Chester says Rovers can handle life without recognised hooker

Hull Kingston Rovers head coach Chris Chester says his side can cope without a recognised hooker following the suspension of John Boudebza this week.

The french hooker has been handed a four match ban by the RFL following a tackle on Michael Shenton at the weekend which has ruled the centre out for the entire 2016 season with an ACL injury. 

The suspension has left Chris Chester without a recognized hooker for the next few weeks with Boudebza banned and Shaun Lunt sidelined with injury, and the head coach is still frustrated by the 25 year-old’s suspension.

“At the time, I was very disapppointed for John,” Chris Chester told the Hull Daily Mail. 

“We thought the tackle was purely accidental but we can’t forget that Michael Shenton is out for the season. We’re disappointed for him and the Castleford side as a whole.

“I spoke to Daryl Powell (Castleford coach) at length about it and he knows we don’t coach anybody to go at their knees. And that’s not what John did. He’s in a tackle and the player has fallen awkwardly.”

Chester also says the length of his hooker’s suspension is a very harsh ruling, and says he knew the outcome wasn’t great as the day wore on.

“We could have copped a two-game ban, but the fact that they took away the early guilty plea that John had on offer, we felt was a little harsh,” he said.

“At the start of the day, we were told it was a Grade B offence with an early guilty plea available. As the day unfolded, it gradually seemed to get worse.

“The rule has been brought in this year that if a player suffers a serious injury from a dangerous tackle then it can be upgraded on review. They’re the rules, we just feel it was an unfortunate accident on the day and we wish Michael a speedy recovery.”

This has led to the Rovers head coach speaking of how his hooker is upset by what has happened since the incident, but says his Rovers side have to pick themselves up, and believes George Lawler has the ability to step up this weekend.

“John was gutted – he was close to tears on Monday night. He wears his heart on his sleeve and he just loves playing for this club, being here and being involved on a day-to-day basis with the boys. He was heartbroken,” he said.

“But moving forward I thought George (Lawler’s) efforts were fantastic at the weekend from hooker. He’s a good young, fit kid, if the not the fittest at the club. He wanted to play more minutes last weekend and we’ll need him to play a hell of a lot more minutes this weekend at Warrington.”

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