Hunslet will, together with Rugby League clubs at all levels from the grassroots through to Super League, be inactive for the next two weeks following the joint decision of the Rugby Football League and Super League Europe to suspend fixtures until, initially, Thursday 3 April 2020.
The ruling follows Government advice regarding social contact and mass gatherings in the light of the coronavirus crisis.
The RFL will, during the interim period, consider the season’s structure and fixture rescheduling.
Hunslet’s home Betfred League 1 fixture with London Skolars on Sunday (22 March) will therefore not be going ahead, and the Parksiders will not be making the trip to Rochdale Hornets seven days later. Coventry Bears are, on fixtures initially issued, due to visit the South Leeds Stadium on Sunday 5 April.
Head coach Gary Thornton said: “We’re following government guidelines and avoiding non-essential contact, so we’re not training this week as a club; we’re relying on players to follow their own programmes to keep fit.
“We plan to regroup next week to prepare for the home game with Coventry but obviously everything is very much up in the air, in all walks of life, right now.”
The break in fixtures gives Harry Kidd, who dislocated a shoulder in last Friday’s Coral Challenge Cup tie at Featherstone Rovers, the chance to recover, Thornton revealing that the prop didn’t suffer ligament damage. But winger Ben Markland, who suffered a dislocated knee the previous week against North London, will be out for the season.
Thornton said: “It’s tough on Ben, who had been playing well, but Harry should be ok for our return to action, whenever that will be given the uncertainty over the coronavirus.
“Meanwhile we’ve signed winger Liam Copland, who has impressed while on trial with us from Stanningley.”
He added: “The coronavirus scare is of course having a huge impact on society as a whole and we have to keep sport in perspective. From that narrower perspective, though, it’s unfortunate that we’re not playing London Skolars this week after having lost emphatically at Featherstone last Friday.
“The first thing we said after that game was that we needed to move on and put a disappointing night to bed.
“We didn’t do ourselves justice against Rovers and never really recovered from a bad start in which we conceded two early tries. We pretty much beat ourselves against an expensively amassed, and very good, side, but we can take a lot from the second half when, after having been 26-0 down at the break, we did much better, limiting Featherstone to three tries and scoring one in a 46-6 defeat.
“One of their touchdowns was a breakaway effort after Kiedan Hartley had had what looked like a perfectly good score ruled out and our lads were celebrating, and another was registered very late, so there wasn’t that much between the teams in the second period.
“We gave it a real dig after half-time, such as Jordan Andrade, Zach Braham, Alex Rowe, Josh Tonks and Vila Halafihi, who played on with a hand injury, all emerged with a lot of credit, as did Ben Heaton. So we can take a lot from the Featherstone game. We were never going to win the Challenge Cup and although we were well-beaten that game won’t define our season. The bottom line is that Rovers are a very good side that had recently put 38 points past London Broncos, who were in Super League last season, in the capital. Featherstone gave us a bit of a wake-up call, and an illustration of what we’re building towards.”