Flower extends hand to Hohaia

Ben Flower punches Lance Hohaia. Flower has spoken of the incident for the first time
Ben Flower punches Lance Hohaia. Flower has spoken of the incident for the first time
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Ben Flower says he wants to shake Lance Hohaia’s hand and hopes the pair can move on from what was the most controversial moment of rugby league in 2014.

The Wigan prop, who is starting a lengthy ban from Super League for his brutal attack on Hohaia during the opening minutes of the Grand Final, also thanked Saints for the support they have offered the disgraced forward.

“Saints have shown massive support towards me,” Flower told Sky Sports News.

“I’d like to say thanks to Lance, he’s had abuse as well and I hope he’s moved on. When we see each other, I hope we can give each other a handshake and say, ‘How’s things?’.”

Hohaia spoke openly about the incident in the immediate aftermath of the Grand Final but has since maintained a dignified silence.

And club chairman Eamonn McManus offered his unqualified support to Flower in the days after the infamous punch.

Flower has now given his account of events at Old Trafford and insisted he initially lashed out at Hohaia out of frustration.

“I’ve played in big games before,” he said. “It was a good feeling, I was pumped up ready to go.

“It started off really physical.

“I’ve sort of got him (Hohaia) out of my way. I remember being hit from the side. It was frustration and it made me react in a way I’ve never reacted before.

“The game was so intense, I’ve naturally turned round and thrown a punch, gone in with the second one with no recollection of doing that punch. I can remember doing the punch, but not why I was doing it.

“I was devastated. It hit home what I’d done wrong, letting all my team-mates down in the second minute of the game. That was the hardest part and that hurt me the most, knowing they had to play 80 minutes without me.

“I sat in the showers on my own, thinking, ‘What have I done’.

“It was hard knowing how much I was hated at the time, that was hard to take in, the most hated person on Twitter.”