YORK City Knights academy graduate Alex Foster has been handed an eight-match match ban for assaulting a match official.

Foster, now at Newcastle Thunder, was sin-binned during his side’s 53-10 win over Bradford Bulls earlier this month for pushing the referee as the forward defended his goal-line.

The RFL’s match review panel referred the matter to a tribunal, with Foster admitting the offence but challenging the Grade ‘F’ grading.

However the tribunal found Foster guilty and he will now miss the remainder of Newcastle’s 2022 Betfred Championship season.

Those eight matches include two meetings with York, the former in the Summer Bash at Headingley on Sunday, July 31 (6.15pm) and the latter at Kingston Park on Sunday, September 3 (7pm).

Foster said: “I apologise to Mr. (Michael) Smaill (referee) for the incident. It was a lapse of judgement in the heat of what felt like a crucial point as we defended our line having made an excellent start.

“Referees and officials are crucial to our game, and I regret my response to my frustrations at that moment.”

Newcastle director of rugby Denis Betts added: “Having viewed the footage from the game, Alex made the appropriate guilty plea of having made inappropriate contact with a match official.

“We felt having watched both the full speed footage and the slow-motion replays, that there was a realistic case to be made for a reduction in the grading, however the tribunal disagreed.

“We also challenged the wording of the charge as while there was inappropriate contact with a match official, we felt the term ‘physical assault’ was excessive.

“It is an unfortunate way for Alex to have his playing season ended, but that is where we find ourselves.”