Lance Hohaia of the St. Helen’s team during the Grand Final.
This is the first suspension of the Super League era and he will pay a fine of £300 to the Rugby Football league. During the match at Old Trafford on Saturday, he punched Hohaia, first striking him with his forearm which threw him on the turf and punching him twice while he was on the turf.
The Wigan has decided not to appeal the decision to Judge Chris Batty who have given the final decision on the incident after a hearing in Leeds on Tuesday. The jury included Neil Turley, Danny Sculthorpe who were former players and also Chris Batty.
Following the banning, he will have to miss 13 matches including two pre – season trials, one Wigan’s World Club Challenge fixture against Brisbane Broncos and 10 Super League matches next year. He has admitted to a grade F offence of violent and aggressive punching to the jury.
RFL has responded to the incident saying, “At the tribunal the player acknowledged that his actions were unacceptable and expressed shame for the effect the incident had had on everybody. The tribunal panel accepted that Flower had been provoked by a challenge from his opponent but took the view that his actions were malicious, intentional and had the potential for serious injury.”
Flower also had the possibility of facing criminal charges however, St Helens has said they do not want to pursue the matter further. Eamonn McManus of the St Helens said that these matters will have to be dealt by appropriate bodies within the game. He also added that Flower should be provided with all the personal and professional support to help him during the ban period and also take him back into the sport after the ban.