“No one is to blame for coronavirus outbreak”

James Gordon

Hull centre Josh Griffin has responded to criticism of the club’s players on social media and says that no one is to blame for the coronavirus outbreak.

After six Hull players and two coaching staff tested positive for COVID-19, 11 Salford players have also now been forced in to self-isolation for two weeks.

It has resulted in both teams’ games at the weekend being called off, while Hull’s Challenge Cup tie with Castleford on August 22 is also a major doubt.

Social media was awash with speculation and criticism on Tuesday evening, with comparisons made to how the NRL have dealt with the situation since their restart – by keeping all players within a bio-secure bubble.

But Griffin tweeted: “I’ve seen some messages about players now being professional. Think people forget we as players have partners who go to work, children that go to schools, food shop anywhere it could be picked up. People need to realise that no one is to blame and it can be picked up anywhere.”

Speaking to BBC Radio Humberside, Hull owner Adam Pearson said that an investigation had found a possible explanation.

He said: “It’s very difficult to say too much publicly but it appears one of the players’ newborn baby has required hospital treatment.

“That player has gone to hospital and subsequently some members of his family could have been infected. He’s then come in on Saturday for some treatment with symptoms and been sent home.

“He did a rehab session or was about to start but was sent home and I think it’s probably gone from there to the physio and into the players on Saturday and Sunday morning. That’s not a scientific answer, that’s where I’m looking at it as the most likely cause.”

Sky Sports presenter Fraser Dainton revealed more information regarding the impact on Salford, who reported that all their tests from earlier this week had come back as negative.

He said: “11 players are going to be forced to self-isolate for 14 days. This decision was made via a track and trace system which has informed those players that they’re going to have to remain behind closed doors for quite some time. It could have some pretty huge implications for games coming up.

“When you consider that Super League is very much catching up in terms of getting games in before the end of the season, then there are an awful lot of decisions that have to be made by various people in positions of power if we’re going to finish this season.

“It’s very fluid, there’s an awful lot going on, and there are a lot more questions than answers at this early stage.”

One small positive from the Salford situation is that the Red Devils are due to have a week off after this week, due to not being in Challenge Cup action. That means that players self-isolating for 14 days would be free to return to action, all being well, in-time for their scheduled game against Leeds on August 29.

It appears unlikely that Hull will be able to play in their Challenge Cup game against Castleford on August 22, though no confirmation has been made either way at this point.

Super League’s coronavirus outbreak

Shocked Salford CEO calls for more coronavirus testing before games

Super League fixtures re-shuffled after coronavirus outbreak

Super League hit by positive coronavirus test results