Rugby league legend Scott Sattler believes Melbourne Storm letting go of Ryan Papenhuyzen would help the club build for the future, amid a bombshell recent report the Melbourne Storm star has been shopped to a rival NRL club. Papenhuyzen is a fan favourite at the Storm but has battled injuries in recent years, spending extended stints on the sidelines.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported over the weekend that a third party acting on behalf of the Storm had approached a rival club to gauge their interest in the 25-year-old, whose contract runs until the 2025 season.
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Reports linking Papenhuyzen with a move away comes on the back of the meteoric rise of Storm young gun Sualauvi Faalogo, who is set for a significant contract upgrade after starring for Samoa in the recent Pacific Championship Test series. The Storm bosses are already working on at least doubling the budding fullback's pay as they intend on upgrading him into the club's top 30 for next season.
Sattler on SEN 1170s 'The Run Home', said the Storm are about to enter a transition period under Craig Bellamy and parting ways with the fullback makes sense so they can invest the added salary cap space elsewhere. "The way rugby league is now when you have a player that is on seven figures, it has the ability to free up a lot of money," Sattler said.
"Because the Melbourne Storm are about to go into a really interesting phase in their history under Craig Bellamy. They've always been a top-four side and were so again this year but they're moving into an era where you're not quite sure where they're going to be."
"I thought their back rowers were underwhelming this year. They don't have any strike centres or two good wingers so are they thinking listen if we can sell Papi (Papenhuyzen) we can possibly have 700 to 800 thousand and we could buy two or three players for our future?" The Storm have an abundance of fullback options who could fill the Papenhuyzen void if the club were to let him leave, with young Faalogo as well as Nick Meaney who impressed in Papenhuyzen's absence at fullback.
Greg Alexander says Papenhuyzen can bounce back to his best
There have been concerns raised by rugby league experts about whether Papenhuyzen's body can hold up against the physicality of first-grade footy in the wake of his injury setbacks. Alexander, however, believes after speaking with the 25-year-old last week, that Papenhuyzen can return to the NRL bigger and better, despite concerns that his most recent ankle injury is on the same leg that he suffered the career-threatening knee mishap.
“I think he’ll be back (to his best), I saw him last Friday, he was very confident that he’d be back running after Christmas and ready to go,” Alexander revealed on SEN 1170. “The knee will have more time to heal, he said the only worry is the fact that it is the same leg, the broken ankle was the same (leg) as the knee.
“The quad and the muscle in his thigh wasted away a little. I think he’ll be back.” Papenhuyzen signed a three-year extension with the Storm in 2021 that's worth around $2 million, meaning Melbourne could free up a large chunk of salary cap space if he was let go.
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