SYDNEY - Referee Gavin Morris has been suspended for the opening two rounds of the NRL premiership and been ordered to seek counselling over an off-field incident.
Morris, who has officiated in 46 first-grade games, reportedly punched Queensland Cup touch judge Terry Pascoe on New Year's Eve, landing him in hospital with facial injuries.
The incident was investigated by the NRL's Integrity Unit, who handed down their findings on Tuesday.
Morris, who was also hit with a suspended $5000 fine, accepted the penalty.
"The Integrity Unit has a clear mechanism for assessing issues. It is important to note that process has been followed in this case, as it would for any incident involving a player or club," NRL chief operating officer Jim Doyle said in a statement.
"The Integrity Unit's investigation found that there was behaviour that brought the image of the game into disrepute and we have taken appropriate."
The NRL season kicks off on Thursday week, with South Sydney hosting arch rivals the Sydney Roosters.