Super League player banned for six months after sickening punch

Ben Flower has been handed a six-month ban for the punches that marred the Super League Grand Final.

Super League player banned for six months after sickening punch

Ben Flower has been handed a six-month ban for the punches that marred the Super League Grand Final.

The Rugby Football League’s disciplinary tribunal took just half-an-hour to come up with the punishment after Flower admitted the grade F offence.

The RFL announced the verdict via its Twitter account: “Ben Flower of WiganWarriorsRL banned until April 14 2015 after being found guilty of Grade F violent and aggressive punching vSaints1890.”

Flower's punishment amounts to a 13-game ban, comprising two pre-season trials, Wigan's World Club Challenge meeting with Brisbane Broncos on February 21 and the first 10 games of the 2015 Super League season.

It is the second heaviest ban of the Super League era. Terry Newton, the late former Great Britain hooker, was suspended for 10 matches for knocking out Lee Gilmour and breaking the cheekbone of Sean Long while playing for Wigan against St Helens in 2005 but the ban was extended to seven months when his appeal was rejected.

Wigan rugby general manager Kris Radlinski, who accompanied Flower to the hearing at the RFL’s headquarters in Leeds, said there would be no appeal.

Flower stunned the 70,000 crowd and millions watching on television when he landed a right hook on St Helens stand-off Lance Hohaia while he was motionless on the ground just two minutes into the match at Old Trafford.

The Wales international had moments earlier reacted to an off-the-ball forearm strike from Hohaia by knocking him to the ground.

Hohaia had earlier accepted a one-match ban after being charged with a grade B offence of striking which normally carries a suspension of one or two matches.

Because of his previous record, the St Helens half-back was entitled to submit an early-guilty plea to receive the smallest sanction and avoid a hearing.

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