Why enforced Covid break may work to Hull FC’s advantage

AFTER being without a game for almost a month, Hull FC head coach Brett Hodgson admits the derby against Hull KR might not be rearranged this season.

The Airlie Birds head to Huddersfield Giants on Thursday – their first fixture since defeating the same opponents on June 25.

The match against Salford Red Devils was called off following a Covid outbreak in their opponents’ ranks and games versus Leigh Centurions and KR were postponed due to their own issues with the pandemic.

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Hull sit fourth in Super League and have played just 11 games so far – only Rovers with 10 have played fewer – with the minimum requirement to challenge for the play-offs 18.

Hodgson –- who is out of his own self-isolation period – said: “We want to get as many games as we can. Obviously we wouldn’t like to postpone any more games, and there’s an element of relying on other teams to make sure that doesn’t happen.

“We’d like to get the derby in, but the reality is that Hull KR have a number of fixtures before that one that they have to fill in, as do we with Salford and Leigh.

“It has to be done in the order of games you missed by the guidelines set out by the RFL.

“We’ll try and get some of the games into the schedule where it fits. How many, time will tell.”

Hull FC coach Brett Hodgson. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

Hull will still be without six players for Covid-related reasons against Giants, including Australian stand-off Josh Reynolds, plus another four or five with injury.

However, prop Josh Bowden will return. During the enforced absence, Hodgson said: “We tried our best to replicate a game scenario so it wasn’t too long in between those types of physical activities.

“The players off isolating had their own programmes so they were able to tick over some things even though it’s only been in their own backyard.

“We’re in a position where it’s possibly helped us, and hopefully the next couple of results will cement that thought process.

Hull FC's Josh Reynolds makes a break. Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

“We can use it in a way that can regenerate us and really give the next month of rugby league a good challenge. But that’s on us; if we’re willing to work hard enough to do that it will be beneficial.”