Wigan Warriors forward Ben Flower has apologised to Lance Hohaia – and the sport in general – after his actions in last night’s Super League Grand Final.
Flower was dismissed in the second minute of the game when he punched Hohaia, becoming the first man to be sent off in a Super League Grand Final in the process.
The incident grabbed a lot of unsavoury headlines on Rugby League’s biggest night of the year, and Flower admits he is “devastated” by his own actions, saying he has taken the attention away from what is supposed to be a celebration of Super League at Old Trafford.
“I am so sorry for what happened last night,” he said in a statement issued by Wigan. “There is no defence for my actions. It is something that happened in the heat of the moment. I instantly regretted it and am devastated that I allowed myself to punch someone like this.
“At Wigan … we may aim to dominate teams, but we don’t aim to hurt people. I firstly offer my apologies to Lance. I hope he is OK. I’d also like to say sorry to my team-mates, our fans and the Wigan club. I accept I’ll have to live with this for the rest of my career. Finally, I’m sorry to the sport of Rugby League. It was a big night and I know I’ve taken attention away from a special event.”
Wigan’s chairman Ian Lenagan and Shaun Wane added a joint statement. “We apologise unreservedly, on behalf of the Wigan club, to Lance Hohaia, St Helens and the general rugby league family for Ben Flower’s totally inappropriate behaviour in last night’s Grand Final,” they said.
“Rugby league is a tough sport, which we are proud of, but such a response is neither encouraged nor condoned. Such behaviour is not representative of rugby league nor the Wigan club. “