Ben Flowers Punch – Vicious or has the Game Gone Soft?

Ben Flowers hammers an insensible Lance Hohaia. Image: www.smh.com.au

Ben Flowers hammers an insensible Lance Hohaia. Image: www.smh.com.au

Wigan’s Ben Flowers is today waiting to find out if St Helen’s Lance Hohaia will pursue legal action for the punches he received on Sunday’s English Premier League Grand Final.

Flowers’ punches have been eagerly broadcast by media outlets around the world. The first a left hook that floored Hohaia, the second a right handed drill as Flowers stood above the stunned and prone Hohaia.

But what many are forgetting is that Hohaia started the incident. It was Hohaia who hit Flowers with a forearm. Obviously the knock was enough to send the Wigan Goliath into a rage.

St Helens coach, Nathan Brown, believed Flowers send-off was enough of a punishment. Because the incident happened only three minutes into the game Wiggan were forced to play a man down for Seventy seven minutes. Understandably they lost the match, 14 – 6.

Wigan coach, Shaun Wane, refused to even defend Flowers. “It was a red card,” he said to the assembled press, “he (Flowers) punched him (Hohaia) in the head and deserved to go. I have had a chat with Ben and he’s devastated. He’s done some good things for me and he’s made a huge error.

“I can’t explain it. He was revved up, it was a rush of blood … Rugby league’s a tough game, but that tipped over the edge.”

Image; www.smh.com.au

Image; www.smh.com.au

Head of football, Todd Greenberg, announced the league would not change its stance on the controversial no punch policy. He confirmed the game would keep to its mandatory send-off for punching, but refused to speculate on any further punishment awaiting Flowers.

But the incident highlights some deep divisions among fans of the game. Three perspectives have emerged: Support for the anti-on-field violence; the belief that a one-off incident like this isn’t really indicative of anything; and that the game has gone soft: If Hohaia is going to start a fight he deserves what he gets.

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