“I still have plenty of worries,” he said. “It is hard. I still work with a sports pysch. Every pre-game I still think I am going to reinjure my knee. Even coming back on with 15 minutes to go [against the Raiders] at the back of mind I was thinking, ‘Don’t get injured, don’t get injured’.
“I think that is natural with my injury past I have had. You have just got to take it on. I am lucky the position I play is pretty full-on. It is pretty chaotic in the middle so you don’t have much time to think about things.”
Welch’s secret weapon has been Jacqui Louder, a Melbourne psychologist who consults with the Storm. Louder has equipped Welch with some tools to get past his injury paranoia and has also helped other players at the club ensure they step up to the plate in major games.
“Jacqui has worked with a lot of different sports – Olympians and tennis players – and worked a fair bit with us on the mental side of performing well,” Welch said. “I suppose the last couple of years we have had really strong seasons but just fallen short a couple of times. She has been really good for us in trying to channel our best performance for those big games.
“I was struggling a bit earlier in the year and she just basically said to just think about if you do [reinjure] it, what are you going to do … and to have a plan if it does happen again. Just don’t block it out completely but accept it as a possibility.”