Ben Flower banned until April 14, 2015

Wigan Warriors player Ben Flower has been suspended for six months by an independent disciplinary tribunal after being found guilty of violent and aggressive punching/punching an off-guard opponent in the second minute of the 2014 First Utility Super League Grand Final.

Flower, who pleaded guilty to the Grade F offence on Lance Hohaia of St Helens, was also fined £300.

At the tribunal the player acknowledged that his actions were unacceptable and expressed shame for the effect the incident had had on everybody concerned.

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. The panel also expressed the hope that the club would continue to support the player through what will be a difficult period.

The suspension means Flower will miss 13 matches: 10 First Utility Super League fixtures, two pre-season games and the World Club Series match against Brisbane Broncos.