Melbourne Storm prop Christian Welch is set to be chased by rival clubs yet again as he re-finds his peak form following a year on from an ACL rupture, per NRL.com.
Welch is set to run out for the purple on Thursday night against Parramatta, the same club the 26-year-old had reportedly accepted a three-year deal with prior to his season ending injury.
Both Welch and the Storm look to have timed their run home to the finals perfectly, with the front-rower playing as one of the league's best in recent weeks.
Welch will have to carry a larger load than normal against the Eels this week, with Dale Finucane's sidelined with a calf injury and Jesse Bromwich out with suspension unless an appeal is accepted.
While a number of rival clubs are set to pursue the signature of Welch, it is understood his heart lies with the Storm, with a reported two or three-year deal on the table.
Role players on the cusp of the first team are set in an unprecedented position as clubs will turn their attention to financial cuts due to the impacts of COVID-19, with clubs facing one of the toughest off-seasons for some time.
Welch was one to remain quiet at a media call on Monday, holding off on contract discussions despite a report that St George Illawarra are in the hunt for the Storm prop.
However, Welch remained on the subject of his current club, expressing his delight and admiration for the club he joined eight years ago.
"We're in talks and seeing how that progresses over the next couple of months," Welch said.
"I love this club. I came here as an 18-year-old and it's done so much for me on and off the field.
"It's developed me as a rugby league player but also as a young man and a lot of values that we have for on-field, it really applies to your life outside it.
"Respect, integrity, humility, stuff like that. I really love this club, everything we're about and the people involved so I'm very passionate about it."
Welch's current form will warrant a significant rise in pay, averaging 143 metres and 27 tackles per game across the last five weeks.