Hull FC half-back Jake Clifford has been ruled out of next week’s Challenge Cup quarter-final against St Helens after suffering a concussion in their 28-16 defeat at Leigh.
The 25-year-old left the field in the aftermath of Darnell McIntosh’s try for Hull in the 34th minute following a collision with Leigh winger Josh Charnley.
Visibly dazed, Clifford left the field with concussion and didn’t return to the action.
It’s a huge blow for Hull because he won’t be able to play in their Challenge Cup quarter-final clash with St Helens next Saturday due to the concussion protocols.
Speaking after the game, Hull coach Tony Smith: “He’s fine now and will travel home with us on the bus and was fine by the time he got to the dressing room and even before that.
“But he had some symptoms were he wasn’t able to regain his feet immediately and some of his co-ordination wasn’t there so that automatically ruled him out of doing the test on the day.
“He’ll be out for the next game unfortunately.
“It was unfortunate to lose him early in the match and at a point when we were fighting back a bit and started to re-establish ourselves.”
Hull FC boss Tony Smith admits the better team won
Smith said: “I am disappointed that we were the second best team but only just.
“We fought hard to get back into the game after our opponents got off to a strong start. This place is loud – the supporters are loud – it’s hard to stop that roll going when they start like that.
“We lacked a bit of energy and that showed in some of our line speed. We were noticeably just off – I thought they were sharper but we fought back and gave ourselves a chance and I thought we might even pinch a draw and take the game to golden point at the end.
“But for us to fight back after being not quite at the races, it wasn’t bad.
“I thought we lacked some finesse in attack and defence but I can’t fault our spirit. We showed a lot of pride but we had a few faults and weren’t at the level we have been. The desire cannot be questioned.”