Storm prop Christian Welch says trans athletes will inevitably make their mark in rugby league


Storm prop Christian Welch says trans athletes will inevitably make their mark in rugby league after Lia Thomas’s NCAA triumph – as he reveals which NRL player is the hardest to tackle and how close he came to signing with the Eels

  • Christian Welch believes that trans athletes competing in rugby is ‘inevitable’
  • Lia Thomas stirred debate after winning the NCAA championship in swimming 
  • Welch, 27, says transgender stars will likely make their mark in rugby league 
  • He also revealed just how close he came to joining the Parramatta Eels in 2019 

Christian Welch believes that trans athletes playing rugby league is ‘inevitable’ after the Storms prop opened up on his injury setback, the hardest player to tackle and just how close he came to joining the Eels. 

Welch, 27, suffered a devastating blow in round one against the Tigers, with the State of Origin prop picking up an achilles injury that will see him sidelined for much of the campaign.

The Brisbane-born star underwent surgery last week and is on the road to recovery, and took to Twitter on Sunday night to answer fan questions about all things footy.

‘Rehab at the moment consists of just elevating my leg which is riveting stuff,’ he wrote. ‘So if you’ve got any questions or just want to discuss something fire away.’

One fan asked for Welch’s views on transgender athletes playing in the NRL, after transgender swimmer Lia Thomas became a national champion in the United States last week.

Thomas’s win has stirred debate on social media, with some arguing that her inclusion threatens fair competition.

Christian Welch believes that transgender athletes playing in rugby league is ‘inevitable’

The Melbourne Storm prop is expected to miss most of the 2022 season with an achilles injury

The Melbourne Storm prop is expected to miss most of the 2022 season with an achilles injury

When asked about trans athletes, Welch said that little discussion has been had on the topic

When asked about trans athletes, Welch said that little discussion has been had on the topic

And Welch believes that the integration of trans athletes is ‘inevitable’ but admitted that he has not been involved in any conversations with competition chiefs about the subject.

‘It’s inevitable to happen but no I don’t think much discussion has been had on the topic,’ he wrote.

Among a host of topics, Welch revealed just how close he was to joining Parramatta Eels in 2019, before a move dramatically fell through. 

Reports have since claimed that the prop even undertook a tour of the Eels’ training facility with coach Brad Arthur, with the switch appearing an inevitability.

The 27-year-old said he was on the cusp of a move to the Eels before the switch fell through

The 27-year-old said he was on the cusp of a move to the Eels before the switch fell through

‘Called Thursday to my manager and said let’s go,’ Welch said when asked about the failed move. ‘He said we’d sign early in the week after my game, played Friday did ACL and contract obviously withdrawn which makes total sense.

‘No bad blood it was the smart move to do.’

He added that Roosters star Jared Waerea-Hargreaves is ‘never fun to tackle’ and said he would love to have played alongside NRL great Matt Gillett.

Welch, who studied at Harvard University, has his sights on a career in NRL administration once he calls it a day, and said that clubs must help players prepare for their lives after rugby. 

Reports claimed that Brad Arthur had shown Welch around the club before an ACL injury saw Parra pull out of the deal

Reports claimed that Brad Arthur had shown Welch around the club before an ACL injury saw Parra pull out of the deal



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