Shaun Wane admits he was “concerned and a bit angry” when news broke of a coronavirus outbreak at Super League club Hull last week.
England coach Wane fears the damage further fixture postponements or another large scale break in the season could do to the game in the country.
Super League resumed at the start of August after a hiatus of almost five months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Twelve members of Hull staff, including nine players, have since tested positive for Covid-19. The club’s Super League game last weekend and their upcoming Challenge Cup sixth-round tie – both against Castleford – were postponed as a result. A member of staff at St Helens has also tested positive.
“I was concerned and a bit angry,” said Wane at a press call. “At the end of the day, this game is really, really important to me, like it is with the Hull players and everyone involved at Hull.
“We just need to make sure that we’re all really supportive and really smart in how we go about our business and we protect our game.
“The ramifications of having even more problems are bad, there’s no question about that.
“I want to carry on watching our great game. I’ve loved these last few weeks, being out of the house, watching two or three games a day. It’s been fantastic and I don’t want it to to stop.
“While all the players are being smart, we just need to be smarter. We need to be obsessed about making sure we are doing the right things.”
With Super League now set to run through November, the Ashes series planned for this autumn has been cancelled.
That leaves Wane with few opportunities for meaningful fixtures ahead of England’s 2021 World Cup campaign, and he is anxious the situation does not get even worse.
He said: “There’s no dressing it up. I am fearful of more postponements because I want to give us the best chance of doing well in that World Cup and it’s already been hit.
“We need to make sure that we’re the shining light of all sports, and we behave the best. I know the majority of players in Super League will all be trying their best, we just need to try harder. Simple as that.”