Saints await RFL verdict on Flower

Published: Tuesday 14th October 2014 by The News Editor

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St Helens will wait for the verdict on Ben Flower after his shocking attack on Lance Hohaia before deciding whether to take the matter further.

The Wigan forward was slapped with a Grade F charge, the most severe option open to the Rugby Football League’s match-review panel, for the punches that marred Saturday’s Super League Grand Final.

The Wales international can expect a ban of eight matches or more when he appears in front of a disciplinary tribunal at the RFL’s headquarters in Leeds on Tuesday evening, and Saints will await the outcome with interest after meeting with Greater Manchester Police (GMP) about the incident.

St Helens chief executive Mike Rush said: “I can confirm I have spoken to the police but we will allow the RFL to carry out their due process before making any further comment.”

A police spokesman said the GMP will also be in consultation with the RFL and, if appropriate the Crown Prosecution Service, in order to decide what, if any, action to take.

Rush pointed out that any decision to take legal action would be ultimately be made by Hohaia, who insisted in the immediate aftermath of Saturday’s 14-6 win over the Warriors that he bore no grudges against Flower.

Hohaia, who went to see a specialist and to have scans on his cheekbone on Monday afternoon, was also charged by the match-review panel for striking the first blow that sparked the furore at Old Trafford.

The former New Zealand international was handed a grade B charge, which carries a ban of one or two matches, and is eligible to submit an early-guilty plea to accept the lower sanction and avoid a hearing.

Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan has confirmed that his club will accompany Flower to the hearing but re-affirmed their backing for the tough stance taken by the RFL.

“We think it’s the right level of charge,” Lenagan said. “We will be there to support him but not in any way to argue that his actions were reasonable or allowable.

“We make it very clear that Ben’s actions on Saturday were not the actions we want of a Wigan player or of any rugby league player. Ben acknowledged that and he is devastated by the damage his actions have caused.

“If you had seen Ben crying his eyes out on Saturday following the realisation of what his actions had done and the terrible nature of that second punch in particular, you would see the lad was devastated.”

Published: Tuesday 14th October 2014 by The News Editor

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