Melbourne Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen is eager for more playing time as coach Craig Bellamy grapples with how to best utilize his talents during the team’s finals campaign. Papenhuyzen made his return to the NRL after a 13-month absence due to a debilitating shattered kneecap suffered during last year’s Magic Round.
The Clive Churchill Medallist was greeted with a standing ovation and a rapturous reception from Storm fans when he took the field against the Gold Coast Titans with just over 20 minutes remaining in the game. Despite feeling some nerves, Papenhuyzen revealed that the pressure he felt in his Queensland Cup comeback three weeks ago was much greater.
He expressed feeling really good and comfortable during his NRL return and admitted that the nerves he experienced in his first Falcons game were more intense than what he felt on Saturday. With his main objective on the day being to get through the match unscathed, Papenhuyzen acknowledged that he didn’t know when he would come on the field. Reflecting on his entrance, he described it as a memorable moment, highlighted by the incredible noise and support from the crowd.
Now, the pressing question for Storm coach Craig Bellamy is whether Papenhuyzen’s return will result in Nick Meaney losing his position as the team’s fullback heading into the finals. However, Papenhuyzen emphasised that he is willing to play any role necessary in pursuit of his dream to secure a second premiership for Melbourne this year.