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Storm prop Christian Welch.

Rising Storm prop Christian Welch went straight out and "bought about 12 lotto tickets" after scans cleared him of a second ACL rupture that initially shattered his teammates' morale after their rousing win over Wests Tigers.  

After hearing a pop and going down against the Tigers, Welch and club doctors feared he had suffered a recurrence of the ACL tear that cost him a start in Melbourne's 2017 grand final win.

Scans on Friday have dialled back Welch's initial diagnosis to meniscus damage, which may yet require surgery, but will only sideline the 24-year-old for 4-6 weeks.

Initially feared to be ruled out for the rest of 2019, that time frame could have the Queensland Maroons hopeful back as early as round 13 with a game's lead-in to Origin II on June 23.

Welch took to social media on Friday to deliver his "amazing news".

For a player off-contract and currently negotiating his next deal with Melbourne and rival suitors, being cleared of further ACL damage is a significant boost.

A popular figure at the Storm and around the wider game, football manager Frank Ponissi said Welch's injury fears had left his teammates despondent after a come from behind 24-22 win over the Tigers.

"I've never seen such a flat dressing room after a win in my memory," Ponissi told

"The way he did it had everyone pretty certain, including Welchy, that it was his ACL again.

"Especially players that have done it before, they tend to know the sensation.

"He said he'd heard a 'pop' at the time, there was no contact, he was just going to step, our doctors and everyone around the team were expecting ACL.

"It was a pretty flat dressing room after the game as a result … but now we've got the news that it's not the full season for him, this place is buzzing again today. It's a fantastic result."

Welch's injury does add to a bulging casualty ward at the Victorian club.

Along with outside backs Curtis Scott (broken foot) and Scott Drinkwater (pectoral), Welch joins fellow prop Tom Eisenhuth (throat) on the sidelines long-term.

Eisenhuth is at least another month away from being able to complete contact work.

Craig Bellamy's available replacements for Welch include regular 18th man Patrick Kaufusi, highly rated man mountain Tino Fa'asuamaleaui and Albert Vete.

Fa'asuamaleaui meanwhile stands at a daunting 197 centimetres, 107 kilos, and has been a powerhouse performer for Sunshine Coast this year.

Already contracted to the end of 2020, it's understood the Storm have begun preliminary discussions around extending his deal beyond next season.

Vete, who has been out for the last month with a shoulder injury, is expected to return via one of Melbourne's feeder clubs in the InTrust Super Premiership next week.

Papenhuyzen goes 85 metres

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