HULL KR: Cockayne 'instigator' of derby brawl – RFL justifies punishment
BEN Cockayne was handed the longest ban from the Hull derby brawl after being identified as the 'instigator' by the RFL.
And the fact that the Hull KR star was 'keen on continuing to fight' after initial punches were traded also worked against him, the Mail can reveal.
His poor disciplinary record in Super League – which had seen him referred to the disciplinary panel six times in four years – and his entering of a 'not guilty' plea to the charge of fighting, were also taken into consideration.
The Mail asked the RFL to explain the reasoning behind suspensions handed out at Tuesday night's meeting after fans accused the panel of inconsistency.
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Cockayne was handed a two-match ban whilst Hull's Danny Tickle, who raced in to become involved in the brawl, walked away with just a one-match suspension.
Rovers' Liam Watts was fined £500 and not banned, whilst FC's Sam Moa was fined just £300.
Explaining the decisions, a spokesman for the RFL said all players' previous records had been taken into account.
Neither Watts nor Moa had been called before the committee before, with Moa also having an 'exemplary record' from his days playing in Australia. Both were given credit for showing 'remorse' for their actions, meaning they avoided a ban.
However, Watts was handed a heavier fine as he pleaded 'not guilty' and was found to have committed the offence of fighting, whereas Moa immediately admitted the offence.
With regard to Tickle, the committee took into consideration his guilty plea, and that in 11 years as a professional, he had only appeared three times.
These included a referral last season for a reckless high tackle and a two-match ban for a dangerous throw, plus a fine for kicking in 2008.
The committee told the Hull FC man: "You clearly ran in some distance and at some speed and punched your opponent.
"We understand that feelings were running high and that Mr Cockayne had been aggressive towards your team-mate.
We understand that you did not attempt to become further involved after the initial confrontation.
"However, your behaviour escalated the incident, therefore we must mark this by way of suspension."
With regard to Cockayne, the committee took into consideration that in four years as a Super League player, he had already made five previous appearances for foul play.
These included a three-match suspension in 2006 for punching, a 'sending off sufficient' in the same season for 'butting', a one-game suspension in 2007 for a high tackle, a one-match ban last season for a grapple tackle and a referral earlier this year for a careless high tackle. Having being found guilty of the offence of fighting, his 'not guilty' worked against him.
The committee told him: "The panel have considered the incident very carefully. The view is that you were the instigator in the way you attacked Calderwood.
"However, we understand that you were provoked.
"You were quite keen on continuing to fight once you had been struck again by Tickle.
"Your conduct deserves a suspension. However, your previous record must be taken into account when deciding what suspension to give."