Toulouse Olympique's Corey Norman will miss the rest of the Super League season after being deemed to have deliberately stuck his hand between the bum cheeks of Warrington player Oliver Holmes.
The French side were beaten 32-18 by the Wolves last Thursday night, leaving them rock bottom of the table and four points off Wakefield Trinity above them. And ahead of a tough trip to Wigan Warriors this Friday, their problems have been compounded by a ban for their Australian star.
At a tribunal hearing, the half-back was found to have "intentionally placed a hand between the buttocks of an opposing player," with the panel dismissing his counter argument. Norman, 31, had claimed he grabbed Holmes' shorts in an attempt to pull him down.
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He was found guilty of a Grade F charge of 'Other Contrary Behaviour', and given an eight-match ban from the Super League. It means he'll miss the remainder of this campaign, and the first four matches in 2023.
According to a report by the BBC, the three-person tribunal was "entirely satisfied" that he had "intentionally placed a hand between the buttocks of an opposing player." And they implied the video footage of the incident was damning.
"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. 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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"The footage shows a deliberate placing of Corey Norman's hands and fingers on the buttocks and coupled with the immediate complaint from Holmes, the reaction of his team-mate Danny Walker and the statement of Holmes to which we have measured regard, we are entirely satisfied that this was an intentional placing of a hand between the buttocks of the opposing player and we find the charge proved."
Norman, who was also fined £500, enjoyed a distinguished NRL career with Brisbane Broncos, Parramatta Eels, and St George Illawarra. He initially retired at the end of 2021, before reversing that decision to sign for Toulouse.
It's not the first time inappropriate groping has been called out in an oval ball game. Back in March 2020, England prop Joe Marler came under fire for grabbing the genitals of Welsh captain Alun-Wyn Jones in a rugby union Six Nations match.
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