Salford Red Devils’ former England forward Gareth Hock has been banned for seven matches after being found guilty of making deliberate physical contact with a referee.
The 30-year-old second rower was also fined £300 by an independent disciplinary panel meeting at the Rugby Football League headquarters in Leeds.
Hock was chasing a kick during the first half of Saturday’s First Utility Super League match against Hull FC when he came into contact with referee Matt Thomason, who was knocked to the ground.
The player claimed the collision was not deliberate but the panel found him guilty of the grade E offence, which carries a ban of between four and eight matches.
Hock has already been punished twice before for similar offences.
In July 2008 he was given a five-match ban after being found guilty of pushing referee Ian Smith while playing for Wigan Warriors against Huddersfield Giants and in May 2013, during a loan spell with Widnes Vikings, he was banned for four games for making deliberate contact with referee George Stokes
The suspension effectively ends Hock’s season unless he wins an appeal. Salford have just seven matches left of the regular season, although they still have an outside chance of reaching the play-offs.
Catalan Dragons were dealt a double blow when French internationals Vincent Duport and Gregory Mounis were handed bans after facing the RFL’s disciplinary panel as a result of offences committed during their 37-16 home defeat by Wigan.
Centre Duport was given a three-match ban and fined £300 after admitting making dangerous contact with England winger Josh Charnley and loose forward Mounis was suspended for two matches and fined £300 after pleading guilty to a dangerous throw on Wigan second rower John Bateman.