Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen is reportedly being shopped around to at least one NRL club as the Melbourne hierarchy put faith in a promising youngster. Papenhuyzen is a favourite among Storm supporters but has battled injuries in recent years, spending extended periods on the sidelines.
Meanwhile, young gun Sualauvi Faalogo was ultra-impressive in his single first-grade appearance for the Storm and has turned heads for Samoa in this year’s Pacific Championships. Storm bosses have already started working on at least doubling the budding star's pay as they intend on upgrading him into the club's top 30 for the 2024 season.
'FREAKISH TALENT': Melbourne Storm to lock down promising youngster
'DON'T SEE A NEED': Twist in Luai contract saga after Panthers admission
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that a third party has approached a rival club to gauge their interest in the Papenhuyzen whose current contract expires at the end of 2025. Melbourne's general manager Frank Ponissi, however, reportedly played down the suggestion. Third parties are often used in sensitive contract negotiations to allow clubs to remain at arm's length regarding any potential discussions.
The Storm have plenty of fullback options with young Faalogo as well as Nick Meaney who impressed in Papenhuyzen's absence at fullback. Melbourne is reportedly aiming at bolstering their forward pack for next season and needs to free up some salary cap space to make that happen.
Sualauvi Faalogo Storm salary to double
Following the stellar debut of rookie fullback Sualauvi Faalogo for Samoa the Storm are set to double his contract before next season. The young Samoan made his Test debut against Australia and did not look out of place, racking up 63 metres from 14 carries, producing 11 tackle busts, an offload and a linebreak.
Australia ran out comfortable 38-12 victors in the Pacific Championships opener but it was Faalogo's debut that caught the attention. The 20-year-old made his NRL debut against the Broncos in Round 27, scoring twice and looks to have a bright future ahead of him.
He is currently on a development list contract and earns $60,000 a year, but that’s set to at least double in 2024 as the Storm look to upgrade him into the side's top 30. Storm's general manager Frank Ponissi told Fox Sports the young gun is locked down to the club, with an option to extend until 2025 in his contract.
“We plan for him to be in our top 30 (next year). He is a star, but an even better young man,” Ponissi said. Before his debut Samoa coach Ben Gardiner said Faalogo has maturity beyond his years.
“He’s not the young guy who stands back and doesn’t say anything," Ponissi said. "He’s the guy who is prepared to talk when needed to talk and do his job when he is needed to do his job. That’s the type of commitment we’ve had amongst the group all week."
“I said to the guys that no one sits lower than anyone else – we are all equal. If you are in the Test side you need to step up and Sua is one of those guys that has really done that for us. The energy he brings is unbelievable.”
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.