Wayne Bennett and the Dolphins have missed out on another of their targets, with Christian Welch signing a new deal with Melbourne.
The three-year extension will keep the front-rower at the Storm until 2025. He was already under contract for next season, but had been free to negotiate with rival clubs from November 1 for the 2023 season.
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« I love this club, so I’m pumped to be staying around till the end of 2025. I came down as an 18 year old and have made some lifelong friendships and memories along the way, » Welch wrote on Twitter.
The 27-year-old has played State of Origin for Queensland and had been courted by the Dolphins ahead of their NRL debut in 2023.
« Special thanks to my family in Brisbane, » Welch said in a statement released by Melbourne.
« They understand how special a club it is and have continued to support me staying down here, » he said.
« I can’t wait to get out there on AAMI Park in front of our fans who have had it so tough for the last few years. »
Welch was elevated to the Storm leadership group this season, having first joined the club in 2013, making his NRL debut two years later.
« We’re very happy that Christian has committed to this new contract with us that will take his time with Storm well past the 10-year mark, » the club’s Frank Ponissi said.
« He was off contract at the end of 2022 and was a priority re-signing for us.
« Although his career has had some setbacks, he has persevered and continued to grow and mature as a player on the field and as a leader of our club both on and off the field.
« There’s no doubt he will play a very important role in Storm’s future. »
Welch is the second Dolphins target in as many days to re-sign with his current club, after Patrick Carrigan extended his contract with Brisbane.
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