The general consensus is that rugby league players will need a minimum of three weeks contact training before they play games again.
That’s the worry of Hull KR coach Tony Smith, following the announcement that the season will restart on August 2.
Exclusive: Hull KR coach Tony Smith fears many Super League clubs will not be able to bring players out of furlough soon enough with the rugby season restarting on August 2
He said: “There has been a number of injuries in the NRL, involving some high profile players so it has brought attention to it.
Players could run the risk of injuries if Super League clubs cannot afford to bring them out of furlough early enough.
“We can only speculate on what might happen. But there has got to be an argument that the longer they train the better they will be ready in terms of peak fitness.”
But Smith says some clubs are in such financial difficulties that they may only be able to afford one or two weeks.
Clubs had expected to return mid-August, leaving them only a few weeks before fans might be allowed back, bringing in vital money.
Every Super League club has taken a massive financial hit because of coronavirus and playing behind closed doors will continue to rock the coffers.
An August 2 restart for the six clubs that have catch-up games – including Rovers – means players should now ideally be back on to the pay role in early July.
He said: “There is a really big issue still to be sorted out and that’s whether we’re having promotion and relegation.
But Smith says clubs are finding it impossible to budget because there is too much still up in the air.
“Sponsors may pull their money or decide not to reinvest. The season is already compromised and people need to know what they’re investing in.
“I think there is a really big decision to be made by the hierarchy before some people are prepared to invest.
Rovers have also lost £500,000 after pop concerts at their stadium were cancelled and Smith says he doesn’t know when his players will return.
He said: “Hopefully we’ll know by the end of the week. If we get one week then so be it, two will be better and three will be fantastic but we will just have to roll our sleeves up and get on with it whatever it is.”
“Clubs need to have a better idea before they can bring players and staff out of furlough and pay for the testing scheme that we need to ensure everyone’s safety.”