Adrian Lam's 'worry' as Covid-19 wreaks havoc with Super League fixtures

Adrian Lam admits the recent postponements have served as a sobering reminder of the threat Covid-19 continues to pose to sport.
Wigan coach Adrian LamWigan coach Adrian Lam
Wigan coach Adrian Lam

Wigan's match against Huddersfield last Friday was one of two which fell victim, due to a clutch of cases of coronavirus at the Giants. Leeds' home game against St Helens last Friday was also shelved while their fixture at Catalans Dragons on Saturday has been postponed after the Covid-19 outbreak in the Rhinos camp worsened.

Last year, the campaign got up and running after the initial lockdown but was littered with disruption due to games being postponed or switched due to Covid-19 cases.

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Lam, preparing his side for Friday's home game against Hull KR, says the recent wave of tests returned no positives at Wigan but admits the domino effect of the virus is a concern.

“We’re perfect here. We’re 100 per cent," he said.

“But it’s a difficult one, we’re doing everything we possibly can at this club to suit the guidelines.

“We’ve been really professional with our attitude but it only takes one slip-up somewhere along the line, then the whole place would be infected. That’s going on at other clubs at the moment and it’s really difficult to stop.

“We’re doing our part and by doing our part, we still missed a game last week. So it’s a really difficult process we’re going through but we understand why.

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“And we’re all working towards the same outcome, of making sure we play rugby league and that we don’t go back into that area of having no games.

“That’s a worry for everybody.”

Shaun Wane's scheduled press conference today was postponed and he has delayed naming his England side for next Friday's match against the All Stars due to the cases at Leeds and Huddersfield.

The Rhinos, who also cancelled their scheduled away game against the Catalans in 2020, say they had just 14 players available last week.

The news is a body blow to the Dragons, who had been given the go-ahead to host 5,000 fans this week, compared to just 1,000 for each of their two previous home games, following an easing of lockdown restrictions in France.

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The clubs are likely to be given permission to play the fixture on the weekend of the Challenge Cup final on July 17 but that will be of little consolation to coach Steve McNamara, whose side have made their best-ever start to a Super League season and top the table with eight wins from their opening nine matches.

The French club secured a television deal with broadcaster beIN Sports at the start of the season and Saturday's game was also due to be shown live in the UK on Sky.

Leeds pulled out of their trip to Perpignan last March because forward Joe Greenwood, who was on loan from Wigan at the time, had shown Covid-19 symptoms, although he subsequently tested negative.

After initially warning that the Rhinos could face sanctions for not fulfilling the fixture, RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer said no action would be taken because of the "exceptional circumstances".

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The RFL ruled the game should be re-arranged but it became one of several fixtures to fall by the wayside as the impact of the pandemic continued right to the end of the season, with final positions determined by win percentages.

Huddersfield have resumed training this week and say Friday's home game against Salford will go ahead.

St Helens Women's Super League game against York on Sunday is also set to go ahead after they were cleared to resume training this week following the postponement of the derby fixture with Wigan.

Last year, Super League adopted a win percentage model to determine the table as they feared all fixtures wouldn't be completed, a system which has been continued this year.