Grand Final KO caused Hohaia’s retirement

Ben Flower punches Lance Hohaia and is subsequently the first man to be sent off in a Super League Grand Final

Ben Flower punches Lance Hohaia and is subsequently the first man to be sent off in a Super League Grand Final

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LANCE Hohaia has quit rugby league due to the effects of his Grand Final knockout, it has emerged.

Super League champions St Helens announced the 32-year-old former New Zealand international was retiring with immediate effect, a little more than six months since being knocked unconscious by Wigan forward Flower in the Grand Final.

Saints declined to offer an explanation for the surprise development other than to say it was the player’s own decision - but Hohaia told the BBC he is seeking medical advice.

He said: “I have been experiencing recurrent post match concussion-type symptoms since returning to play.

“I am seeking medical advice to understand any potential effects to my long-term health.”

In a statement, the club said: “St Helens announce that Lance Hohaia has informed us of his retirement from rugby league and will therefore not play for the club again.

“Lance has been a valued and integral member of the squad for the last three and a half years and we thank him for his service.

“We wish him and his family well in their life after rugby league with St Helens.

“St Helens will make no further comment on this matter.”

Flower said in a recent interview with the Wigan Observer: “At the time, I was worried,” he said. “Over time, I came to terms with what I did was wrong. I knew the punishment was right.”

I am seeking medical advice to understand any potential effects to my long-term health

Lance Hohaia

Flower’s six-month suspension covered 11 competitive games and was the second-longest (outside of doping) in Super League history, eclipsed only by Terry Newton’s strikes on Lee Gilmour and Sean Long – also for Wigan in a derby match – in 2005.

“I don’t think it was harsher (because of the attention), I don’t think so,” he insists. “What I did was disgraceful - it was a fair ban.”