'Risk for the squad': Melbourne player smacks down NRL anti-vaxxers

Christian Welch says NRL anti-vaxxers like Bryce Cartwright are putting their teammates at risk. Pic: Getty

NRL players refusing to be vaccinated from the flu during the coronavirus pandemic are a risk to their teammates.

That's the belief of Melbourne star Christian Welch, who is thankful all of his Storm teammates and staff inside the club bubble have received the jab.

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"We're lucky we don't have that issue in Melbourne at the Storm," Welch said.

"All players have decided to get the flu shot and trust the medical expert and the doctor. Just trust the medical experts and back them in."

Welch's comments come as the NRL faces the dilemma of players outside of Queensland who have refused the shot being locked out of the sunshine state.

Queensland is the only state to have applied the 'no jab, no play" stance, with Gold Coast duo Bryce Cartwright and Brian Kelly stood down from training.

Welch agrees with the state government's approach.

"If you are demonstrating any form of symptoms similar to the coronavirus, you get isolated and taken away from the group," he said.

"And you have to be 48 hours free of symptoms before you can return to training.

"My thinking on that is, if we have a member in our squad who's more susceptible to be sick and potentially come in ... especially this year with how strict everything is, I think it's a bit of a risk for the squad."

Storm star opposed to blanket testing of players

But while he sided with Queensland's anti-vaccination policy for sporting bodies, he was opposed to blanket testing professional athletes for COVID-19.

While AFL players are expecting to be tested for the virus by the end of this week, the NRL has so far relied on their biosecurity measures to keep players healthy.

"I like the protocols we've got at the moment. At the same time, I think about the general community and the perception of that (test)," Welch said.

"I don't want the community to think that we're more entitled to a corona test, (especially) if we don't have symptoms or anything like that.

"Just because we're professional footballers, doesn't make us better or more entitled to those health services than everyday Australians.

"But if the tests - I don't know how much they cost per test - are widely accessible, or if the NRL can access them, yeah, sure, that'd be great."