It will have been 337 days since Christian Welch last laced up his boots on game day when he takes the field tomorrow, however the trimmed down prop has a new fire burning within.

Welch played just 61 minutes last season before snapping his achilles tendon, ending the forward's season as soon as it began, and he wasn't the only long-term casualty the Storm suffered that season, or even that night.

George Jennings tore his ACL in the same clash, while Reimis Smith managed just nine games before a pec tear drew curtains on his 2022 season, while Ryan Papenhuyzen's concussion issues were followed by a shattered kneecap midway through the year.

While the club managed to drag their way to fifth spot, even having a shot at the top four before losing their final regular season match to Parramatta, an elimination final exit at the hands of the Raiders brought the doubters out of the woodworks.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 04: Christian Welch takes on the defence during a Queensland Maroons State of Origin training session at Langlands Park on July 04, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Add in the loss of the Bromwich brothers and Felise Kaufusi to the Dolphins, as well as the departure of Brandon Smith to Bondi, and the doubters get louder.

For years and years now, pundits have bravely tipped 'this is the season Melbourne finally drop off', only to be proven wrong by Craig Bellamy and his superstar squad.

Welch has finally been named to return in this weekend's trial match against the Sydney Roosters in Geelong, and is eager to prove people wrong in the club's Round 1 clash against Parramatta.

"Round one, we're taking on the grand finalists and particularly for me as a front rower, they've got one of the best forward packs in the competition with Campbell Gillard and Junior Paulo," Welch told the AAP.

"It's exciting having people say, 'Oh, they've lost the Bromwich brothers, they've lost Kaufusi, they're going to be a bit soft through the middle'.

"It's got me a little bit fired up and I know all the boys that are in our ruck unit, we're excited about getting out there ... hopefully we can prove a few people wrong.

"Us forwards, we know if we can set a platform we've got one of the best spines in the competition, exciting backs, we've got a great team."

SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES - MAY 06: Christian Welch of the Storm is tackled by James Graham and Jack De Belin of the Dragons during the round nine NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Melbourne Storm at UOW Jubilee Oval on May 6, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Welch has shed five kilograms this off-season to keep up with the way the game is heading, and while he's anxious to return to the field, the prop says he's in a good mindset to pull on the purple jersey again.

"I'm loving life at the moment - it's the best thing in the world taking the field," Welch said.

"I'm really excited about this week, but I'm also a bit nervous.

"I've had a big off-season where I feel like I've put a lot of work in and I feel really confident going forward.

"Obviously it's been about 12 months since I've played a game of footy and obviously there are risks associated with it but I'm really excited to get out there and hope to have a good long year ahead."

Welch will don the No. 10 jersey for the Storm in the first trial, and line up against former team mate Brandon Smith, who is set to make his club debut for the Roosters in the same match.