The Melbourne Storm have been dealt a double blow after confirmation that superstar fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen and centre Reimis Smith will spend lengthy stints on the sideline, following injuries in Sunday's big win over the Dragons.
Papenhuyzen will be out for up to six weeks after suffering a hamstring tear and a posterior cruciate ligament injury in news that has implications extending beyond the Melbourne club.
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The severity of the fullback's injury will again wreck his chances of playing State of Origin, with the Dally M leader's form having rocketed him into contention for Brad Fittler's NSW side.
Papenhuyzen was in the NSW squad in 2020 but couldn't press for a position due to a calf injury and last year he was sidelined with ongoing concussion symptoms.
With this year's Origin series set to get underway on June 8 in Sydney and concluding with Game III in Brisbane on July 13, it would take something resembling a miracle for the Storm fullback to recover in time to feature.
Ryan Papenhuyzen is expected to miss 4-6 weeks after scans revealed a hamstring strain (left leg) & PCL injury (right knee). Challenging rehab ahead to overcome both injuries at the same time pic.twitter.com/1GzH6eT6E5
— NRL PHYSIO (@nrlphysio) May 10, 2022
😢 Say goodbye to an Origin debut for a third straight season?
⛈️ @storm's superstar fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen will be sidelined for up to six weeks after suffering a hamstring tear and a PCL injury in Sunday's win. 🦵🏉
More: 👉 https://t.co/N2O5wxkk1n #YourStorm #NRL pic.twitter.com/ELlXnRXtmt
— ABC SPORT (@abcsport) May 10, 2022
Storm superstar Ryan Papenhuyzen is expected to miss 4-6 weeks after sustaining hamstring and PCL injuries 🤕
— NRL (@NRL) May 10, 2022
Bellamy let Papenhuyzen play on with a PCL injury that did not improve at half time, against an inferior team. I would’ve taken him off then. Instead he goes and injures his hamstring. Seems like a classic overcompensation injury. I’d ask NRL physio but I’m blocked
— Anthony (@roosterman1997) May 10, 2022
Unfortunate news from the Melbourne storm from their win over the Dragons last Sunday, Ryan Papenhuyzen will be out 4-6 weeks with hamstring tear and PCL injury. And Reimis Smith has a ruptured pec will miss 10-12 weeks on the sidelines....
— scott twomey (@ScottTwomey) May 10, 2022
— bet365 AUS (@bet365_aus) May 10, 2022
Melbourne coach laments Ryan Papenhuyzen call
Storm coach Craig Bellamy conceded on Monday that it may have been an error of judgement not to take off Papenhuyzen after his first injury against the Dragons on Sunday.
Papenhuyzen scored two tries before exiting the AAMI Park field early in the second half, picking up the hamstring injury after bursting onto a Nick Meaney kick and planting the ball down for his second.
The 23-year-old also picked up a knee injury in the first half of the contest, with Bellamy admitting that he probably should have taken his star off at the time.
"If I'd known what I know now, I definitely would have taken him off, we knew he wasn't gonna be involved like he is with the ball, but we were only 12 points up, (we thought he could) just sort our defence," he told reporters.
"I'm not quite sure, with that knee, even if he hadn't got the hamstring whether he'd be playing the next couple of weeks anyway.
"So he's got a couple of injuries to deal with, so we have to find ourselves a fullback for the next couple of weeks."
Ladder-leaders Melbourne head up to Magic Round in Brisbane to take on second-placed Penrith also without Reimis Smith, who will have surgery after scans confirmed a ruptured pectoral muscle.
The Storm centre is likely to be out for 10 to 12 weeks.
Due to injuries to the Storm's outside backs, the NRL has granted approval for development squad member Marion Seve to be available for selection in the top grade from this weekend.
The Storm's top-of-the-table showdown against defending premiers Penrith on Saturday night is the highlight of Magic Round at Suncorp Stadium.
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