Bellamy's stunning Storm reveal on Papenhuyzen return

Craig Bellamy has revealed he considered not playing star fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen in the NRL on his return from an ankle injury.

The 2020 Clive Churchill Medal winner came up with two crucial plays in the 30-24 win over the Dolphins on Friday night after missing five NRL matches with a right ankle fracture that had required surgery following the 22-20 win over Gold Coast in May.

It was the same ankle he broke in week one of the finals against Brisbane last year, after he missed 13 months with a shattered kneecap.

Papenhuyzen supported through the middle of the field for the Storm to score a first -half try and made a desperate tackle on his tryline in the dying moments to prevent Dolphins winger Jamayne Isaako from scoring and possibly taking the round-16 match into golden point.

"To be quite honest, I wasn't all that keen to play him in NRL straight away. I thought he might have wanted a game in Queensland Cup," Bellamy said post-game.

"I have never seen him so confident to come back after an injury.

"He was pretty firm that he was ready to play NRL. When your senior and key players have got that sort of attitude, you throw them in.

"I was sort of hoping with 10 or 15 minutes to go, if we were in a good position, we might have given him a little rest because we had (replacement fullback) Sua Faalogo on the bench.

"But because of the closeness of the game we never thought of taking him off."

The fact Papenhuyzen was so confident about being able to come back and play well in the NRL and do his job was the clincher.

Bellamy said there had been times in the past when Papenhuyzen had not shown the same level of confidence and belief on returning from injury.

"I knew he was ready to go. That last try saver that he made showed it was pretty important he was there," Bellamy said.

"Sua has come in and done a great job. He is really quick but Paps has that experience."