Christian Welch says NRL could blow chance to impress world by dropping second referee


“Personally I would like to see two referees,” Welch told a media teleconference on Tuesday.

“If we do get up on May 28 then it will be pretty clear water in terms of other sports not being played all around the world.

“It’s a chance to showcase rugby league to the world so there is a danger there in bringing the one referee in when we are not used to it and we haven’t been able to practise with it.

“It could reduce the quality of our game when we can showcase it as the AFL is not up and running, American sport is not up and running and it’s just rugby league.”

Welch is on the cusp of returning to the side after a knee reconstruction last year and he expects to be available for selection in the first game back.

Welch added the speed of play was difficult for two referees to handle, leaving a single referee in an impossible position.

“The game is getting quicker and quicker, we are reducing stoppages with the dropouts and scrum clocks,” Welch said.

“The play-the-ball is getting quicker as well so it’s getting more demanding on our referees and I can’t understand why we would want to remove a referee.

“Rugby league is high-intensity and high-speed. It’s really hard [to referee] with a lot of interpretation and grey area so I really feel for the referees at times.

“They are humans like us.”

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The Storm finished up their training camp in Albury on Tuesday and will have a day off on Wednesday before resuming training at AAMI Park on Thursday.

Team officials will setup a clean entry zone and split the squad between the game-day locker room and training locker room while the players will face a screening process to enter and exit the venue.

Training will be on the AAMI Park surface instead of the publicly accessible Gosch’s Paddock, where the team usually holds sessions.

“It looks really thorough and as a players’ delegate, safety has been a big thing for us in returning to work so full credit to the Storm and the NRL,” Welch said.

The NRL has yet to announce its schedule for the first week back but the Storm expect to be playing in Sydney until Victoria’s lockdown laws allow for home games.

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