Bellamy gives final word on Papenhuyzen

It’s been more than 400 days since his last NRL appearance, but Storm star Ryan Papenhuyzen is a strong chance of finally getting back on the park as long as his body pulls up well after Friday’s captain’s run.

Papenhuyzen has been out since he shattered his kneecap while making a tackle on Canberra’s Jack Wighton in round 18 last year. He has spent the past year doing everything possible to get back to full fitness.

That included a trip to the US to work with renowned reconditioning specialist Bill Knowles, who has helped other big-name athletes from around the world.

Papenhuyzen made a successful return to footy via the Queensland Cup earlier this month and has played three games for the Falcons and completely dominated with a try, assists and even a field goal.

It now looks like he’s on track to tick off the final box, with Papenhuyzen set to face the Titans in front of what could be a big crowd in Melbourne, although Storm coach Craig Bellamy wouldn’t reveal if he would start at fullback or play limited minutes off the bench like he did in his early days for the club.

“We’ll see how he pulls up from training today,” Bellamy said.

“If he pulls up OK – and I mean 100 per cent OK – then there’s a good chance that we’ll put him in somewhere tomorrow.”

Bellamy has been around footy for decades but couldn’t remember seeing a knee injury quite as gruesome as this one, which is why he planned to be without the electrifying No.1 for all of 2023.

“We didn’t expect anything of him this year,” said Bellamy, who has seen Nick Meaney handle the role with aplomb.

“Coming through what he’s come through, I’ve never heard of an injury like he had.

“Coming through that is one thing, but then not playing for 13 months is a long time. He’s an elite player, but what you do well – if you don’t do that for 13 months – then it takes a bit of picking up again.

“We would have loved to have had another six or eight weeks in the season, but we haven’t. We’re not going to take any chances now.

“Since he’s been playing, there have been a couple of sessions where he’s pulled up really sore, so he mightn’t have trained the next session or been in doubt for the games in Queensland Cup.

“We’re still not expecting too much of him this year, so we’ll see how he pulls up after today and then go from there.”

The Papenhuyzen hysteria has dominated the news for a few weeks now, but the Storm can’t lose sight of the bigger picture, with the club desperate to secure a top-four finish after they finished fifth last year and were eliminated in the first week of the finals.

The Storm can secure fourth spot if they win their final two games, starting with the Titans who are outside the top eight and playing for pride after a rollercoaster year.

The Eels showed on Thursday how dangerous these teams can be after they stunned the Panthers, and the Storm should be on high alert given they lost in a shootout on the Gold Coast back in round 3.

“Teams that can’t make the finals have nothing to lose,” Bellamy said.

“They’ll probably throw the ball around a little bit more than they generally would and they’ll free themselves up.

“If you don’t go out and defend that well, that’s when you really get hurt.

“If they play that ad-lib footy and the passes stick, then it’s hard to handle.”

Originally published as ‘Good chance’: Ryan Papenhuyzen’s last hurdle to clear as he eyes first NRL game in more than 400 days

Source link

Source: News

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *