– Chris Houston: Widnes back-row given two-game ban after referee collision

February 20, 2018

Reserve referee Scott Mikalauskas took over from Phil Bentham after he was brought down in the 54th minute

Widnes back-rower Chris Houston has been suspended for two matches after colliding with referee Phil Bentham in their defeat by Warrington on Friday.

Bentham was replaced by reserve referee Scott Mikalauskas as he was unable to continue after he was knocked down.

The Rugby Football League gave the Australian the ban after charging him with a grade C offence for reckless physical contact with an official.

He will now miss games against Leeds Rhinos and Wigan Warriors.

The incident occurred in the 54th minute of the game as Houston chased a Widnes kick, with his eyes appearing to be on the ball before he brought down Bentham.

Houston was previously charged with a grade D offence after colliding with Bentham in the corresponding fixture last April but was found not guilty.

A club statement said: “Whilst we believe that this incident was entirely accidental, and that there was no malice or intent behind the collision, we also recognise that there is a duty of care towards referees. As such, the club does not feel that it is in a position to contest this matter.

“We are satisfied that Chris’ positive conduct on the field, with no disciplinary action in the past 24 months, has been recognised with a penalty at the lower end of the range.

“Following the incident, Chris sought out Phil to express his sincere apologies for the accident. We are looking forward to him returning to the team soon.” – #1 – All News First!

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