Heremaia blow for Hull
Hull FC’s new hooker Aaron Heremaia will have to wait at least another three months to make his Stobart Super League debut after being told he needs to have an operation on his neck.
The 29-year-old, who joined the Black and Whites in the close season from New Zealand Warriors, damaged a disc in his spine during the club’s pre-season friendly against Hull KR.
He was hoping to make his comeback against Bradford Bulls on Friday, but suffered a setback while waiting for final clearance.
“We have looked at a number of ways to get Aaron back,” said coach Peter Gentle. “He has felt good and made progress and even trained with us with a view to returning this week.
“However, we had a final sign-off with the medical staff and specialist this week and, with his injury being so close to his spinal cord, any wrong knock or tackle during a game could do irreparable damage and it’s simply not worth it.
“We’ll get him in for an operation and straight into rehab and hopefully have him back and fresh and ready to go for the final three months of the season.”
Meanwhile, Hull will be without prop Sam Moa for the foreseeable future after he returned home to Australia on compassionate grounds.
“Some things are more important than footy and Sam needed to return home to be with his family,” said Gentle. “We understand that and will make sure we’re there to support him through a difficult time and look forward to having him back when he is ready.”
With full-back Wade McKinnon joining Mark O’Meley and Joe Westerman on the sidelines after picking up a groin injury in last Sunday’s win over Castleford Tigers, Gentle could hand debuts to Chris Green and Liam Kent against Bradford.
“We are doing it tough at the minute but we can’t complain,” added Gentle. “This is just a period every club will go through at some stage in the season and our time is now.
“This is what having a good competitive squad is all about and it’s exciting to give some young talent a chance. We’ve had some young guys chomping at the bit to get in the side.”
England international centre Kirk Yeaman is ahead of schedule in his recovery from foot surgery and has been provisionally included in the squad for Friday’s game.