Premiership winner inks mammoth new deal

Ryan Papenhuyzen has signed a contract extension that will keep him at the Melbourne Storm until at least the end of 2025.

The 2020 Clive Churchill Medallist was already contracted with the Storm until the end of next year, but chose to extend his stay this week.

“It’s awesome to have these three extra years locked in,” Papenhuyzen said.

“This club gave me my opportunity to play NRL and I just feel like I owe them to sign on here for a few more years.

“Hopefully it’s going to be a successful four years to come.

“I’m excited and pumped because I love everything about this club; the people involved, the fans, the members and the playing group.

“This is the group I want to be playing with.”

Papenhuyzen said Craig Bellamy’s decision to extend his tenure as Melbourne’s coach motivated him to put pen to paper.

“Having Craig re-sign made this decision a lot easier,” Papenhuyzen said.

“We were really pleased when that happened earlier in the week.”

Papenhuyzen received the Clive Churchill Medal for his man-of-the-match performance in the Storm’s 2020 Grand Final win. Picture: Brett CostelloSource:News Corp Australia

Melbourne’s general manager of football, Frank Ponissi, said the club was delighted to have retained the fullback for the long term.

“We love what Paps brings to our club both on the field, where he has become one of the best players in the game, and off the field, where is a tremendous ambassador for Storm and rugby league in general,” Ponissi said.

“He is a very important part of our future and I’m sure our members and fans will share in our excitement about what’s to come from Paps in the coming years.

“While everyone sees how well he performs on the field each week, what they don’t see is how much work he puts into all facets of his game.

“He’s an example of a hard and diligent worker who is making the most of his talent.”

After enjoying a breakout season last year, Papenhuyzen has endured a frustrating 2021 campaign.

The Wests Tigers junior has been restricted to just seven first grade appearances after battling neck and shoulder injuries in the opening rounds, before suffering a sickening concussion in Magic Round.

Papenhuyzen became the poster boy for the NRL’s controversial crackdown on illegal contact when he was knocked out by Dragons forward Tyrell Fuimaono in round 10.

Papenhuyzen left the field in a medi-cab after Fuimaono’s hit. Picture: Bradley Kanaris / Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

The 23-year-old only made his return from the injury in round 19, when he came off the bench in Melbourne’s win over North Queensland.

After he missed out on the 2020 post-season Origin series through injury, the concussion forced Papenhuyzen to shelve any hopes of making his NSW Blues debut this season.

Papenhuyzen had been considered a chance to feature as the Blues’ bench utility but the role ultimately went to Jack Wighton and, in Game III, Penrith’s Apisai Koroisau.

Papenhuyzen will line up for his 50th NRL game against Penrith this Saturday night, in what looms as an enticing clash between the competition’s two frontrunners.

The Panthers will be without Nathan Cleary, Isaah Yeo, Tyrone May, Brian To’o (injured), James Fisher-Harris (personal leave) and Apisai Koroisau (suspension) for the game.

Source: Read Full Article