Hodgson hopes for quick Gale return

HULL coach Brett Hodgson is monitoring captain Luke Gale and is resigned to being without backrower Manu Ma’u and winger Adam Swift as he looks forward to Sunday’s Magic Weekend derby clash with Hull KR in Newcastle.

The trio missed Saturday’s 62-12 home defeat against Leeds – the Black and Whites’ first match on home turf since May because of maintenance work at the MKM Stadium.

Gale needed a hospital check after a blow to the head during the 4-0 defeat at Warrington in round 16, and so was absent against his old club through concussion protocols, while Swift suffered what was initially feared to be a leg fracture against the Wolves.

Tongan international Ma’u strained a hamstring during training and is facing up to three weeks out.

Hodgson, who described the performance against Leeds as the most disappointing since he arrived at the club ahead of last season, is waiting for further information on the extent of Swift’s injury.

“We got an X-ray but it didn’t show anything definitive,” he explained.

“An MRI should give us more information on what’s actually going on; he’s in a bit of pain.

“He had a plate inserted in the same leg many years ago, so we thought there might have been an irritation with that.”

Fijian outside back Mitieli Vulikijapani will complete a two-match ban for dangerous contact against Warrington when Hull face Rovers in the sixth and final Magic match.

It’s the second derby of the year after Rovers’ 16-4 home win on Good Friday.

Hodgson knows his side will have to be far better than against Leeds.

“We were coming back into the game with 25 minutes left but then they had twelve of the next 14 sets,” he said.

“We weren’t willing or good enough to put our bodies in front and do what we needed to do.”

Hull have announced the death of Hall of Fame member Mick Crane. The centre or loose-forward also had spells at Leeds and Hull KR and made one appearance for Great Britain against the touring Australians in 1982.

Meanwhile, Hull and the University of Hull have unveiled joint plans for a Rugby League performance, education and community hub, including a new training base for the first team and a centre of excellence.

It will be sited at the university and unite the club’s various rugby pathways for the first time, while students will have the chance of work placements in key fields such as sports science, coaching, analysis and media.

The £1.5 million project has also received financial support from Hull City Council and other funding partners.

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