Hull FC missing SEVEN players and coach Brett Hodgson due to Covid-related reasons

Hull FC head coach Brett Hodgson will miss Sunday’s game against Leigh Centurions due to self-isolating reasons - and plenty of his squad will be absent, too.

The Super League club revealed tonight it has seen three players test positive for Covid ‘via external transmissions outside of Hull FC’ and another four stood down via separate external track and tracing via positive cases within family or friends.

Australian Hodgson, 43, is also subject to an external track and trace.

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Hull could potentially seek a postponement but they have always maintained they want to fulfil fixtures wherever possible, illustrated when putting out a severely-depleted side that defeated Huddersfield Giants in their last outing.

The Airlie Birds hope the game will go ahead as planned with the only difference being kick-off has been brought forward from 3pm to 1.30pm to help fans watch the Euros 2020 final on Sunday evening.

Assistant coaches Kieron Purtill and Gareth Ellis will take charge of the squad for the game at KCOM Stadium.

Hodgson - who admitted there was a “chance” he could also miss next Thursday’s derby with Hull KR - insisted: “I am fine.

“I tested negative yesterday. I did a lateral flow test on myself.

Hull FC head coach Brett Hodgson (SWPIX)
Hull FC head coach Brett Hodgson (SWPIX)

“Everyone is in the situation at the moment in all of society when if you are at risk you do the right thing and it’s no different for us and myself.

“Ultimately we want to put the game first and get it ahead and I have full trust in the players who are playing and the coaching staff will execute what we have to do.

“It is (frustrating) because it (Covid) is so prevalent these days that you can still do the right thing and it can still affect anyone. That’s where we are at at the moment.

“It’s a unique situation - one I’m not used to - but one we’ve all got to get on with it and still perform on the weekend against Leigh.”

Hull FC assistant coach Kieron Purtill (SWPIX)

The Airlie Birds are seeking a fourth successive Super League victory having defeated winless bottom club Centurions 64-22 at Leigh Sports Village just under three weeks ago and also won at Castleford Tigers.

On how he will coach from his sofa, Hodgson added: “I’ve been in constant dialogue with the coaches.

“I rang the players who are playing. I’ll have those conversations over the next three or four days and make sure I am still involved but ultimately it is very difficult from afar.

“I’ll be watching the game and I’m sure there will be dialogue at half-time and before the game with the coaches as well.

Hull FC's Carlos Tuimavave will return to action against Leigh Centurions. (ALEX WHITEHEAD/SWPIX)

“I’m sure Kieron will do a great job supported by Gaz.”

Along with Andy Last - who has seen moved to Wakefield Trinity - Purtill took control of the side for the majority of last season following Lee Radford’s sacking in March so he has plenty of experience.

Hodgson added: “They (Purtill and Ellis) have been superb since minute one.

“I’m really happy with what they’ve done in terms of their own roles. “They’ve helped us get to where we are now and there is no doubt that Kieron is a very well-experienced coach who knows what he is doing. “We’re not too far off in our own opinions of the game - we’re pretty aligned, I think - and I’m sure Kieron will do well.”

Hodgson said co-captain Danny Houghton, back-row Jordan Lane and winger Adam Swift are all back in contention after missing their last game against Huddersfield.

Kiwi centre Carlos Tuimavave will also return to the side from injury but prop Josh Bowden is “probably a few days too soon” so he will not feature.

England duo Jake Connor and Scott Taylor remain sidelined while Masi Matongo could be absent for another four weeks.

Hodgson added: “We’re obviously quite disrupted with the number of people out but whoever plays has a job to do and making sure we continue on the path we’re on at the minute.”

A Hull statement read: “With several players also unavailable due to long-term injuries, the club will have limited player availability for the match against Leigh Centurions but remain committed to fulfilling the fixture.

“The club continues to do its very best to maintain the integrity of the Super League fixture list, as demonstrated by the fantastic win over Huddersfield Giants last time out in which the club only had 15 senior players available and two academy debutants.

“Last season, Hull FC also fulfilled a fixture at less than 18 hours notice against Leeds Rhinos following the withdrawal of another club.

“Until now, Hull FC were one of the few clubs yet to record any positive cases this season and it takes its approach to Covid-19 protocols extremely seriously.

“Unfortunately, the rapid rise in coronavirus cases in the region has now affected club, with these isolations the result of external transmission.”