‘Heartbreaking blow’ as Huddersfield Giants game postponed

HUDDERSFIELD Giants managing director Richard Thewlis described Friday’s home game against Wigan Warriors being called off as a “heartbreaking blow” and revealed the club were willing to play even with up to 14 players missing.

Huddersfield coach Ian Watson. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

The West Yorkshire club were set to welcome fans back into the John Smith’s Stadium for the first time in 15 months but last night saw the game postponed after seven of their players tested positive for coronavirus. It is the first time a Super League game has been called off because of the pandemic this season.

Leeds Rhinos – with their own Covid concerns – will find out today if their televised fixture against St Helens on Friday will also be hit.

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Thewlis said: “It’s a heartbreaking blow to everyone here who has worked so hard to make this game our first with supporters back in the stadium.

“The hours that have gone into this are almost unimaginable for anyone on the outside looking in to appreciate.

“I really feel so disappointed for everyone here and to the thousands that were looking forward to coming after so long away.

“We can assure everyone that despite the positive results, the resultant track and trace and other issues meaning that (coach) Ian (Watson) had around 14 players unavailable to select from, we did still want to play but fully understand and respect the RFL position and ruling on the game.”

Huddersfield will now work with Wigan to find another date if possible to reschedule the contest with the Challenge Cup final weekend of July 16-18 an obvious potential candidate.

It is extra frustrating for both clubs given they had already had last weekend off due to not being involved in the Cup semis.

A joint RFL/Super League statement read: “Seven Huddersfield players have tested positive for Covid-19 in the last two days, meaning they are required to self-isolate for 10 days.

“Consequently, and in accordance with the RFL’s Multiple Case Framework, the RFL’s Multiple Cases Group have determined that although Huddersfield’s last training session was last Wednesday, the team should not return to training until a further round of PCR testing on Friday (June 11).

“The decision was reached on the basis of the number of positive cases and given the incubation period for Covid-19 of up to 14 days.

“There will be further discussion regarding another of Friday’s scheduled matches, between Leeds Rhinos and St Helens, tomorrow (Wednesday).

“Leeds are awaiting the result of a PCR test on one of their players which could rule out a number of others through Test and Trace analysis.”

Last season was blighted by Covid outbreaks causing havoc with fixtures, prompting the RFL to rule league positions would be determined by win percentages.

They have used that method again this term, a decision yesterday’s news vindicated as the pandemic reared its head once more.

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