The spate of postponements in Betfred Super League caused by the coronavirus pandemic is showing no signs of easing after Salford’s next two fixtures were called off.
Fresh Covid-19 cases in the Red Devils’ camp have forced Thursday’s home game against Hull KR to be postponed, as well as their trip to Wakefield on Monday, taking the number of casualties in Super League so far in 2021 to 19.
Under the Rugby Football League’s Covid-19 protocols, a team can apply to postpone a match if seven or more senior players are unavailable as a result of Covid-19 and the governing body says Salford have exceeded this threshold.
— Betfred Super League (@SuperLeague) July 27, 2021
The postponed fixtures will be added to the growing list for possible rearrangement, although the Super League table will be determined by win points percentage to allow for the possibility of not all fixtures being fulfilled.
However, clubs currently still need to reach a threshold of 18 fixtures to take part in the play-offs and that is a target which is starting to look distant for some of them.
Hull KR, for instance, have had six matches postponed – one of them twice – and, although they stepped in a short notice to rearrange their game against Catalans Dragons in Perpignan last Saturday, they are still seven short of the target.
Hull KR tried in vain to rearrange a game for this week, adding to the frustration of Rovers chief executive Paul Lakin.
“The club have faced seven postponements so far this year, the most of any club, yet remain focused on doing everything to fulfil the minimum number of 18 fixtures required to qualify for a play-off place,” Lakin said in a statement.
“We are naturally very frustrated. This is our seventh consecutive postponed game and there is no doubt that the track and trace protocols are badly hurting the sport.
“As we showed by flying out to France at short notice over the weekend, we are desperate to play but unfortunately we aren’t able to rearrange a game for 48 hours’ time.
“Whilst neither Huddersfield nor Leigh has a game this round, it wasn’t possible to bring forward our away fixture to play either of them for stadium operational reasons.
“We now look forward to playing Catalans at home on Monday for our first game in front of our fans since the lockdown restrictions were fully lifted.
“With nine scheduled fixtures remaining, and we believe also an opportunity to play two rearranged games before the regular season concludes, we are excited and determined to give everything we’ve got, to what feels to us to be the start of the second half of the season.”
Statement – Positive Covid tests mean the postponement of Salford’s Betfred Super League Round 16 match against Hull Kingston Rovers this Thursday.
Fans who have purchased tickets for Salford away will be refunded within the next 5 working days.
— Hull Kingston Rovers (@hullkrofficial) July 27, 2021
The fixtures at St Helens on Wednesday and Leigh on Thursday were called off on Monday.
Last year, officials called an early halt to the Super League season due to the spate of postponements and clubs took part in an expanded play-off series.
The situation, which is further complicated this time due to relegation still currently in place, will be at the top of the agenda for a meeting of clubs due to take place on Friday.