How Hull FC shape up following Jack Ashworth tribunal verdict

Ben Olawumi
Jack Ashworth Hull FC Alamy

Jack Ashworth in action for Hull FC - Alamy

Up to 15 players remain unavailable for Hull FC after Jack Ashworth’s tribunal last night, and that’s with the prop seeing his charge and ban downgraded, now set to miss the next two games rather than three.

Ashworth had initially been hit with a three-match ban and charged with Grade D head contact for the second half tackle during Saturday’s defeat away against Catalans Dragons which saw him sin-binned.

Accordingly, he would have missed Super League games against both Leigh Leopards and rivals Hull KR, as well as a Challenge Cup Sixth Round tie against Huddersfield Giants in the middle of those.

Instead, having pleaded guilty but successfully challenged the grading of his charge, he will now serve a two-match suspension with a £250 fine, meaning he will be back for that Hull derby on Good Friday away at Craven Park.

Heading into this Saturday’s Round 5 clash with Leigh at the MKM Stadium, the 28-year-old is now the Black and Whites‘ only suspended player, but head coach Tony Smith’s options across the park remain limited, hampered by injury woes.

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How Hull FC shape up following Jack Ashworth tribunal verdict with up to 15 players still unavailable

Off-season NRL recruit Franklin Pele would be a ready-made replacement for Ashworth having completed his own suspension after his red card in Round 1 against KR.

But during his suspension, Pele has had surgery on his finger, and is 50/50 on the selection front for this weekend.

If Pele is ruled out, there could be chance for youngster Jack Brown to step in from the off having also completed a suspension of his own. The 23-year-old has already started one game this season, Hull’s 36-10 defeat at Warrington Wolves last month.

Elsewhere, Liam Sutcliffe will be back in the fold having served the ban he picked up after that defeat at Warrington, while FC captain Danny Houghton has been given the all-clear after pulling up against Catalans.

As expected however, full-back Jack Walker faces at least four weeks out having limped off in Perpignan last weekend just after scoring a try, with his “hammy’s gone” shout during the game proven correct, significantly straining his hamstring.

Walker is the latest in a long line of injuries, as noted below with each player’s expected return date stated in brackets:

  • Joe Cator (hamstring, Round 8-10)
  • Liam Tindall (thumb, Round 5-6)
  • Brad Fash (ankle, approx April)
  • Jake Trueman (achilles rupture, approx May)
  • Mitieli Vulikijapani (ACL, approx March)
  • Kye Armstrong (shoulder, approx May)
  • Cobie Wainhouse (ACL, approx summer)
  • Cam Scott (calf, Round 5-6)
  • Harvey Barron (hamstring, TBC)
  • Matty Russell (loan ended, torn pec)
  • Zach Jebson (ankle, Round 5)
  • Franklin Pele (hand, 50-50 Round 5)
  • Jack Walker (hamstring, Round 9)

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