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Melbourne Storm statement

Melbourne Storm has reported a COVID breach by one of its players to the NRL Integrity Unit overnight.

Christian Welch has been placed into isolation and stood down by the Club from playing and training duties, after an unregistered guest was invited onto the Storm group’s residences last night.

He will not play in the round 19 clash against Wests Tigers tomorrow night.

The NRL Integrity Unit is investigating the matter. 

Christian Welch said: “I’m incredibly remorseful and sorry for my actions.

“I love this game and everything it has given me and I’m shattered that I have let everyone down.

“Calling my parents to let them know about this was the worst phone call I’ve ever made.

“I know it’s a privilege to play in the NRL and I want to apologise to all for any damage I have caused.”

Welch has undergone a COVID test as a matter of priority, with results expected to be known within 24 hours. He will remain in isolation until the results are known, but will continue to be supported by the Club’s wellbeing staff.

As of midnight last night, all members of the Storm group residing in the Club’s “bubble” had reverted to non-quarantine protocols, following the completion of 14 days quarantine (they last had contact with a NSW/ACT based team on 4 September).

This allows for members of the Storm bubble to leave the Twin Waters resort, provided they continue to comply with NRL and Government protocols. 

Storm and Welch will now await the findings of the NRL Integrity Unit.

Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.