Flower was hit with what amounts to a 13-match ban for his punching of St Helens’ Lance Hohaia in the second minute of the grand final at the weekend. 

A three-man judiciary took just 30 minutes to impose the sanction, with the second of his punches on Hohaia when the playmaker was on his back and defenceless considered particularly serious. 

Wigan won’t appeal the decision and St Helens aren’t seeking legal action outside the Rugby Football League as the clubs bid to minimise the damage of the high-profile incident on the game as a whole. 

The statement from the RFL said: “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.”

Hohaia, who hit Flower with a forearm before the prop really got stuck in, was given a one-match ban in an earlier hearing. 

A Wigan statement said: “Wigan Warriors would like to go on record in saying that the RFL disciplinary committee handled a very difficult situation with professionalism and integrity. We fully support their assessment of Saturday night’s incident involving our player, Ben Flower.

“We would like to apologise to Lance Hohaia and his family and to the St Helens club and fans. St Helens’ win has been overshadowed by the incident and that is wrong. The Grand Final was an incredible game and St Helens were worthy winners.

“We hope our respect and healthy rivalry can remain intact and that both clubs will return soon to Old Trafford to showcase properly the exciting splendours of rugby league as well as its toughness.

“Ben has issued an apology and is very regretful and full of remorse for his actions. We will work hard to try repair any damage caused to the reputation of rugby league.”

Image via Youtube