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‘I’m disappointed with the commentary’: Welch defends Walker hit

“I do find it interesting there was more talk of my legal tackle than the Roosters forward [Daniel Suluka-Fifita] who was [sin-binned] for foul play on one of our halves.

“I didn’t hit him high. My head accidentally collided with his. There was certainly no intention there.”

Walker has become a target for opposition sides because of his size and his well-documented shoulder problems.

Christian Welch smashes Sam Walker in the second half on Thursday night.

Christian Welch smashes Sam Walker in the second half on Thursday night.

Phil Gould even suggested during the Nine commentary the teenager would be best served given a short spell, but Welch again disputed the experts’ view and said he would only benefit from the week-to-week grind.

Walker also somehow survived a decent whack from Justin Olam two minutes before full-time.

“He’s a tough kid who is a very, very good player already and I’d say will be playing Origin in the near future,” Welch said.

“He’s a tough operator, we got to him a couple of times, but he gets straight up and makes the next play for his team.

“Sam’s a threat for the Roosters and everyone is aware of the talent he has and the future he’s got.

A melee breaks out after Welch’s challenge on Walker.

A melee breaks out after Welch’s challenge on Walker.Credit:Getty Images

“At the end of the day one of my main jobs is to pressure the halves when they’re playing into the line or kicking the ball. This allows our edges to make better defensive decisions and our back three to get an easier catch on the ball to start our sets in a better position.

“I don’t know how his body is pulling up each week and if he needs a spell, but he keeps backing up and performing, so the experience he is getting right now is invaluable. There’s also no [reserve grade] because of COVID at the moment, so he’s learning and getting better each week.”

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Robinson praised Walker’s courage to keep bouncing to his feet. “He’s got footy courage, he plays footy,” he said. “He’s learning some awesome lessons. I thought he kept playing the longer the game went and his defence got better right at the end. But along with a lot of our guys, it wasn’t good enough for a long period of time.”

The Storm made it 13 straight wins while notching 40 or more points a 10 time this season.

While Welch will rejoin the Queensland Origin camp on Monday, the Storm players had planned to enjoy nine days off with the bye, only for any trips to be canned because of the return of the NRL’s strict level-four biosecurity measures.

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