Copping a Super League ban is not exactly something to be proud of with a number of stars incurring a lengthy time on the sidelines.
But, every so often a player is slapped with a ban that makes the eyes water in terms of the length of it.
Here are the longest player bans issued from the field in the Super League era.
Ben Flower – Six-month ban
The 2014 Super League Grand Final will be remembered for Wigan prop Ben Flower’s moment of madness. His initial punch on St Helens’ Lance Hohaia was a sending off in itself, but Flower’s strike on the Kiwi whilst the latter laid on the floor shocked the rugby league world to its core. Flower was sent off for the offence in a game which the Warriors went on to lose 14-6 and he was charged for a Grade F offence. That offence carries a minimum of an eight-game ban but, the Welsh international was subsequently suspended for six months, making Super League history for the longest ban ever.
Terry Newton – 10-week ban upgraded to seven months
Terry Newton was known for his vociferous nature on the field, but that reputation went up a notch after he lost an appeal against a 10-week ban given to him following incidents during a Saints-Wigan derby in 2005. The Wigan hooker sat out for 12 matches after inflicting a broken cheekbone on Sean Long and knocking Lee Gilmour unconscious but his punishment was extended to seven months after an appeal was rejected.
Sonny Nickle – Six-month ban reduced to nine matches
In 2001, St Helens forward Sonny Nickle was banned for six months for a tackle that broke the jaw of Leeds hooker Robbie Mears. Nickle was found guilty of using the forearm to the head of an opponent and was suspended for six months for the tackle in Saints’ 23-18 defeat to the Rhinos. The Lancashire club appealed the suspension and they were successful as the forward’s ban was reduced from six months to nine matches.
Jamie Acton – Nine-match ban upgraded to four months
It was Leigh’s first season in the Super League in 2017, but they didn’t exactly forge a good reputation when forward Jamie Acton was handed a nine-match ban by the RFL. The 25-year-old former Wigan academy prop was given the hefty punishment, which ended his season, for man-handling an injured Greg Bird during the Centurions’ Super League defeat by Catalans Dragons. Acton picked up a prone Bird one-handed before dumping him back to the ground, which was seen on live television. The Leigh man was subsequently charged by the RFL’s match-review panel with a grade F offence of “other contrary behaviour”. He appealed and lost, incurring an upgraded ban to four months.
Joel Tomkins – Eight-match ban
Catalans Dragons back rower Joel Tomkins was suspended for eight matches after being found guilty of poking opponent Richie Myler’s backside at the back end (no pun intended) of the 2020 season. Tomkins was handed the ban and a £500 fine for “other contrary behaviour” following a disciplinary hearing. The incident occurred in the second half of the Dragons’ 26-14 win over the Rhinos after Myler was tackled by Tomkins and team-mate Israel Folau. Myler immediately reacted, although he did not make a formal complaint at the time and it was not placed on report by referee Chris Kendall. But television cameras had caught the moment clearly, sparking a substantial reaction on social media.
Tom Lineham – Eight-match ban
For some reason, 2020 was the year of suggestive behaviour. Warrington winger Tom Lineham was banned for eight matches when he was found guilty of grabbing the testicles of an opponent. The former Hull FC player faced an RFL disciplinary hearing after being placed on report during the Wolves’ Super League win over Castleford in 2020 for the alleged offence on Alex Foster. Lineham was subsequently charged by the RFL’s match review panel with a Grade F offence – the most serious on the RFL’s scale – of “other contrary conduct” and referred to an independent tribunal.