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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.

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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.

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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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