Welch targeting future Maroons spot
The small taste of State of Origin life Melbourne prop Christian Welch was given this year has made him want more.
Welch, who spent time in the Maroons camp before Origin II, continued his impressive season during the club's gritty 9-8 win against the Roosters in Adelaide last Friday.
He wasn't named in Kevin Walters' team for the July 11 finale to the 2018 series at Suncorp Stadium, but continued improvement could see the 23-year-old push for a place in the years to come.
"I was really excited to know I was there or thereabouts," Welch said.
"Warming up, being part of that (in Sydney) was a really great experience for me. Little things like being in the room when they were presenting Billy Slater with his 30th jersey, was quite emotional.
"It is certainly a goal, and would certainly be for most Queensland or New South Wales players to eventually play for their state. I've just got to keep trying to improve and keep getting better."
Welch, who will play his 50th NRL match against the Dragons on Thursday night at AAMI Park, said proving he is good enough to take on the Telstra Premiership's best middle forwards had proven a challenge.
"It does take time, especially in the middle," he said.
"Especially if you've got these guys, these statesmen of the game, big forwards who have got plenty of runs on the board.
"It is a bit daunting, but the more confidence you have in your little 'teams amongst teams'. Our ruck forwards have quite a tight bond and confidence in each other."
The Storm rose to third spot with their round 16 victory and impressed with their ability to win ugly.
"It was a bit of a slower game against the Roosters in Adelaide," Welch said.
"Obviously we had some changes, with Jahrome [Hughes] coming in and playing in the halves, where he hasn't played that often, and those guys backing up from Origin as well.
I think that's always been a foundation of the Storm to defend well and be gritty. You've got guys like Ryan Hoffman who makes those charge down plays. If you've got guys who make those efforts for their team, it's a good way to be successful."