Ben Flower’s disgraceful attack on Lance Hohaia made unwanted history in the 17th Super League Grand Final when he became the first player to be sent off.
The Wigan prop forward was shown a red card by referee Phil Bentham just two minutes into the derby against St Helens for a blatant punch on New Zealand stand-off Lance Hohaia.
Flower appeared to take exception to Hohaia’s use of a forearm on him during a Wigan attack and reacted by knocking him to the ground with a left hook.
The Warriors’ former Crusaders forward then proceeded to strike his defenceless opponent with a second punch to his face while he laid motionless on the turf.
Hohaia was helped from the field dazed while Wigan were left to play for 77 minutes with 12 men, although they took the lead with Matty Smith’s 17th-minute penalty.
For a time Flower was the top-trending topic on Twitter in the United Kingdom and he looks certain to be the talking point for some time to come.
A Rugby Football League spokesman said it would be up to Hohaia and St Helens to decide whether to pursue action outside the game’s jurisdiction, otherwise the case would go as normal before the match-review panel on Monday.
Hohaia remained on the sidelines for the rest of the half with a suspected broken nose as Saints trailed 6-2, with Wigan winger Joe Burgess scoring the only try 19 seconds before the break.