Drawing a line under Flower’s red rush

Wigan's Ben Flower sent off in the Super League Grand Final
Wigan's Ben Flower sent off in the Super League Grand Final

SAINTS boss Keiron Cunningham is happy to draw a line under the Ben Flower controversy.

The Wigan prop’s punch on Lance Hohaia was back under the spotlight yesterday when he gave his first television interview since his Grand Final red-card.

Flower said he felt “hated by everybody” and “devastated”.

He was handed a six-month ban – as well as a hefty fine by the Warriors – which rules him out of next weekend’s friendly between the two derby rivals.

But new St Helens boss Cunningham was quick to keep the incident in context.

He said: “Rugby League is a tough sport and it’s on a knife-edge all the time.

“It’s a physical game and sometimes the emotion of the big occasion can get the better of you.

“Flower just went one step too far – that was it.

“I rang Shaun Wane after the game and said that if Flower wanted to speak to me or Lance we would sort that.”

Flower thanked St Helens for their support and Cunningham admits his only thoughts were for the Welshman’s well-being.

“We just wanted to give him support from the club because he would have been in a dark place,” said the ex-Great Britain No.9, who has replaced Nathan Brown.

The Wales international will miss 10 league matches and the World Club Series contest against Brisbane Broncos before being able to resume his Wigan career from April 16 – and a potential clash against Warrington.

Flower said: “Knowing how much I was hated by everybody, that was hard to take in, knowing you’re trending on Twitter as the most hated person at the time.”