Gladstone coaches, teams, helped Welch make it to Storm
FROM the dirt at Marley Brown Oval to the NRL Grand Final at ANZ Stadium, Christian Welch has come a long way from wearing the Gladstone Brothers jersey.
But his father John Welch has said the lessons Christian learnt as a child in Gladstone have been a large part of his success to day.
"He really appreciates the work of the coaches and various teams helping him out," he said.
"These are the people that make the Christian Welchs, Cameron Smiths and Cooper Cronks of the world.
"It's the hard yards in under 10s and under 12s that teach you the basics and give you the love of the game as well."
The Welchs lived in Gladstone for four years after John was offered a job here and he and wife Lynn decided to move the family south from Townsville.
"One of the big advantages of Gladstone was he able to play hockey, cricket, rugby league, he had a few shots at soccer and softball," he said.
"If you wanted to play a game there were plenty of opportunities to get out and have a good time."
But Christian didn't just have a good time, he was naturally skillful and made the Queensland side for cricket and hockey.
Now as he lines up to Cronulla on Sunday, his father John said he and his wife are more nervous than the 22-year-old footy player.
"We're probably more nervous than Christian is because you really want to see your kids do well," he said.
"He has the club around him, we're supporting him, his mum and I are both excited and nervous."
They will be travelling down to Sydney for the match, with uncles, aunties, family and even some of Christian's friends from Gladstone.
They last time they saw him he was playing for Redcliffe against the Capras in April.
"Goondoon St copped a bit of a flogging that night," John said.
"And Christian is very proud of his roots and appreciative for the people who helped him get across the line."
And to get the Welch family across the line, some choice words to some of Cronulla's best players will ease the tension.
"I am nervous now, once we get down there, get settled, called Gallen a few names and Mick Ennis for trying to pull a few penalties we will feel better," he said.