Christian Welch once cried his eyes out when his representative hockey career stalled but now he has two reasons to celebrate what has been a week to remember.
The 26-year-old prop arrived in Maroons camp on Wednesday fresh from his maiden premiership win with the Storm, and on Thursday was named to start in the Queensland side for Game One of the Ampol State of Origin series in Adelaide.
It is a far cry from when he was a centre-half or fullback at hockey and playing for Queensland.
"I didn’t really make any [league] rep teams growing up. I actually played hockey and that was the first Queensland team I made in under 12s," Welch said.
"Then in under 13s I went down to Mackay and got brushed and didn’t make it. I cried my eyes out.
"I was playing for Gladstone at the time in division two and we were the battlers. I don’t think I am as flexible and as quick or suited to hockey anymore. It is a great game though."
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Now Welch is an NRL premiership winner and after "a big couple of days celebrating" he is ready to lead the Maroons pack alongside Josh Papalii after coming off the bench in his solitary Origin match in Game Three last year.
"I came off the bench last year and played 20 or 30 minutes but I have really enjoyed starting this year at the Storm. If I get a chance to start it would be a great experience," he said.
"I am selfishly looking at our ruck forwards and there are plenty of tough, hard working guys in this squad I am excited about potentially playing with.
"If I get picked I would love to play all three [games]. I feel like I have plenty of energy and physically I am feeling pretty good."
Welch has arrived in camp salivating over the prospect of being coached by Wayne Bennett and his staff.
" You go from Craig Bellamy to Wayne Bennett, Mal Meninga, Alfie Langer and Neil Henry," he said.
"I am really excited about learning and getting a different perspective looking at rugby league through a fresh lens.
"I have a few mates at the Rabbitohs and they reckon [Bennett] is a man of the people. I am excited about getting to know Wayne a little bit.
Match: Blues v Maroons
Game 1 -
Venue: Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
"He gets around the boys. It is unusual because we get on the bus and usually Bellsa [Bellamy] is in the front seat next to Cameron [Smith] but I looked up the back and big Wayne is there dealing out cards and probably taking some cash off the boys in the back seat."
Welch is a late bloomer in one respect so playing for the Maroons is a privilege he cherishes.
"I didn’t make any Queensland teams until the under 20s under Kevvie Walters. Having Kevvie was awesome," he said.
"That is when I first got a taste of the Maroons set-up and [Darren] Lockyer came in and spoke to us.
"Then being at the Storm - with a few of the Maroons greats that we’ve had in Billy [Slater], Cameron [Smith] and Cooper [Cronk] - you have a real hunger and desire to play with the Maroons."
Growing up in Townsville, when Origin Wednesday nights rolled around Welch had a ritual that still stokes the fire.
"It is the only sporting event you grow up watching where you get sweaty palms and you are jumping in front of the TV," he grinned.
"It is the only thing that really captured my emotions and passion. I loved cheering on the Maroons."