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Storm prop Christian Welch.

Storm prop Christian Welch was born in a Sydney hospital but his journey to being on the cusp of a Queensland debut started when he was a one-year-old.

Welch is in the mix with Gold Coast prop Jarrod Wallace and Newcastle veteran Tim Glasby to get a call-up for game two of the Holden State of Origin series in Perth with Broncos forward Joe Ofahengaue ruled out with a deep leg cut and Titan Jai Arrow in serious doubt with an ankle injury suffered on Friday night's loss to the Warriors. 

Glasby was 18th man for game one and has been in strong form for the Knights while Wallace's recent form for the Titans also has him in the frame.

Welch, who was not in contention for game one after suffering a meniscus injury in the Storm's round-10 win over Wests Tigers, is tantalisingly close to an Origin debut.

"I must confess I was born in Sydney but I got out of there as soon as I could and got up to Townsville before I turned one and had a great seven years there," the 24-year-old told

"Then I went to Gladstone in Central Queensland and then Brisbane, so I covered all the state. Growing up I was a passionate Queenslander and I remember those Wednesday nights you'd come home from school and watch our state in a contest that no sport can rival for passion.

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"Just to be in the conversation of potentially being a part of it is really exciting because it is a dream of mine to play for the Maroons.

"Kevvie Walters has been a great mentor. I have been in the emerging Origin program for a couple of years now and when you go in those camps you can have some good honest conversations about where we are at, and he constantly gives advice."

A keen student of the game, Welch watched the Maroons with awe during their decade of dominance and has a clear idea of the kind of player he wants to be if given a Maroons jersey.

"The modern player I looked to was Corey Parker. I really admired his second phase play and the way he went about his work as a tough operator," Welch said.

"Growing up as a kid my idols were guys like Michael Crocker, Dallas Johnson, Petero Civoniceva and Steve Price because they played the game really tough. They were unsung heroes. Everyone talks about Thurston, Inglis, Smith and Cronk but it was those tough guys in the middle that set the platform against a vaunted NSW forward pack."

Welch's journey to representative contention started just days after the 2018 season decider.

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"I think it reflects on Melbourne Storm culture and what we are about as a club, and what Craig Bellamy is about as a person," Welch said of his determination to be better.

"It is all about work ethic and trying to be the best person and player you can, so each pre-season we sit in the boardroom with all the coaches and strength and conditioning staff and have a look at how we performed throughout the year.

"I think it was three days after the [2018] grand final that we had some good honest dialogue about where individually I was at as a player, and some areas they thought I could improve and target that I could grow in."

It is those areas that Welch has pinpointed this season on the way to helping the Storm become competition leaders after round 13.

"Physically I saw an area to develop. I wanted to add a bit of size so I focused on adding three or four kilos in the off-season so I am about 112 kilos now," Welch said.

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"I have worked more on my attacking game and creating momentum through the ruck, because that is the essence of our job … to let the great players like Cameron Smith get on the back of our play-the-balls and use skill and vision to take advantage of defensive lines that aren’t set.

"The more I can create second phase the better, and 90 per cent of the time I am offloading to Cameron Smith and that can only be good with him having the ball when defensive lines aren’t set. It has been a thing for me to stick at and continue to develop."

And Welch is not planning on levelling off any time soon.

"This is my seventh season at the Storm and I think you improve if you keep doing hard pre-seasons and targeting areas where you think you can develop," Welch said.

"We have great mentors in Ryan Hinchcliffe and Jason Ryles who work with our forwards, and real quality front-rowers and ruck forwards, so every week you are going out on the field and competing with them in the gym and contact sessions it really develops your skills. It builds really good habits."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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