Super League stalwart Gareth Ellis has blasted the decision to make Warrington play just five days after their Challenge Cup final triumph.
The Wolves defied the odds to beat St Helens 18-4 at Wembley but return to action this Thursday for an important league clash against playoff hopefuls Salford.
Prior to their cup success, Steve Price’s side were on a run of six consecutive defeats and are now at risk of losing their place in the top five.
And after several days of celebration, including an open-top bus parade on Monday, their players now have a short time to prepare for the vital Super League encounter.
“It is absolutely ridiculous that Warrington Wolves – the new Challenge Cup winners – are playing again on Thursday night,” Hull FC star Ellis said in his Yorkshire Post column.
“Steve Price’s side put in a terrific display to beat big favourites St Helens at Wembley on Saturday so to now ask them to play back in Super League at Salford on Thursday is just mind-boggling.
“I really can’t get my head around it to think that the Challenge Cup victors – even being the RFL’s showpiece event – are asked to roll out again so soon.”
Ellis was part of the Hull team that won the Challenge Cup in 2017 and were then required to travel to Leeds for a Super League game just five days later.
And despite the Black and Whites being in top-five contention with Warrington this season, Ellis is adamant the Wolves deserve more rest time and risk picking up injuries due to the short turnaround.
“You should be able to celebrate,” he said. “Fans do, players do and there is no reason whatsoever that any team involved in the final – the runners-up, too – should ever be expected to play on the following Thursday.
“I can’t think of a logical reason for it. There’s likely to be injuries so players will struggle to recover and be ready to play but of course there are those celebrations as well to take into consideration and player-welfare.”