Hull FC coach Brett Hodgson says that despite the best efforts to play matches, it’s likely the final Super League table will have a lopsided look for the second season running.
Last year, clubs played between 19 (Wakefield) and 13 (Catalans) times during the regular campaign, with Hull completing 17 fixtures.
This time around, with Covid continuing to force postponements and time to rearrange games running out (the play-offs are due to start on September 23), it seems highly unlikely that the final standings will feature all twelve clubs playing 25 times, as was the plan.
The RFL had, of course, anticipated such a scenario and ruled that positions will be determined by win points percentage, with clubs required to complete 70 per cent of their fixtures (18 matches) to be eligible for the six-strong play-offs.
Hull have so far played eleven times, suffering four postponements, with Covid issues within their squad putting paid to Thursday’s derby at Hull KR, which has now been called off twice, as well as the previous game at home to Leigh.
The home match against Salford on July 5 was also postponed due to unavailability within the Red Devils’ ranks.
Hull now hope that Thursday’s visit to Huddersfield will go ahead, with former Giants player Hodgson targeting a Grand Final berth for Hull who, under Andy Last, suffered a semi-final defeat by Wigan last season.
“We’re going to do our best to cope (with the fixture pile-up), but it will be difficult as the season goes on,” explained Hodgson, who will be without star Australian halfback Josh Reynolds as he continues his recovery from Covid.
“It’s going to eventually have to happen that some games probably don’t get played, but we’re doing everything we can.
“The fixtures are tough and you have got to fit in games wherever you can. It’s the same for every other team, and there may be some games that we can’t get on due to various things. It’s a very difficult situation.”
Reynolds said of being hit by Covid: “I’m on the mend, but it absolutely rattles you. I’ve probably never felt that weak in my body and I had no smell, bad sweats, was really achy and a really bad migraine.
“And there was one night I woke up and I felt like I couldn’t breathe properly. It was pretty freaky.”
The above content is also available in the regular weekly edition of League Express, on newsstands every Monday in the UK and as a digital download. Click here for more details.