Ryan Papenhuyzen NRL comeback put on hold

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Melbourne have put their long-term prospects first by opting against bringing Ryan Papenhuyzen back from a concussion as planned.

The Storm had hoped to return their superstar fullback to the No.1 jersey this week after the bye, but on Tuesday opted against the move.

Papenhuyzen is almost back to full training, but only returned to small contact this week for the first time since being knocked out by Tyrrell Fuimaono at Magic Round in late May.

The Storm at least have the added bonus of Nicho Hynes starring at fullback.

Hynes has scored four tries and set up another 20 in 11 games in the position.

It comes as the club also held Harry Grant off another week as he recovers from a hamstring injury that ended his State of Origin campaign.

But the main concern remains Papenhuyzen who is still yet to engage in full contact.

"The club is managing him really well and we want him to be firing come finals," hooker Brandon Smith said.

"He's been joining in a couple of training sessions, but he hasn't really been doing any contact with us.

"Today he hopped in the contact drill and did some tackling and running with us.

"He is doing well. But the thing we are worried about is his mental state and how he is feeling.

"The coaches will give him the time to decide when he is ready. No one is going to be forcing anything on him."

Melbourne head of football Frank Ponissi also confirmed on Tuesday he expected the 23-year-old to return in coming weeks, and there had been no setback.

The Storm's clash with Newcastle is their first at home since April, and just their sixth with a crowd at AAMI Park since they won the 2019 grand final.

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