Ex-NRL star Corey Norman slapped with long ban for Hopoate-like offence

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Corey Norman’s rugby league career could be over, with the former Queensland State of Origin player being given a lengthy Super League ban for “inappropriate contact”.

Norman has been hit with an eight-game ban after being found guilty of intentionally placing a hand between the buttocks of Warrington’s Oliver Holmes during a match on Thursday.

The act was compared to similar offences by 1990s rugby league star John Hopoate, who became infamous for a similar act.


Norman, who has also been fined 500 pounds ($860), pleaded not guilty at his disciplinary hearing after being charged with a Grade F offence — the highest possible, which carries a suspension of at least eight matches.

Justice Sarah Wright, who chaired the independent tribunal, said the panel of former players were “entirely satisfied” the act was deliberate.


Norman had been engaged in a running battle with Holmes for several plays, before a lengthy hold-down in a tackle on Thursday night.

The former NRL star’s hand can then be seen reaching towards Holmes’s buttocks, before a complaint is immediately lodged by the Warrington lock in the face of a grinning Norman.

When play was stopped on the next tackle for a separate penalty, the touch judge informed the referee of an allegation of misconduct.

“The footage of the incident shows a deliberate movement of Corey Norman’s left arm and hand over the top of Oliver Holmes and on to his buttocks,” read the ruling.

“At no point does the footage show a grabbing of the shorts to push Oliver Holmes down, as described by Corey Norman.

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