Andy Last condemns criticism levelled at Hull FC following coronavirus outbreak
Hull’s interim head coach Andy Last has hit back at “unfair” criticism of the club following their Covid-19 outbreak.
Twelve members of Hull staff, including nine players, tested positive for coronavirus a fortnight ago.
The club subsequently had a Super League game and Challenge Cup tie – both against Castleford – postponed as staff went into isolation.
Amid the disruption, Hull were on the end of strong criticism from certain quarters and Last feels some of the swipes were unjust and ill-informed.
Last said: “I do feel it’s unfair. A lot of people have jumped to assumptions and been quick to criticise when they don’t know the facts.
“As a club we made sure our environment was safe and we followed all the guidelines and protocols that have been put in place to the letter. We wanted to make sure we did everything by the book and we did, but unfortunately it still found its way in.
“The criticism and finger-pointing was a little bit unjust and uncalled for when they didn’t know the full facts.
“I’m not one for reading social media but I found it a little bit disappointing that, rather than reach out to those individuals who may have been suffering with Covid symptoms, there was a bit of a blame game.
“That didn’t sit well with me but we have dealt with it. We hope it’s in the past and we don’t have any more cases penetrating our bubble.”
Hull have not named the individuals who tested positive but Last, who took on the head coach’s role after Lee Radford’s sacking in March, has revealed some of them suffered badly.
“It’s affected each individual in different ways,” said Last, who confirmed he was not one of the positive cases.
“Some people have suffered a lack of taste, lack of smell, lack of appetite. Others have struggled with breathlessness and breathing difficulties, others have suffered fever and fatigue or severe flu-like symptoms.
“Some guys have not had impact on them physically, others have struggled.”
It has been a difficult baptism for Last, who had to wait five months to take charge of his first match due to the coronavirus stoppage in the season.
They were then thrashed 54-18 by Salford when they finally returned to action on August 9 and news of the first positive tests followed two days later.
Asked at a press conference to describe the “roller coaster of emotions”, Last embraced the analogy.
He said: “If you’ve been to Alton Towers and been on the Oblivion – there’s that period when you are sat at the top and you hear the air brakes drop off and you drop down vertically.
“There’s the point where you can’t take any more and you just come out. Well, you ended up carrying on that point where you can’t take any more. It was, ‘When am I going to come out?’
“It was a challenging experience as a head coach but I felt I dealt with it in a positive way and the club handled that difficult situation very well.”
Hull return to action against Huddersfield at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Sunday.