Hull FC coach Andy Last praises Warrington for not postponing Super League fixture

Hull coach Andy Last has applauded the decision of opponents Warrington to press ahead with Friday’s Super League fixture at Headingley despite being without six players due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Wolves were entitled to postpone the game when the six were told by track and trace officials to isolate after coming into contact with a Wakefield player who tested positive for Covid-19 in the wake of last Sunday’s match.

Hull were forced to postpone two fixtures after 12 members of their playing and coaching staff tested positive a month ago and Last is relieved to get the chance to build on a victory – his first as head coach – by an under-strength side against Huddersfield on Sunday.

Last said: “I think Warrington deserve to be applauded for still putting the game on. I’d like to think we’d be doing the same if we get players stood down for whatever reason.

“The fact that we were able to fulfil our fixture against Huddersfield when we had a number of players missing and a short preparation time, that’s what the mentality is of every team in the competition, doing the best you can to fulfil your fixtures and keep the game going.”

Hull KR coach Tony Smith says he expects his club to be hit by the virus which has also badly affected Catalans Dragons and Last admits there is a constant worry about where it will strike next.

Last said: “It’s a little bit scary, the thought of losing fixtures on a consistent basis, and I don’t want to think about too much.

“Hopefully there won’t be many more outbreaks but, if there are, the game is robust and resilient and, if we have to play a different team or use the full depth of our squad to fulfil fixtures, I’m sure every team in the competition will do that.”

Warrington have lost a full pack of forwards, including co-captains Chris Hill and Jack Hughes, but Last is determined his team will not be distracted by their opponents’ difficulties.

Last continued: “I’ve gone to the extreme of not evening mentioning what their potential line-up will be. It’s more about us and trying to build on the positives from last week.

“When you look at the 21-man squad they named, they’ve still got some quality players – Blake Austin is still there, so is Daryl Clark, Stefan Ratchford and Gareth Widdop – so we need to make sure we’re switched on defensively.”

Warrington have centre Anthony Gelling available again after serving a two-match suspension and coach Steve Price could give debuts to Ellis Longstaff, Connor Wrench, Leilani Latu and Ellis Robson.

Hull have lost goal kicking scrum-half Marc Sneyd with a knee injury and that will give England utility back Jake Connor the chance to make his mark in the team.

Last said: “Losing Marc is a big blow. He is our organiser and has been a big part of the success of our team for a number of years.

“It gives another player an opportunity to play in that position. Obviously Jake has been keen to get a consistent run in the half-back position and he’ll get that opportunity to do so.”

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