DANNY Bridge has issued a statement after being issued with a nine-month ban from rugby league.

He was this week found guilty by an Independent Operational Rules Tribunal of assaulting a match official during a match.

“I would like to apologise to Oldham Roughyeds, the club, the fans and especially my teammates and coaching staff," he said in a statement.

“I’m embarrassed and ashamed of what happened.

“I pleaded guilty for the charges that were against me because I made a massive mistake.”

He added: “It’s never acceptable to make contact with the referee and I was ready to accept whatever punishment I received.

“I have apologised to the referee and after the incident went over to see if he was ok.

“I never deliberately assaulted him and like I said to the tribunal it was a mistake in personnel.

“It was a close game with six minutes to go and I thought it was an opposition player I pulled back, it was a split-second decision I will regret forever.

“I have never been banned or sent off in my whole career and anyone who knows me or who has played with me will say this is not in my nature to do this.

“All I can do is say sorry to anyone that I have upset.”

Bridge, who made three first-team appearances for The Wire in 2013 and featured for Ireland in that year's World Cup, was playing for Oldham against Keighley in League One when the incident happened on July 13.

His Wire career consisted of two Super League appearances and one Challenge Cup game before he had loan spells with Bradford, Featherstone and Swinton.

He has since played for Rochdale before joining Oldham ahead of this season.