Referee Phil Bentham is attended to by trainers.
Referee Phil Bentham is attended to by trainers.

Ref smash gets former NRL player banned

SUPER League outfit Widnes have accepted the two-match ban imposed on co-captain and former NRL player Chris Houston for knocking over referee Phil Bentham during the Vikings' 18-10 defeat by Warrington.

Bentham was injured and taken from the field in the second half of Friday's match at the Halton Stadium after colliding with the Australian forward, who was placed on report by replacement referee Scott Mikalauskas.

Houston was subsequently issued with a two-game penalty notice by the Rugby Football League's match review panel and his club have decided not to contest it.

Chris Houston as a Newcastle Knights player.
Chris Houston as a Newcastle Knights player.

"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," the Vikings said in a statement.

"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."

Houston, who successfully fought a similar charge last April, will miss the Vikings' next two games against Leeds and Wigan.

Chris Houston knocks the referee to the ground.
Chris Houston knocks the referee to the ground.

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