SHAUN Wane has revealed he was angry at Hull FC’s positive tests for Covid-19 as they could impact England’s World Cup hopes.
For Super League being affected too much could wreck his chances of lifting the trophy on home soil next year.
The Black and Whites have been forced to scrap two matches after 12 players and staff developed the illness while Salford – who they played the day before the results became known – miss at least one.
And national boss Wane revealed that while feeling sympathy for those affected, any more problems would be huge for 2021.
He said, while admitting he has been bowled over at just how rugby league has coped and how clubs are backing his plans: “I was concerned and a bit angry.
“At the end of the day, this game is really important to me, like it is with the Hull players.
“But the ramifications of having even more problems are really bad. There's no question about that.
“There's no dressing it up. I'm fearful of more postponements because I want to give us the best chance of winning the World Cup.
“We need to make sure that we're the shining light of all sports and we behave the best. I know the majority of players in Super League will all be trying, we just need to try harder.
“I've loved these last few weeks, watching two or three games a day, and I don't want it to stop. While all the players are already being smart, we need to be smarter and obsessed with making sure we do the right things.”
Wane has already lost the Ashes Test series against Australia but hopes to set up a meeting with the Exiles – Super League’s finest ex-NRL players – for next mid-season.
He wants to call up all players from the other side of the world too, including Brisbane Broncos’ Lancashire-born starlet Herbie Farnworth, who along with St Helens’ Morgan Knowles was called up to the elite training squad today.
And Wane revealed he wanted Wales ace but Barrow-born 23-year-old Knowles, who could be a successor at loose forward to veteran captain Sean O’Loughlin.
While seeing Farnworth, 20, battle it out at the beleaguered Broncos re-enforced his qualities, which he has known about for a while and wants to see more of.
He added: “I chased Morgan. He's a big player I admire, a big effort player which is perfect for me and I can see him playing in a Test match.
“I've already spoken to him but I like him. The first time we met, he’d stayed behind and asked me what do I think he needs to work on – that speaks volumes as desire to improve is everything for me.
“Sean O’Loughlin is not going to last forever and he sees himself jumping in there, which I can see myself.
“He's got a bit of skill and a bit of speed and he can do a job anywhere for you. He’s a great kid, a great player and I rate him very, very highly.
“Herbie is young and will have time to develop into one of the leading candidates for World Cup selection.
“I wouldn't say Herbie has stood out but he's doing a few good things which I like to see. He's warranted his selection in the top squad.
“I'd need to see more from him but the glimpses I've seen are very encouraging. His size and athleticism are very impressive and I can see him pushing very hard for a centre spot next year.
“I know him through the scouts at Wigan, who made me aware of him many years ago. We've followed his rise through the ranks and to end up over there, playing NRL at his age, is very impressive.
“Hopefully we can get an Exiles game in the middle of next year, around June time – and pre-World Cup I can get time with the players beforehand.
“Look at the Exiles team we could potentially pick, it’s very strong – stronger than some Test matches. So lets do it properly and make it a big deal and the key is to make it an ongoing fixture.
“And if someone said, ‘You’re playing next week.’ I could name my team tomorrow. I wish someone would say that.”
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