Kris Welham reveals ‘panic and worry’ after Super League coronavirus scare

SALFORD RED Devils centre Kris Welham has spoken of his “panic and worry” when realising he and his team-mates may have been subjected to coronavirus.

Salford's Kris Welham scores a try against Hull FC last weekend. Picture:

The former England Knights international featured as his side vanquished Hull FC 54-18 in their first game back after lockdown on Sunday.

However, it was announced on Tuesday night that five Hull players who had taken part in the fixture at Emerald Headingley – and two of the club’s coaching staff – had since tested positive for the virus, plunging Super League into chaos.

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By that point, Salford were still without the results of their own weekly tests and, therefore, endured a nervous overnight wait until receiving them yesterday morning.

Thankfully, everybody concerned eventually returned negative results but – due to the Government’s track and trace procedure – 11 players were told to self-isolate for 14 days and now all the squad will do so.

That, ultimately, led to both Hull and Salford yesterday seeing their scheduled games this weekend called off.

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post about that wait, former Hull KR star Welham admitted: “There was relief in the end, of course, as no one wants to contract that.

“As much as I feel sorry for the Hull boys, it’s good news that Salford haven’t got any positive tests. But we’d not had our results when we heard what had happened at Hull on Tuesday night. There was a little bit of panic and worry, to be fair.

“Everyone knows rugby league is a contact sport where you are up close and personal with everyone so it’s very easy to pass it around.”

There have been suggestions that Super League and the RFL now need to enforce greater restrictions outside of training and game situations.

For example, in the NRL, as part of their return to action, players are currently not allowed to visit cafes, restaurants or a number of other social outings.

Welham, 33, is unsure how that would work here, though, and said: “I don’t know how people could police it.

“For an example, and I’m not saying I do it, I play in Salford but live in Hull.

“How can Salford police what I do over here? It’s the players’ responsibility to take some ownership and do the right thing, I suppose.

“In Australia, the sport is massive and totally different.”

Admittedly, more testing could reduce the risk of infected players taking part in games and spreading the virus but the process is costly.

Players currently only get tested once at the start of the week rather than prior to games on Saturdays and Sundays.

Former Bradford Bulls player Welham admitted: “That got mentioned the very first time we were tested on a Monday.

“Some could get it (Covid) on Thursday, let’s say, and still play at the weekend without knowing.

“Something like that has probably happened this time around with Hull although no one is exactly sure.

“But I think they do it on Mondays as, if you tested Thursday and you got an inconclusive result – which happens – you wouldn’t be able to get it retested in time for game day. It’s hard.

“We’re in isolation now and we’re just all waiting for more information from the RFL and Salford.

“Everything’s on hold which is frustrating as we couldn’t have asked for a better start than the one we had against Hull.”

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