Super League: Salford Red Devils forward Gareth Hock facing long ban
Last Updated: 15/07/14 7:52pm
Salford's Gareth Hock could be banned for the rest of the season after being accused of making deliberate physical contact with a match official for the third time in his career.
The former Wigan and England second rower has been charged with a grade E offence after colliding with referee Matt Thomason during the Red Devils' 35-22 Super League win over Hull at the AJ Bell Stadium on Saturday night.
Hock was chasing a kick when he came into contact with the referee, who stopped play for several minutes after losing the pea in his whistle.
A grade E charge carries a ban of between four and eight matches but Hock is unlikely to receive much leniency after previously serving two suspensions for similar offences.
Salford have just seven matches left of the regular season.
In July 2008 Hock was given a five-match ban after being found guilty of pushing referee Ian Smith while playing for Wigan against Huddersfield.
In May 2013, during a loan spell with Widnes, he was banned for four games for making deliberate contact with referee George Stokes in a Challenge Cup-tie against Workington.
Hock, who served a two-year ban for testing positive for cocaine in 2009, was axed from England's World Cup squad last October after breaching disciplinary rules.
"No way that was deliberate and the club will defend Hock," Red Devils owner Marwan Koukash Tweeted.
He will face a disciplinary hearing in Leeds on Tuesday evening after being charged by the Rugby Football League's match-review panel, which also brought charges against seven other players from the weekend's fixtures.
Catalan Dragons centre Vincent Duport has been charged with a grade D offence of making dangerous contact with Wigan winger Josh Charnley and his team-mate Gregory Mounis is facing a grade C dangerous throw on Wigan second rower John Bateman.
Both offences are alleged to have been made in the Dragons' 37-16 home defeat on Saturday and the players will face a hearing on Tuesday.
Widnes prop Phil Joseph has been charged with a grade B offence of making dangerous contact on Wakefield forward Taulima Tautai during his side's 12-10 defeat by the Wildcats while team-mate Stefan Marsh is accused of a minor grade A foul on centre Reece Lyne in the same match.
Three players have been charged with striking offences during Warrington's 72-12 win over London Broncos on Sunday. Olsi Krasniqi (London) and Chris Bridge (Warrington) have been charged with grade A offences while London forward Atelea Vea is facing a grade B offence.
Joseph, Marsh, Bridge, Krasniqi and Vea have until 11am on Tuesday to submit early-guilty pleas if they so choose.