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Toulouse accept massive ban for player who put 'hand between buttocks'

By AAP
Corey Norman of the Dragons looks on during the round 14 NRL match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the St George Illawarra Dragons at Stadium Australia, on June 14, 2021, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

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Toulouse have accepted the eight-match ban handed out to Australian playmaker Corey Norman that ends his Super League season – and, potentially, his career.

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The 31-year-old stand-off was found guilty by a Rugby Football League operational rules tribunal of intentionally placing a hand between the buttocks of Warrington forward Oliver Holmes during his team’s 32-18 Super League defeat at Halliwell Jones Stadium last Thursday.

Norman, who was also fined Stg 500 ($A860), pleaded not guilty at the hearing, claiming “unintentional hand positioning” during the tackle, but Her Honour Justice Sarah Wright, who chaired the tribunal, said the panel was “entirely satisfied” the act was deliberate.

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Norman came out of retirement in mid-season to sign a short-term contract and started all 11 matches since making his Super League debut in May.

With just four matches left of the regular season, the suspension curtails the former St George Illawarra player’s initial stint with the relegation-threatened club.

Toulouse chief executive Cedric Garcia told the PA news agency that nothing has yet been decided about Norman’s future beyond 2022.

A statement from the club said: “No other charge has been brought against the player and the club would like to point out that it strongly condemns all types of sexual assault or inappropriate behaviour.

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“Even if the sanction is heavy and ends the player’s season, Corey Norman and TO XIII have decided to accept it.”

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