Grateful Welch reflects on journey
Christian Welch has not had an easy road to 50 NRL games.
ACL surgery more than 12 months means this has been a season of making up for lost time for the young prop.
He has certainly wasted little time in doing so.
Welch has missed just one game so far this season as an impact player for Craig Bellamy off the bench.
The 23-year-old's potential has caught the eye of Queensland selectors who called Welch into Maroons camp to train with the squad in the build-up to Origin II.
It was a great acknowledgement after four years of hard work at the top level.
"Coming through as a young guy it was hard to get a game but I am really proud to play one game let alone 50, especially at the Melbourne Storm," Welch said.
"I love being here. The calibre of players I have been lucky enough to play with at the Melbourne Storm has been something I'm really proud of.
"I am really looking forward to playing this weekend."
Storm take on the top of the table Dragons at AAMI Park this Thursday night.
The team will be wearing its Heritage jersey that will have an added touch with sponsor FUSO changing its name of the back of the jersey.
Their logo will be changed to 'OF US', an initiative to celebrate fans who show toughness and strength on and off the field.
"It is a great initiative by the Club and one of our major sponsors FUSO," Welch said.
"It is good to highlight other people who may be doing it tough. We don't often talk about how privileged we are. Your career as a rugby league player may not last that long but it is a pretty great lifestyle.
"You do suffer injuries but you are guaranteed your income, you are guaranteed your job.
"There are people out there who are doing it tough but we see them out there at AAMI Park. They find a way to get to games, to buy those season tickets and buy those Storm jerseys even though circumstances might not be that great.
"I think it is an important thing to celebrate our fans, our members and people in the public who are doing it tough."