Former Gladstone Brothers junior is in the Origin mix
RUGBY LEAGUE: Former Gladstone Brothers player Christian Welch has been named in an extended squad for the Queensland Maroons State of Origin side.
With Joe Ofahengaue and Jai Arrow both unavailable due to injury, Maroons coach Kevin Walters has confirmed two changes to the team that beat NSW 18-14 in the opening match at Suncorp Stadium.
Tim Glasby and Jarrod Wallace come into the 17 for the historic Origin II clash at Perth's Optus Stadium on Sunday and their additions bring ready-made Origin experience to the interchange bench.
Corey Norman joins Welch in a squad that will take part in Camp Maroon in Perth this week.
Welch was born in Sydney before he moved to Brisbane and his family then moved to Gladstone, where he played for Brothers' under-12 and under-10 teams.
The 24-year-old has played 73 games for the Storm and was a member of the grand final side that lost to Cronulla Sharks in 2016.
There was more heartbreak for Welch a year later after he suffered a season-ending ACL injury against St George Illawarra Dragons in what was Melbourne Storm's premiership year.
Walters told QRL.com that there was much improvement left in his team.
"With the team we have selected we know there is improvement," he said.
"After reviewing the game (at Suncorp) I would probably give it a five, or maybe if I am being kind a six, out of 10 and the players are aware of this.
"We have come over early to get ourselves mentally and physically prepared for the game of our lives."
Newcastle Knights winger Edrick Lee was ruled out of the Maroons squad because of a leg strain.
His replacement will be named today.
1 Kalyn Ponga, 2 Corey Oates, 3 Michael Morgan, 4 Will Chambers, 5 Dane Gagai, 6 Cameron Munster, 7 Daly Cherry- Evans (c), 8 Dylan Napa, 9 Ben Hunt, 10 Josh Papalii, 11 Felise Kaufusi, 12 Matt Gillett, 13 Josh McGuire, 14 Moses Mbye, 15 Jarrod Wallace, 16 Tim Glasby, 17 David Fifita, 18 Christian Welch, 20 Corey Norman