Storm's title hopes take hit with Welch out for rest of year
MELBOURNE'S premiership aspirations have been dealt a serious blow after confirmation star prop Christian Welch has suffered a season-ending knee injury.
Tests on Saturday morning confirmed the worst after Welch hurt his right knee making a routine carry in the second half of Friday night's thrashing of Brisbane.
"Scans this morning have unfortunately confirmed that Christian Welch has ruptured his ACL in his right knee," the Storm said on social media on Saturday.
It is the second time in three years that Welch will miss a finals campaign, having blown his left knee ahead of the Storm's title run in 2017.
There were fears Welch had torn the same knee in May, only for a second diagnosis showing meniscus damage that ruled him out for just one week.
Welch celebrated the news by buying 12 lottery tickets, before going on to make his State of Origin debut for Queensland in game three.
It is a heartbreaking end to what has been a breakthrough season for the 25-year-old, who was averaging 99m and 19 tackles in 35 minutes per game.
His form for the competition pacesetters was understood to have caught the eye of a number of rival clubs, including Parramatta.
However, he is now likely to take up a player option to remain with the Storm next year, with the hope of bouncing back and earning a new deal.
Tui Kamikamica and Tom Eisenhuth are likely to come into contention for the vacancy in the Storm's 17-man line-up.