Hull FC coronavirus outbreak: Andy Last condemns criticism levelled at club

Hull FC’s interim head coach Andy Last has described the criticism aimed towards the club following their coronavirus outbreak as “unjust”.

Nine players and three Hull staff members tested positive for coronavirus earlier this month, which caused their Super League game and Challenge Cup tie – both against Castleford Tigers – to be postponed as personnel went into isolation.

Hull return to action against Huddersfield Giants at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Sunday, live on Sky Sports, following a three-week absence.

“I do feel it’s unfair. A lot of people have jumped to assumptions and been quick to criticise when they don’t know the facts,” Last said.

“As a club we made sure our environment was safe and we followed all the guidelines and protocols that have been put in place to the letter. We wanted to make sure we did everything by the book and we did, but unfortunately it still found its way in.

“The criticism and finger-pointing was a little bit unjust and uncalled for when they didn’t know the full facts.

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“I’m not one for reading social media but I found it a little bit disappointing that, rather than reach out to those individuals who may have been suffering with Covid symptoms, there was a bit of a blame game.

“That didn’t sit well with me but we have dealt with it. We hope it’s in the past and we don’t have any more cases penetrating our bubble.”

Hull have not named the individuals who tested positive but Last, who took on the head coach’s role after Lee Radford’s sacking in March, has revealed some of them suffered badly.

“It’s affected each individual in different ways,” said Last, who confirmed he was not one of the positive cases.

“Some people have suffered a lack of taste, lack of smell, lack of appetite. Others have struggled with breathlessness and breathing difficulties, others have suffered fever and fatigue or severe flu-like symptoms.

“Some guys have not had impact on them physically, others have struggled.”

It has been a difficult baptism for Last, who had to wait five months to take charge of his first match due to the coronavirus stoppage in the season.

Hull were beaten 54-18 by Salford Red Devils when they returned to action on August 9 and news of the first positive tests followed two days later.

Asked to describe the “roller-coaster of emotions”, Last embraced the analogy.

“If you’ve been to Alton Towers and been on the Oblivion – there’s that period when you are sat at the top and you hear the air brakes drop off and you drop down vertically,” he said.

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