DISGRACED Wigan prop Ben Flower admits the spectre of his Super League Grand Final dismissal against St Helens at Old Trafford on Saturday evening will overshadow the remainder of his career.
The 26-year-old received his marching orders just two minutes into the clash after knocking St Helens’ Lance Hohaia to the turf and landing a second punch while the New Zealander lay on the ground.
Flower became the first player to receive a red card in a Grand Final and was full of remorse, as reigning champions Wigan’s 12 men failed to prevent St Helens lifting their first Super League title since 2006.
“I am so sorry for what happened,” said Flower. “There is no defence for my actions. It is something that happened in the heat of the moment. I instantly regretted it and I am devastated that I allowed myself to punch someone like that.
“I’d like to say sorry to my team-mates, our fans and Wigan. I know I’ve let them down like never before and accept I’ll have to live with this for the rest of my career.”
Hohaia, who lifted the World Cup with New Zealand in 2008, played no further part in the match – which St Helens won 14-6 – but insists he holds no grudges against Flower.
“In the heat of the moment, people do some things they regret,” said Hohaia. “I’ve done some silly things on the field myself. Ben is probably disappointed with himself.”