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Ryan Papenhuyzen development delights NRL fans in major boost for Melbourne Storm

There were initial concerns that the gun fullback would be set for another lengthy stint on the sidelines.

Ryan Papenhuyzen.
Ryan Papenhuyzen is back on the training paddock for the Melbourne Storm. Image: Melbourne Storm/Getty

Ryan Papenhuyzen was back in action at Melbourne Storm training this week, allaying fears his latest horror injury would derail his career. The Storm fullback broke his ankle in September in what was just his third game back from a fractured kneecap that kept him sidelined for over 12 months.

The devastating development sparked initial fears that the 25-year-old might be forced to hang up the boots, and there were concerns about what another long stint on the sidelines might do to his mental health. But the injury didn't turn out to be as bad as first thought, and Storm general manager Frank Ponissi revealed they were expecting Papenguyzen at pre-season training in January.

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But in a huge boost for the club, the gun fullback was already back on the training paddock on Tuesday and should be raring to go for round one. It comes after the club moved to emphatically shut down rumours that Papenhuyzen was being shipped to rival clubs to open the door for young gun Sualauvi Faalogo.

"At no stage has any Storm official made contact with another club directly or via a third party regarding an early release of Ryan from his contract," a statement from the club said. "Other than one text message, the club has not been contacted for comment or clarification on the matter.

"On that one occasion, the journalist was told unequivocally that the story was factually untrue. Paps is a Melbourne Storm person, he is loved by his teammates, coaches and staff and adored by Storm members and fans across the country and we look forward to seeing him on the track when he resumes training."

Ryan Papenhuyzen broke his ankle in just his third NRL game back from a knee injury. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
Ryan Papenhuyzen broke his ankle in just his third NRL game back from a knee injury. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Papenhuyzen also addressed the rumours, saying: “I know what I have to offer and if they don’t see it then they don’t see that. But I know plenty of people who do.

"I’ve just got to keep doing what I need to do to get back and play and I’m confident when I do get back playing that those reports will go away. It’s only natural, it’s only business, obviously Sua has been playing good footy and (Nick) Meaney played really well this year so it was inevitable to happen, but at the same time it gives you that motivation to come back and prove them wrong.”

Billy Slater and wife's brilliant gesture for Papenhuyzen

Papenhuyzen previously opened up on how he has been taken under the wing of club legend and Queensland coach Billy Slater and his wife during his frustrating injury layoff. "Billy has been awesome. I am where I am now because of him," Papenhuyzen told AAP.

"He went through such a long-term injury himself and understands how tough it is, but him and (wife) Nicole would invite me over to their place and we would just have a day out where we would not talk about footy. He understood the mental side of rehab and how you need to switch off sometimes and enjoy the company of others. I am just really grateful to them.

Nicole and Billy Slater.
Billy Slater and wife Nicole in 2020. (Photo by Wendell Teodoro/WireImage) (Wendell Teodoro via Getty Images)

"They would invite me out to their farm. We'd go out and have dinner. (Slater's children) Tyla and Jake would chill out and we'd go play some tennis.

"They did that for me. A big credit to Slats. He is unbelievable. I am forever in debt to him. He has helped me through the whole ordeal. He reached out about how important it is to have someone else (helping) while you are not playing, to keep your mind simulated. It is just special to have someone like him at the club who wants to give back so much."

with AAP

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